Jessica joins Jack as the most popular name given to babies

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The Independent Online

Jack and Jessica were the most popular names given to babies in England and Wales this year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Parents are more adventurous when choosing names for girls. Jack has been the top name for boys for 11 years but favourite girls' names show more variety.

Hollywood has had an impact on girls' names this year with the popularity of Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson leading to Keira rising 13 places to 38, and Scarlett 25 places to 47.

The reign of Jack could be over next year - 14 per cent fewer boys were called Jack this year than last and, for the first time since 2002, there is a new entry in the top five boys' names. Oliver has risen two places into fifth, pushing Daniel outside the top five.

The biblical names Joshua, Thomas and James are unchanged at number two, three and four. Leo is the only new entry in the top 50 boys' names, jumping 20 places to 37 in 2005.

The fortunes of soap stars appear to have influenced parents. Alfie, after the EastEnders star, fell nine places last year but climbed back up six places to 21 this year, with Jake, the name of BBC1 show's heartthrob, climbing nine places to 16. Other EastEnders to have a good year were Ruby (up 16 places to 15) and Demi, which rose to 80th, a 41 per cent rise in popularity. Aleesha, the name of Demi's baby in the show, went up by 298 per cent.

Frankie, a popular character in Coronation Street, almost doubled in popularity to reach number 152 in the list of girls' names. Freddie jumped 15 places to 81, perhaps in tribute to the Ashes hero Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff.

Emily, top last year, dropped to number two. Sophie moved up one place to number three and Olivia enters the top five for the first time at number four. Chloe - top girls' name between 1997 and 2003 - remains at number five. Libby has been steadily moving up the top 100 since 2000. This year it climbed four places to 48.