BBC Two searches for the greatest icon of the 20th Century

BBC Two searches for the greatest icon of the 20th Century

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(Credit: BBC)
(Credit: BBC)

BBC Two is starting the new year with a public fuelled search to name the most influential person of the 20th Century.

Co-produced with The Open University, Icons will tell the history of the 20th century through the people who shaped it, inviting the public to vote on 28 icons shortlisted by a panel of academics.

Each episode will focus on different categories of excellence, including leaders, explorers, scientists, entertainers, activists, sports stars, and artists and writers.

The series follows influential figures such as Nelson Mandela, Marie Curie, Billie Holiday, Martin Luther King Jr and Virginia Woolf.

 “This is a brilliantly ambitious and wide-ranging series that seeks to explore the people and the forces responsible for the world we live in today,” said BBC Two Controller Patrick Holland.

“We are really excited to see how the audience engages with this debate and who wins the vote as the most influential individual of the 20th Century.”

Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning Specialst Factual added, “over a month of programming, Icons will bring an entire century of history to our screens. Each of our icons achieved extraordinary things in their lifetimes. I can’t wait to find out who the nation chooses as the greatest of them all.”

Celebrity advocates, including journalists Trevor McDonald and Clare Balding, presenter Dermot O’Leary, Sanjeev Bhaskar (Goodness Gracious Me), Kathleen Turner (Friends) and Lily Cole (Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie), will present the achievements of each icon.

Finalists from each category will go head to head in the final episode, with one person named the greatest icon of the 20th century.

The seven-part series will air on BBC Two on January 8.

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BBC Two is starting the new year with a public fuelled search to name the most influential person of the 20th Century.