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Sir John Mortimer
"This just shows the enormous range of suggestions there are"
 real 28k

Monday, 27 December, 1999, 04:14 GMT
Beckham suggested for Trafalgar plinth

Trafalgar Square: 275 different suggestions for the plinth

David Beckham, Winnie the Pooh and a stiletto shoe are among a variety of subjects suggested by the public to grace Trafalgar Square's vacant plinth.

Which sculpture will replace a statue of Christ?
Other ideas included representations of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Dolly the cloned sheep, and a "British stiff upper lip".

A total of 275 different suggestions have been made by 550 people to Sir John Mortimer's advisory group looking into what to put on the plinth.

Sir John paid tribute to the "imagination and individuality" of the suggestions, but stressed the process was not a straight vote.

He said the committee would have the final say on what to recommend to the government.

The square, in the north west corner of the central London, is home to Nelson's Column and was built during the 1840s.

David Beckham has been suggested...
The three other corners of the square boast Empire-scale equestrian statues: two of 19th century imperial generals and one of King George IV.

But the fourth has stood empty since King William IV died without leaving enough funds to have his own statue erected, and no one else stepped in.

It is currently occupied by a statue of Christ, unveiled in July, entitled Ecce Home (Behold the Man) and designed by Mark Wallinger.

It is the first of three sculptures to be placed temporarily on the plinth, before a final choice is made by 2001.

Currently leading the field, with 45 separate nominations, is the much-touted idea of a statue paying tribute to animals involved in warfare.

As has Idi Amin...
Next on the list, with 18 votes each, were explorer Captain James Cook and the Queen - who polled well above Diana, Princess of Wales, on 11.

Some people preferred the high-tech approach, filing ideas such as a digital audio statue, a constantly updated e-page and a hologram.

Overseas figures also figured, with Nelson Mandela being nominated by 13 people and Mahatma Gandhi by 10.

Among other entries on the list, published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, were Batman, Helen Mirren, a bookmaker, and a statue of "the Unknown Hooligan".

And even Dolly the sheep
Three people had a slightly personal interest in nominating one particular statue each - they had designed it themselves.

Nominations are still open, and Sir John said he welcomed more ideas before the final recommendations are made.

They can be posted to: Sir John Mortimer, c/o The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH or registered on the Fourth Plinth website:

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See also:
21 Jul 99 |  UK
Christ comes to Trafalgar
19 Jan 99 |  UK
Pigeons: Not a problem to poo-poo
07 Dec 98 |  UK
Trafalgar rivals square up
20 Aug 98 |  UK
Pedestrians win battle of Trafalgar

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