Bigger than Beethoven

Kay named an artistic hero

Britons hold Peter Kay in higher artistic esteem than Mozart, Beethoven or Shakespeare, according to a new poll.

The comic made the top five in a YouGov survey that asked more than 6,000 people to name their heroes in the arts.

And among the under-25s, he fares even better, leapfrogging the likes of Leonardo da Vinci to reach No 2 in the list. Only Walt Disney did better, while street artist Banksy came third.

The survey was commissioned by the Arts Award, whose head, Diana Walton, said: ‘Peter Kay, Banksy and Walt Disney are very accessible artists, who produce work which reaches into young people's lives through contemporary media, tells stories and often makes them laugh.

‘Young people respond to comedy and they like artists who influence their own culture. Older people sometimes find it easier to engage with established arts figures like Leonardo da Vinci.’

The overall top 10

1 Leonardo da Vinci
2 Bob Dylan
3 Andy Warhol
4 Walt Disney
5 Peter Kay
6 Jane Austen
7 Banksy
8 Bob Marley
9 Nick Park
10 Picasso

The under 25-list

1 Walt Disney
2 Peter Kay
3 Banksy
4 Leonardo da Vinci
5 Bob Marley
6 Jane Austen
7 Bob Dylan
8 Tim Burton
9 Marilyn Monroe
10 Will Smith

Published: 18 Jun 2007

Today's comedy-on demand picks


This is the show that celebrated the launch of Nick Helm's album in 2016, and has previously been unseen by anyone who was not in the O2 Forum Kentish Town that night.

With typical hyperbole, the show is described thusly: 'Under-rehearsed, under-prepared and under pressure, Nick and his band somehow managed to pull together the greatest show in the last 27 years of living memory. That show went down as a thing of legend, often spoken about by weary travellers around campfires, but thought to have been lost to the sands of time forever.'

Click for more suggestions

... including Al Murray headlining a Just For Tonic gig and the launch of Free Festival's virtual comedy programming.

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