The all-too-early deaths last month of Alan Rickman and Sir Terry Wogan shook me more than I would ever have guessed. I hadn’t realised either of them were ill, and I certainly didn’t think of them as “old”. Rickman’s talent was the rare kind where he was absolutely compelling in any role, whether romantic hero (Brandon) or sinister shadow (Snape). Meanwhile, for several years, Wogan’s voice on the radio was often the first I heard in the morning, contributing perhaps to feeling he was, in a funny sort of way, family.
And these two heavy losses made me pause to think: which other British National Treasures do we take for granted? Who else should we pause to appreciate, while we still have them? Perhaps tweet to tell them of their special place in our hearts, maybe even queue for tickets for their next theatre performance?
- Rowan Atkinson, CBE; Jim Broadbent; John Cleese; Michael Crawford, CBE;
- Sir Sean Connery; Dame Judi Dench; David Jason, OBE; Dame Penelope Keith;
- Felicity Kendal, CBE; Maureen Lipman, CBE; Dame Helen Mirren; Geoffrey Palmer, OBE;
- Patricia Routledge, CBE; Dame Maggie Smith; Delia Smith, CBE; Julie Walters, CBE.
And of course, you don’t have to be silver-haired to be a national treasure. May I also add:
- Rowan Atkinson, CBE; Huw Edwards; Dawn French;
- Hugh Grant; Sir Lenny Henry; Nigella Lawson;
- Gary Lineker, OBE; Emma Thompson; Kate Winslet, CBE.
I could go on. In fact, I’ve probably skipped someone who is so beloved, they should be on a gold pedestal in Piccadilly Circus. But I’m comforted that, while the people we’ve lost are irreplaceable, Britain’s national talent is plentiful, varied and very, very treasured.
Who would you add to my lists?
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