Winston Churchill

Betting has just started on who will be the eventual winner of the upcoming BBC Two history series “Icons”. The series will consist of eight programmes, seven profiling the candidates and a live final. The icons come from a variety of fields, including leaders, scientists and entertainers.

Longlists for each category were drawn up using a cultural mapping tool created by MIT to assess internet prominence. A panel of experts then assessed the potential icons based on “positive achievement and legacy, a degree of recognition for a British audience, and a spread of individuals across the century.” From these lists a shortlist of four candidates were chosen for each category.

Leaders Category Shows Strength in Depth

The current favourite is wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill, who is being offered by William Hill at 5/4. Nelson Mandela is second favourite at 5/2, with computer science pioneer Alan Turing third at 9/1.

In order for Churchill to be eligible he will first have to win the leadership category where he is odds-on favourite at 8/15. He does, however, face a strong challenge from Nelson Mandela, who is priced at 11/8.

Churchill was the winner of a similar contest run in 2002 to find the 100 Greatest Britons. Churchill received 456,498 votes, 58,000 more than second placed Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Diana, Princess of Wales rounded out the top 3.