What a stupid concept. In what way can Pablo Picasso be compared with Ernest Shackleton, Bowie with Ali? And why aren’t there categories for author or soldier?
However, this nomination arises not from the pointlessness, but from the typical BBC right-on approach to the selections. For example, is Alan Turing there ahead of Einstein because he is a more significant scientist (certainly arguable) or because he was gay and played by Cucumberpatch in a film? Is Mandela really a greater leader than Churchill? He was a compassionate and inspirational figure whilst a prisoner, but hardly a great president when his time to do some leading came (and his wife was an arch-cunt).
I’ve no problem with Luther-King or Bowie in their fields and Shackleton was obviously a top bloke.
There was some wailing and gnashing of teeth because there were no women in the final. Clare Balding made the (mostly) valid point that the 20th Century world was a mans’ one, then undermined herself by suggesting that in future we may be hailing such icons as Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.
Aside from all that, for myself, if I had to pick one, it would be Ali. Not because he was a draft-dodger or Moslem convert, but simply because he was, for many years, the most famous man in the world. He would probably still be recognised by more people in the world than any of the others.
Nominated by Harry Axwound