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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Newton voted greatest Briton
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton lived from 1642 to 1727
Scientist Sir Isaac Newton has triumphed in a poll searching for the greatest Briton, voted for by an international audience.

Viewers of BBC World voted the discoverer of gravity as the most respected Briton, ahead of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill who was voted the greatest Briton in a similar UK-wide poll last year.

Sir Isaac polled 21.4% of the online votes cast by viewers of the 10-part series, ahead of Sir Winston in second place with 17%.

The late Diana, Princess of Wales came in third position, taking 13% of all entries.

BBC World poll top five
1. Sir Isaac Newton
2. Sir Winston Churchill
3. Diana, Princess of Wales
4. William Shakespeare
5. Charles Darwin
BBC World took the model used by the successful BBC Two Great Britons series which whittled down 100 leading figures down to just 10, who were then championed by historians and personalities.

Narendhra Morar, commissioning editor of Great Britons for BBC World, said: "I think one of the reasons for Newton's victory was that the poll was conducted online and he would appeal to younger, computer-savvy voters.


"It's fascinating that our viewers chose a different greatest Briton to the original series, although Churchill still had a strong following and actually came first among BBC World's ex-pat viewers."

BBC UK poll top five
1. Sir Winston Churchill
2. Isambard Kingdom Brunel
3. Diana, Princess of Wale
4. Charles Darwin
5. William Shakespeare
Tristram Hunt, the historian who presented the Great Britons profile of Newton, said: "Newton's achievements affected all mankind and I think it is a proper reflection of his genius that a global audience has voted him the Greatest Briton.

"Indeed, it was Newton's advances in physics - his understanding of gravity and planetary motion - that have sent satellites into space and allowed the series to be beamed round the globe. The world has now repaid the favour."

The results will be broadcast in Great Britons: The World's Greatest Briton this weekend on BBC World, the BBC's commercially funded 24-hour international news and information channel, over the weekend of 16-17 August.

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