Hair to the throne: Actor John Hurt


It has not been, we must report, a vintage year for facial hair. The prize for the annual Beard of the Year has had to be shared between The Choir's Gareth Malone, actor John Hurt and rugby player Geoff Parling.

The three-way split of the award, organised by the Beard Liberation Front, suggests a nation underwhelmed by pogonophilia (although it did attract more than 10,000 votes). Perhaps things would be different if Prince Harry, who has a hirsute new look thanks to his Antarctic adventure, had been eligible. Ditto the editors of The Independent and i, both of whom have luxuriant beards and do, we would argue, fit the competition criteria of "the impact of the beard in the public eye [being] positive". Maybe next year....