Dame Judi Dench trounces Laurence Olivier to be name Britain's best actor


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The Independent Culture

Dame Judi Dench has been named Britain's greatest actor, ahead of figures such as Lord Olivier and Sir John Mills.

The 78-year-old Oscar winner, who played M for the last time in the James Bond series last year, triumphed in the poll which put women on top, with Dame Maggie Smith finishing second.

Nostalgia magazine Best Of British, which polled its readers, found broadcaster Sir David Attenborough to be the greatest living British man, with scientist Stephen Hawking in second spot.

The top living British woman was the Queen while Baroness Thatcher took the runner-up position.

BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid voted by readers into fifth place, ahead of the likes of Dame Vera Lynn (sixth) and Joanna Lumley (10th).

The top male in the great British actor list was Sir Michael Caine, who celebrates his 80th birthday this month and finished third.

Daniel Day-Lewis - who won a record-breaking third best actor Oscar on Sunday for his role in Lincoln - was number five in the list.

Lord Olivier was sixth and Sir John Mills was placed at number eight.

Other top choices were Kind Hearts And Coronets - named best British film - and Only Fools And Horses, which was the best British TV show.

The Two Ronnies were declared the best comedy act while the Beatles were named best music act, with Dame Shirley Bassey ranked second ahead of Queen, who finished third. Chas & Dave were placed at number eight.

Fish and chips was the top British food and Sir Stanley Matthews was the favourite choice of sportsman.

The polls were carried out for the March 2013 Best Of British, which is the magazine's 200th edition and is out now.

Greatest Living British Man:

1. Sir David Attenborough

2. Stephen Hawking

3. Ranulph Fiennes

4. Prince Charles

5. Tim Berners-Lee

:: Greatest Living British Woman

1. The Queen

2. Margaret Thatcher

3. Maggie Smith

4. Caroline Lucas

5. Susanna Reid

Greatest British Actor:

1. Judi Dench

2. Maggie Smith

3. Michael Caine

4. Sean Connery

5. Daniel Day-Lewis

Other "greatest British" winners:

Film - Kind Hearts & Coronets

Comedy act - The Two Ronnies

TV Programme - Only Fools And Horses

Radio programme - I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue/ Round The Horne (joint)

Sportsperson - Stanley Matthews

Invention - Steam engine

Music act - The Beatles

Toy - Meccano

Author - John Le Carre

Food - Fish and chips

Drink - Real ale

Building - St Paul's Cathedral

Event - Battle of Britain

Car - Mini

Motorbike - Triumph Bonneville

Aircraft - Spitfire

Railway engine - Flying Scotsman