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

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