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A portrait of the decade

Artist's illustration of the Noughties
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To mark the end of the first decade of the century, the Magazine has been asking readers to tell the story of the past 10 years, based on five themes. Here are our top 100 things that define the Noughties.

Is it really possible to sum up a decade?

Graphic of five categories
We asked readers to help us to create a portrait of the decade
Each day last week we focused on a different theme - words , people , news stories , objects and culture
An expert picked 20 of each

With the help of thousands of readers, maybe it is. Last week, we asked readers to send in their suggestions for the words, people, events, objects and cultural highlights which they thought defined the Noughties.

Our panel of five independent experts considered all the suggestions and each has drawn up a list of 20.

The results below give a snapshot of who and what has shaped the last 10 years. Technology, celebrity culture and environmentalism are dominant themes.

There's also a downloadable poster - a portrait of the decade - depicting all 100 things, by illustrator Chris Bianchi. You can download the PDF at the top of this page.

You can see how the website's international audience told their story of the decade here .

Graphic headed 'words'

The final 20

Credit crunch
War on terror
Lexicographer Susie Dent

Susie Dent
"This is not really about individual words and phrases, but much more about their resonances. War on Terror and 9/11 are packed full of associations that are still ringing loudly today. Bling and WAG neatly convey our love/hate relationship with the celebrities who have dominated both the real world and the virtual one. And the importance of the latter in the Noughties was huge, as the choices of i, blog, and tweet testify. Even chav owed its new (sour) breath of life to a website, from which it was propelled into the limelight like no other word this century."

Graphic headed 'people'

The final 20

David Beckham
L/Corp Johnson Beharry
Osama Bin Laden
Tony Blair
George W Bush
Shami Chakrabarti
Simon Cowell
Roger Federer
Norman Foster
Stephen Fry
Bill Gates
Jade Goody
Brian Haw
Rupert Murdoch
Barack Obama
Jamie Oliver
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
David Tennant
Jane Tomlinson
Jimmy Wales

Team from Who's Who

Who's Who
"Most of the people we thought would come up did indeed appear. Technology has been a huge revelation of this decade and that's why Page and Brin, Wales and Gates are there. And whether you like her or not, Goody had a huge impact on the media and on ordinary people. Fry has raised his profile considerably through his influential tweeting. It was interesting that readers wanted members of the British Armed Forces to be honoured - we think that L/Cpl Beharry has come to embody that valour demonstrated by UK soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Graphic headed 'news'

The final 20

Danish cartoons controversy
Death of Dr David Kelly
Death of Michael Jackson
Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
England win the Ashes 2005
Final Harry Potter book
Fuel strikes 2000
Human Genome Project
Indian Ocean tsunami
Iraq War
John Darwin, missing canoeist
Launch of Big Brother
Launch of Wikipedia
London bombings 2005
MPs' expenses scandal
Northern Ireland power-sharing
Run on Northern Rock
September 11th 2001
Smoking ban
Usain Bolt at Beijing Olympics

Author Tim Footman

Tim Footman
"I was surprised by a few omissions, the Large Hadron Collider, for example. But these 20 stories offer a pretty good snapshot of what occupied our minds in Britain in the past 10 years, and remind us of some events we may have forgotten. Some of these stories are potent because of what they represent: the Northern Rock crisis was a local response to global financial troubles; the Danish cartoons provoked questions about culture, religion, integration and free speech; the death of Dr Kelly opened up all sorts of conspiracy theories, as well as acting as a focus for discontent with the Iraq war. And some events - like the missing canoeist - have no real subtext. It's the stories themselves that matter."

Graphic headed 'objects'

The final 20

Bag for life
Bling jewellery
Bluetooth earpiece
Credit card
Flat-screen TVs
Gherkin (London's Swiss Re building)
Hair straighteners
High-visibility vest
Organic vegetable box
Sky+ box
Toyota Prius
Ugg boots
Wheelie bin
Wind turbine

Author Peter York

Peter York
"There were lots of 'boys' toys' suggested, but I've tried to make a choice broader than technology. It's good to see flat-screen televisions in there, they really took over the living rooms. Hair straighteners revolutionised women's hair and popularised the Atomic Kitten look, while the Toyota Prius symbolises the way people started making environmental gestures. Everyone was talking about hoodies for a while, because of David Cameron's [hug a hoody] comments and the fear of young criminals. I chose Sky+ because it changed my life and the way I view television."

Graphic headed 'culture'

The final 20

Black Watch (play)
Box sets
Curb your Enthusiasm
Live opera beamed into cinemas
Liverpool as European Capital Of Culture
Lord of the Rings trilogy
From Dome to O2 Arena
Rise of music festivals
Return of Doctor Who
Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra at the Proms
St Pancras station reopening
Strictly Come Dancing
Sultan's Elephant
Television on-demand
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
The Office
The Thick of It
The Wire

Jasper Rees, editor of The Arts Desk

Jasper Rees
"My choices reflect a yearning for control and escape in an increasingly uncertain world. A decade defined by polarised attitudes to religion was most passionately explored in Black Watch, a play about Scottish soldiers in Iraq, and Richard Dawkins's polemic disproving God's existence. On screen, drama fed a hankering for fantasy in Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings, and the can-do wish-fulfilment of the talent show. Big thinking in the Noughties produced great buildings, huge festivals, staggering public art and big ideas, none more moving than a Latin American youth orchestra which opened eyes and ears. But the biggest idea was the new freedom to create your own cultural environment, through downloading, streaming and posting."

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