Cutting a Dash through the 21st Century


British Gents of the Year 2014

2014 has been the year when British acting talent achieved global domination. Not since the great Burton, O’Toole, Connery and Caine graced our screens in the 60s have British actors been quite so prevalent. I could have picked a number of our current crop of thesps for the title of British Gent of the Year: especially Idris Elba and Eddie Redmayne, who continued their march on Hollywood with humility and good grace. These two are resolute gents – always stylish and charming; they made the short list for 2014 though I suspect that next couple of years has even greater things in store for them.

The final 3:

3. Prince Harry

Prince Harry

This was the year that Prince Harry came of age. Sure he’s always been the charming, naked-pool-playing, top shagger – although he has gained kudos for time spent on the front line. Yet this year he marked himself out with his determination to help those wounded in action, most notably by establishing the Invictus Games. He went about establishing the event with a marked degree of quiet resolution, using his celebrity to further the games without using the games to further his celebrity. Harry, through a combination of charm and integrity, has become a fantastic ambassador for all that is Great about Britain. He seems to have found his niche; a bit of boozing and womanising, but an all round gent and bloody good bloke.

2. Dr Oliver Johnson

Oliver Johnson

There are a number of impressive medical types working in appalling situations around the globe – especially those who have volunteered to provide aid in both Syria and the areas affected by Ebola. These include such fine gentlemen as Dr David Nott in Syria, Dr Martin Deahl, Dr Simon Mardel and Dr Javid Abdelmoneim in Sierra Leone. Plus the chap who, while helping others, actually caught Ebola – William Pooley. I should also mention the sterling work done by the many women, including Dr Geraldine O’Hara in West Africa. Collecting the runners-up prize, on behalf of them all, is Dr Oliver Johnson. I urge you to listen to Dr Johnson’s account of his time helping Ebola sufferers here. He epitomises the finest virtues of gentlemanliness – modesty, courage, selflessness and grace under pressure. Dr Oliver Johnson, like so many of his colleagues, is a true British Gent. I salute them all.

1. Benedict Cumberbatch

The Cumberbatch

2014 shall henceforth be known as the Ano Cumberbus. Even the tribes people of Papua New Guinea have surely not passed the past 12 months without exposure to this fine chap (and probably resulting in a swath of swooning Papuan Cumberbitches in his wake). Always polite, funny and stylish – dear Benedict has taken over, whether voicing dragons, fighting Captain Kirk, sleuthing as Sherlock or bringing the genius that is Alan Turing to life. This was also the year that he caused meltdown among said Cumberbitches by announcing his engagement in the traditional way, by placing a notice in the The Times. In bringing a touch of old-fashioned panache to Hollywood he has forged a glorious path for other British Gents to follow. 2015 may well bring Oscar or other film award glory, but 2014 was when the Cumberbatch went global.

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