What do Danny Dyer and Sir David Attenborough have in common? Aside from being national treasures, they’re two of a handful of famous faces who have contributed to BBC Bitesize Daily – a virtual learning platform that’s helping youngsters with their schoolwork during the coronavirus lockdown.
Since schools, colleges and universities were forced to close due to COVID-19, teachers, tutors, parents and professors have come up with novel ways to help people learn at home. And the BBC has been helping out too, calling on its celebrity mates to deliver lessons online.
With thousands of students learning at home, it’s great that so many celebs are offering up their time to host virtual classes online. But if you could choose, which famous names would you pick as your virtual teachers?
To find out, we collected data from YouGov to assess who the most popular UK celebs were. Then, we categorised these stars into their relevant subject areas, before surveying 1,000 people to find out which celebrities they’d like to teach them for various subjects – from business to science.
These were the results:
Martin Lewis, the UK’s straight-talking and much-respected money saving expert, was ranked as the best fit for teaching business studies – with voters shunning the likes of Lord Sugar and Simon Cowell in his favour. And perhaps that’s a sensible choice, given Lewis’ knack for helping the average joe out with day-to-day money troubles, not to mention his no-nonsense delivery.
Online cooking classes will be totally different to those you took in high school, because when it comes to virtual cookery lessons, the rather foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsey proved to be the nation’s favourite. Effing and blinding aside, things were tight at the top, with Jamie Oliver coming in a close second in front of Mary Berry, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith. Quite frankly, we’d like to see them all teaching cookery, with Ramsay dealing out some tough love the only way he knows how.
Drama and theatre aren’t for everyone, but with Julie Walters, David Tennant, Judi Dench, Michael Caine or Emma Watson at the helm, we think it would make for some seriously inspiring learning. In a battle of dame-on-dame theatre matriarchs, Walters pipped Dench to the top spot – maybe that’s all thanks to her great turn as formidable yet friendly dance teacher Sandra Wilkinson in 2000’s Billy Elliot.
It may come as no surprise that JK Rowling was voted overwhelmingly as the best fit for an English Literature teacher – after all, who better than the author of seven of the world’s best-selling novels to teach you about books? What is perhaps surprising is that Greg Davies was chosen above much-loved children’s author Jacqueline Wilson – though Davies did teach English for 13 years before becoming a comedian, so maybe he’s the most sensible choice of all.
David Attenborough is overwhelmingly the nation’s favourite to teach geography, pinching around three-quarters of the vote. As it happens, Sir Dave has already been hard at it, lending his iconic voice to help youngsters learn all about mapping the world and its oceans. Surprisingly, Bear Grylls came in ahead of knighted journalists Trevor McDonald and Jon Snow – great if you want to learn how to eat a yak’s eyeball or sleep inside a camel skin.
Despite her popularity, age and participation in two World Wars, Queen Elizabeth II was pipped to the post by Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen in the history category. Prince Charles was also beaten out in this subject, with us Brits lending more votes to veteran broadcaster and University Challenge legend, Jeremy Paxman, to be our virtual history professor.
Having proved her credentials in over 4,800 episodes of Countdown, Carol Vorderman was chosen as the go-to teacher for virtual maths lessons – beating her successor, Rachel Riley, by over 10% of the vote. Some people may be surprised to see Rowan Atkinson on the maths teacher shortlist, but then again, he does have a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Queen’s College Oxford.
A highly contentious round depending on what music you like, but veteran musician and songwriter Sir Elton John proved he’s still got it by receiving the most votes for virtual music teacher. Sir Elton rocketed to first place ahead of fellow singer, Ed Sheeran, while Adele, Stormzy and Robbie Williams made up the top five.
It’s hard to think of anyone better than Joe Wicks to learn PE with during lockdown, but we do have some people in mind. Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill received the most votes in the PE category, with David ‘Golden Balls’ Beckham bringing up the rear. Mo Farah, Roger Federer and Nicola Adams were also in contention, but as a multi-event specialist, we think Dame Jess has got all the bases covered.
Like music, politics is up for debate when it comes to the best teacher – and it really depends on which side of the political divide you sit on. Some may be surprised to see Boris Johnson receiving a majority of votes, with rival Jeremy Corbyn a close-ish second. Former PM Theresa May also made the list, as did former speaker John Bercow.
With his soothing Mancunian lilt and Charlatans-inspired haircut, Brian Cox has steadily chipped away the stigma and made science trendy. Perhaps that’s why he was overwhelmingly voted the best candidate for virtual science teacher, fending off the likes of Dara O’Briain and Harry Hill. As it turns out, Brian, like Sir David, has already started his tenure as virtual prof, airing shows as part of BBC Bitesize.
Agree with our picks? Which famous faces would you like as your substitution teachers? Get in touch and let us know on the Nido Student Facebook page. If you’re looking for more information about our stylish and contemporary student homes, visit the homepage.