Thursday, 18 December 2014

Who's 2014's most famous celebrity with kids? The winner is...

So, who are the most famous celebrities, according to the pupils in my Comic Art Masterclasses in 2014? Here are the results.

In my classes, which this year have covered every corner of these Isles from Devon to Dublin, from the West End Of Glasgow to Wexford and Waterford, from Kent to Kendal, from... okay, I've been to lots of places that you can make into alliterative pairs. Point is, every time I do a class, I ask the kids to name a celebrity who I can then draw in my "treads on a worm" demonstration strip (which doesn't look like much, but as it emerges before their eyes teaches them tons about comics and is full of interactive fun for all). 

I get four names from them, then they choose the favourite from the four, in order that the strip that then emerges should, from the start, have their interest. So this list of names is whittled down from an array of names four times as long and wide as what you see (I include the celeb's name on the front cover somewhere). 

So, who did they chose, and who's the most popular of all? First, let's look at the names of celebrities who've been chosen only the once this year. Alphabeticised by first names, they are:

Runners up (chosen once)

Angelina Jolie, Bear Grylls, Billy Connolly, Brad Pitt, Bradley From The Vamps, Christine Aguilera, Daniel Craig, David Attenborough, George Washington, Harrison Ford, Harry Hill (a big drop from last year's 6 appearances), Hugh Jackman, Idina Menzel, James Franco, Jennifer Lopez, Jeremy Kyle, Jim Carrey, Jimmy Bullard off I'm A Celebrity, JK Rowling, John Goodman, Jonathan Ross, Justin Fletcher off CBBC, Katie Price, Kevin Bacon, King Jong-Un, Lady Gaga, Leonardo Da Vinci, Louis Armstrong, Luis Suarez, Melanie Sykes, Michael J Fox, Michelle Keegan, Mick Jagger, Morgan Freeman, Mr Bean, Nelson Mandela, Niall Horan, Nicky Minaj, Nigel Kennedy, Olly Murs, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Roger Moore, Selena Gomez, Sir John Betjeman, Susan Boyle, Tom Daley, Tom Jones, Vin Diesel, Vladimir Putin, Zayn Malik

Yes, I have drawn a flipchart-sized comic strip starring every single one of these, most of which will be on the wall of some kid's bedroom somewhere. Wait for Antiques Roadshow 2114, a couple will turn up.

From that list, my favourites of the most arcane suggestion would be Justin Fletcher (whose girlfriend was the teacher of the class I was in, hence his name coming up), Sir John Betjeman (who was a choice because we were working next to the platform at St Pancras, within sight of his statue), Michael J Fox (because kids love Back To The Future as much as anyone), and Louis Armstrong (just because - a primary school kid has heard of Louis Armstrong. Huh?)

Now for the Top 30 (okay, the Top 32)

Chosen Twice: Barack Obama , Cheryl Cole, David Tennant, Ed Sheeran, Gary Barlow and Mrs Brown.

Chosen 3 Times: Ant McPartlin, Benedict Cumberbatch , Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Walliams, Declan Donnelly, Kim Kardashian, Lionel Messi, Stan Lee, and The Queen (down from last year's 6 appearances, sorry Ma'am). Great news for Ant and Dec there, coming up equal, no handbags at dawn.

Chose 4 Times: Ariana Grande, Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Johnny Depp, Matt Smith, and Rihanna. So Matt Smith officially more popular than David Tennant this year (and Peter Capaldi, sadly, not chosen once yet).

Chosen 5 Times: Will I Am and Taylor Swift.

Chosen 6 Times: Harry Styles

IN 5th PLACE, Chosen 7 Times: Michael Jackson (with the same score as last year, far and away Britain and Ireland's most popular dead person, for the umpteenth year running)

IN 4th PLACE, Chosen 8 Times: Joey Essex (up from last year's twice)

IN 3RD PLACE, Chosen 10 Times: Miley Cyrus (last year twice)

IN JOINT 2ND PLACE, Chosen 11 Times: Keith Lemon (last year 7 times) and Katy Perry (last year not chosen at all)

And the outright winner, being the most popular person for at least three years running (possibly longer, but I'm afraid I didn't keep a formal record before then) and by an unmistakeable margin, is....

IN 1st PLACE, Chosen 27 Times: Simon Cowell. 

Simon Cowell is called out by someone in about 8 out of every 10 classes. He is so ubiquitous that I now do a routine where, as I call for suggestions, I write a name on a piece of paper, unseen by the group, saying "of course nobody would be predictable enough to say this name". When they do, and I flip round the paper, saying "every time", it gets a good laugh, especially from the teachers.

Thanks to every pupil and every teacher in all the schools I've worked at this year for letting me disrupt their lives and leave their children wound up like spinning tops at the end of a couple of hours. I hope everybody's learned something and that comics are better off for it.

Here, for the record, are 2013's results.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing Pansy Potter, Bananaman, Biffo The Bear et al in The Beano, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He's been writing and drawing comics for 25 years, he must know something.  

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