BBC 2 is launching Icons, its most ambitious search for the greatest person of the 20th Century, in January 2019. The series will be promoted via various platforms, including across the BBC, TV, radio and online. The series will also feature on The One Show, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and Radio 5 live. In addition BBC local radio will be highlighting the connections that the icons have had around the UK, and inviting audiences to vote for their favourite icon in the most ambitious BBC history series in over a decade. Made by 72 Films, co-produced with The Open University, for BBC Two and in connection with the National Portrait Gallery online for free. For more information, visit https://www.npg.org.uk. If you would like to get involved, more voting information can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/icons.
The Series Format of Icons
Across seven episodes, celebrity advocates will celebrate the achievements of twenty eight of the greatest figures of the 20th Century, from seven different categories of human excellence. Each celebrity advocate will guide viewers through hour-long episodes dedicated to four shortlisted Icons in each category. Voting begins at the end of each programme, at 10pm, and is open until 4pm the next day. More voting information can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/icons Then the grand live final will decide the favourite icons by public vote.
Leaders Tuesday 8 January 2019
Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela
Presented by Sir Trevor McDonald
Explorers 9 January 2019
Ernest Shackleton, Gertrude Bell, Neil Armstrong and Jane Goodall
Presented by Dermot O’Leary
The finalists from Leaders and Explorers will be revealed on Thursday 10 January 2019 live on The One Show (BBC One, 19-19.30pm).
Scientists 14 January 2019
Marie Curie, Alan Turing, Albert Einstein and Tu Youyou
Presented by Chris Packham
Entertainers 15 January 2019
Charlie Chaplin, Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, David Bowie
Presented by Kathleen Turner
The finalists from Scientists and Entertainers will be revealed on Wednesday 16 January live on The One Show (BBC One, 19-19.30pm).
Emmeline Pankhurst, Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller and Martin Luther King Jr
Presented by Sanjeev Bhaskar
Muhammad Ali, Pelé, Billie Jean King and Tanni Grey-Thompson
Presented by Clare Balding
The finalists from Activists and Sports Stars will be revealed on Wednesday 23 January live on The One Show (BBC One, 19-19.30pm).
Artists & writers
Virginia Woolf, Pablo Picasso, Alfred Hitchcock and Andy Warhol
Presented by Lily Cole
The finalist from Artists & Writers will be revealed on Wednesday 30 January live on The One Show (BBC One, 19-19.30pm).
The Grand Live Final
Tuesday 5 February O2 London
What makes a great sporting Icon? One debate we had during the shortlisting was the effect an individual had at the time and the legacy that that they had long afterwards. So for us, at jjheritage, a sportsperson can be great, but not necessarily Iconic. Take the first great female all-rounder Lottie Dod, born in 1871, who first won Wimbledon aged fifteen in 1887, then again in 1888, then three times in a row 1891, 1892, 1893 before retiring due to not wanting to be seen as a ‘trophy hunter’. Dod won the British Ladies Amateur golf championship in 1904, also representing her country in field hockey and won a silver medal at the 1908 London Olympic Games, with her brother taking a gold medal. She also excelled in several Winter sports, particularly figure skating, also becoming proficient in mountaineering and extended cycling tours through Europe. But although undoubtedly a British sporting great, Dod competed as an amateur, and, although pioneering several aspects of training (such as playing against top men of her day), clothing (shorter skirts and more practical dress) and administration, ultimately she player sport to please herself. What you will see from the Icons we as a panel selected across the twentieth century, Muhammad Ali, Pelé, Billie Jean King and Tanni Grey-Thompson, is that they have had a much broader effect on society, internationally, and that sets them apart even from the sporting greats.
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