With the news that Winston Churchill will grace the five pound note from 2016, Channel 4 News asks who should appear on British bank notes?
The Bank of England unveiled its concept design – not the final version – of the note featuring the wartime prime minister. Churchill will replace the nineteenth century philanthropist Elizabeth Fry, which means that, with the exception of the Queen, there will soon be no women on Britain’s bank notes.
The image of Churchill is taken from a famous 1941 photo portrait by Yousuf Karsh.
Commenting on the choice, Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King said “Sir Winston Churchill was a truly great British leader orator and writer. Above that, he remains a hero of the entire free world. His energy, courage, eloquence, wit and public service are an inspiration to us all.”
(Channel 4 News asked our Twitter followers who they would like to see on a £5 note – some of the answers are in the image above – can you name them all? Click on the image to open a larger version. The list of faces is at the bottom of the article)
The Bank of England website reveals it has received plenty of suggestions too, ranging from Lord Nelson and Princess Diana to David Beckham and John Cleese. The Beatles have been petitioned for, as have the Queen Mother and Terry Wogan.
But unlike US presidents in America, prime ministers are not particularly popular. Prior to today’s announcement, only one prime minister has featured on a bank note – the Duke of Wellington – and he was almost certainly chosen for his record as a general rather than his tenure in Downing Street.
@channel4news well at least it isn’t Margaret Thatcher!
— Peter Coville (@Petercoville) April 26, 2013
But could the Churchill fiver change this? Contrary to widespread belief, the criteria for appearing on a bank note does not specifiy that the person must be deceased. Instead what is called for is an “eminent British personality” who has made an “indisputable contribution to their particular field of work.”
On this basis, it is surely only a matter of time before Britain’s first female prime minister is herself depicted. She did always refer to it as “my money”…
Face on a fiver
From top, left to right:
Clement Attlee - British prime minister from 1945 to 1951.
Ken Baily - Britain's "self-appointed sports cheerleader" and athlete.
David Beckham - sports ambassador and former England footballer.
Nye Bevan - Welsh Labour Party politician who spearheaded the foundation of the NHS.
Edmund Blackadder - fictional anti-hero played by Rowan Atkinson.
Robert the Bruce - King of the Scots from 1306 to 1329.
David Cameron - current British prime minister.
Charlie Chaplin - British comic actor and filmmaker.
Tommy Cooper - comedian and magician.
Aleister Crowley - English occultist and cermonial magician.
Miles Davis - American jazz musician and band leader.
Diana Spencer - first wife of Prince Charles, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Duane "Dog" Chapman the Bounty Hunter - star of US reality TV show Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Paul Eddington - English actor famed for his roles in The Good Life and Yes, Minister.
George Formby - banjolele playing singer, actor and comedian.
Bruce Forsyth - television host.
Jade Goody - reality TV star who shot to fame on Big Brother, and died of cancer in 2009.
Nigel Hawthorne - film and television actor, famed for his roles in Yes, Minister and The Madness of King George.
Rod Hull - television presenter rarely seen whithout his puppet emu.
JLS - boy band who announced on Wednesday they were splitting up.
Ada Lovelace - mathematician and writer considered to be the world's first computer programmer.
William Lovett - leader of the Chartist political movement in the 19th century.
Karl Marx - father of modern communism.
Brian May - guitarist for Queen, astro physicist and animal welfare campaigner.
Emmaline Pankhurst - leader of the suffrage movement.
Elvis Presley- American rock and roll legend.
Vivian Stanshall - eccentric British pop star.
Margaret Thatcher- the first British female prime minister.
Alan Turing - mathematician and cryptanalyst whose career included code breaking at Bletchley Park and invention of the computer.
Dr Who - fictional time traveller.
Bradley Wiggins - Tour de France and Olympic gold medal winning cyclist.
Kenneth Williams - comic actor best known for the Carry On movies.
Tony Wilson - music mogul and founder of Factory Records.
Mary Wollstonecraft - feminist writer best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Frank Zappa - American experimental musican and composer