Friday, 16 November 2012

Friday Five: Nicest Man in Britain

Last week I watched a couple of documentaries, one presented by David Attenborough and one by Michael Palin - both were excellent; both informing and entertaining. I know Michael Palin has frequently been described as 'the nicest man in Britain' but I think it must be a pretty close run thing between him and David.

I began to wonder what makes someone 'nice'. The Concise Oxford Dictionary has it that one must be 'pleasant in manner; good-natured; kind'. I remembered a conversation with my Dad once about 'kindness' as a quality in fiction. He contended that in real life one never admired someone's kind quality as one did in literature. I begged to differ, and I still do. I've never held with that theory that nice guys finish last.

Perhaps when we were young and foolish, we preferred the wild and reckless to the polite and generous, but try watching Casablanca now and I'll bet you've changed your mind about what you would do at the end if you were Ilsa Lund.

For my own stipulations, the nicest man in Britain must not only be nice, a man, and British (which discounts Rolf Harris, who might otherwise have been a contender), but also to have achieved some sort of fame in their chosen field (random friends and relations don't count).

5 Nicest Men in Britain:
  1. Michael Palin (CBE)
  2. Sir David Attenborough
  3. Sir Steve Redgrave
  4. Hugh Laurie (OBE)
  5. Jamie Oliver (MBE)
Other challengers for the compassionate crown include: Griff Rhys Jones; Trevor McDonald (OBE); Harold Dennis 'Dickie' Bird (OBE); Edward Michael 'Bear' Grylls; David Beckham (OBE); Martin Bell (OBE); Colin Jackson (CBE). Of course, that's just my opinion. What's yours?

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