Baron Cohen gatecrashes British powerbroker charts

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The Independent Online

Once it was Blair and Bush. Now it is Brown and Borat. A listing of the 100 most powerful men in Britain has named the comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as a key influence on the nation alongside Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

The annual survey by GQ magazine ranked Baron Cohen, creator of Borat, the Kazakh television reporter at the centre of a hit film last year, in 19th place - one place behind Prince William and two behind the Conservative Party leader.

Two years ago, the magazine put Tony Blair and George Bush in joint first place, arguing that the American president had "inveigled himself into British life like no other world leader". But this year the Prime Minister is demoted to second place, beaten to the premier ranking by the Chancellor for the second year running. The magazine said: "Brown is all but chief executive of a government where Blair is largely a figurehead."

Five years ago, the survey ranked David Beckham fourth - one place behind Mr Brown. This year there is no mention at all for the former England captain.

Instead, the accolade for the fastest-rising powerbroker goes to Baron Cohen, who won a Golden Globe earlier this month for the film Borat, which created diplomatic ructions in Kazakhstan for its portrayal of the former Soviet state as a bulwark of misogyny and religious intolerance. The film had worldwide takings of more than £130m. The magazine said: "Not since John Lennon has an English entertainer had such an effect on the world."

Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, is third, followed by Sir Terry Leahy, the Tesco chief executive; Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul; Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC; and Sir Philip Green, the retail billionaire.

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