'Best of British' poll topped by devil and drugs


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The Independent Online

A heavy metal tribute to Satan and a film about heroin addicts have been named the very best that Britain has produced, in a Diamond Jubilee poll.

Iron Maiden's landmark album The Number Of The Beast and the 1996 film Trainspotting are the surprise winners in an HMV survey to find the public's favourite British album and film produced during the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

Bruce Dickinson, the Iron Maiden singer, said he was "astonished and delighted" at the result of the poll, which was conducted via Facebook and attracted almost 55,000 votes over the past month.

Released in 1982, The Number Of The Beast has sold 14 million copies. Its title track, inspired by the Omen II horror film, led to accusations that the band were Satanists.Religious groups in the United States burnt copies of the album's cover, which featured the band's mascot Eddie toying with a marionette Satan.

Trainspotting, based on Irvine Welsh's novel and directed by Danny Boyle, is a dark comedy set during the late 80s in an economically depressed area of Edinburgh. It has been previously been ranked 10th by the British Film Institute in its list of the top 100 British films of all time.

Trainspotting emerged ahead of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the poll. Python's Life Of Brian also features in the top ten, as well as The Italian Job and the comedy zombie film Shaun of the Dead.

The music results suggest that the poll was targeted by online fan communities. Iron Maiden's shock number one kept Depeche Mode's 1990 album Violator off the top slot. Although it features the electronic act's big hit "Enjoy The Silence", few neutral observers would have placed Violator ahead of traditional poll toppers such as Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, which both appear further down the top ten.