Derby Dead Pool 2005: Inane analysis
- most popular
- by profession
- by birthplace
- by age
There are 124 teams this year, who between them have picked a total of 692 celebs; these figures are up 188% and 75% respectively on last year. We assume that many of the newbies came via the deathlist.net forums, but we also had around 40 'drive-by' joiners who emailed us after arriving from elsewhere. However you found us, welcome!
As far as we can make out, we have teams from 12 different countries this year, namely England (including the Isle of Man), Scotland, Wales, Ireland (not sure whether Northern or Republic of), France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Czech Republic, USA, Canada and Australia. Please let us know if we've missed any!
It's no surprise that the average number of distinct celebs per team has dropped significantly, to 5.58, compared to 9.21 in 2004 and 10.25 in 2003. This is partly because, with so many entrants, it's getting hard to think of celebs that no-one else has come up with, and partly because a sizeable proportion of players have adopted a conservative strategy of homing in on those who are most likely to die, rather than going for risky wildcards.
That said, 382 of this year's celebs, or 55%, are unique picks. Hopefully this will result in the sort of hard-fought competition we saw last year, with a lot of jockeying for position, and a death often meaning that a particular team jumps several places on the scoreboard. It went down to the wire in 2004, with the decisive death coming on December 30th, and we wouldn't mind seeing that happen again. Unless, of course, it's one of our teams that gets pipped at the post!
Incidentally, the one new rule we've introduced for 2005 states that if there's a dead heat at the end of the year between two or more teams on points, number of hits and youngest average of hits, then the winner will be declared to be the team with the most amusing name in our opinion. We feel that Condoleezza's Harbingers of Notapotato, Deadknobs And Doomed Picks, Diet Of Worms, I Smell Dead People and The Buddy Holly Flying Experience are all strong contenders on this front. If there was a prize for plain weirdness, We Don't Want Any Bouncebackability would walk it.
This year's most popular picks are as follows:
|1st||2nd||Pope John Paul II||86||8|
|6th=||4th||Sir John Mills||36||1|
|11th||7th||Zsa Zsa Gabor||29||2|
|12th=||54th=||Rev Ian Paisley||27||1|
|15th=||14th=||Rev Billy Graham||22||1|
|18th||18th=||Sir Norman Wisdom||21||1|
So the ailing Pope claims the top spot thanks to the death of last year's favourite Ronald Reagan, and next, but lagging way behind him, it's a tie for second place between the Train Robber and the Milk Snatcher. Surprisingly, though, Maggie fails to get a single joker nomination. Some other thoughts that spring to mind:
Most of the big climbers this year had health scares in 2004: Ian Paisley (up 42 places), Gerald Ford (+24), General Pinochet (+19) and Elizabeth Taylor (+12) were all reported ill at some stage and to varying degrees.
However, we're not aware of any such reason for the gains in popularity of Richard Pryor (up 128 places!) and Max Schmeling (+17), apart from their ongoing multiple sclerosis and old age respectively.
Going the other way is Zsa Zsa Gabor, who continues her slide down the table, from 4th in 2003 (immediately following her near-fatal car accident), to 7th last year, and now a somewhat disappointing 11th place.
George Best has also fallen from favour (down 7 places), no doubt due to having received a new liver, although he is reportedly doing his best to pickle this one as well.
Cancer-stricken athlete Jane Tomlinson is languishing way down the popularity table in equal 27th place with 16 picks, but 8 of them are jokers, making her the joint 2nd most commonly-selected joker.
The breakdown of celebs by profession (once again, we use the term loosely) reveals that the screen, both big and small, is still dominant. Musicians, politicians, and (mainly ex-)sports stars are the other main categories of potential stiffs, and after them, there's a big drop-off. It's perhaps surprising that there are so few terrorists on the list, given all the media hype about terror last year - or maybe DDPers are just weary and cynical of it.
The DDP competitors are clearly a knowledgeable and cosmopolitan bunch, having picked celebrities who come from (or at least were born in) no fewer than 79 different countries. However, when we analyse these, we find the US and England dominate the list, accounting for over 62% of them (NB The modern names/boundaries of countries have been used where these have since changed):
|Country||Number of celebs||Percentage|
|India, Republic of Ireland||8 each||1.2%|
|France, Japan, Wales||7 each||1.0%|
|Egypt, Iraq, Northern Ireland||6 each||0.9%|
|Austria, New Zealand||4 each||0.6%|
|Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden||3 each||0.4%|
|Afghanistan, Colombia, Greece, Iran, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Zimbabwe||2 each||0.3%|
|45 other countries||1 each||0.1%|
The breakdown by age (as at 1st January 2005) looks as follows. The spread of ages is wider this year than it was last time, if only because 2 competitors were sick enough this time round to pick a certain 9-year-old with heart problems...even we think this is a bit beyond the pale, and may have to introduce a 'minimum age' rule next year!
|Under 10||1||0.1%||6 points|
The average age of the 632 celebs whose exact dates of birth are known is (as at 1/1/2005) 72 years, 7 months and 16 days.
The most popular birthdays are 30th March and 6th July (each shared by 7 people).
The most common year of birth is 1923: a total of 25 of the chosen celebs were born in that year, so will have 82 candles on their cake this time round, if they survive long enough to blow them out.
Thus General Wojciech Jaruzelski's date of birth (6th July 1923) is arguably the most 'typical' of the lot. Coincidentally, this is also the day on which Nancy Reagan claims to have been born, but most sources agree that she is in fact 2 years older.
Inequality of the sexes
Despite women outnumbering men in the world's population as a whole, only 129 of the 692 chosen celebs (18.6%) are female, down from 22% last year.
We haven't got quite as many inter-related celebs as last year, but a few worth mentioning are The Queen & Prince Philip (of course...), Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne, Sir John & Lady Mary Mills, sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, brother and sister Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine, cousins Clive Dunn and Gretchen Franklin, and you may also have heard of the husband-wife-son combo of George H. W., Barbara and George W. Bush. Plus ex-couple Nelson and Winnie Mandela, and 2 former wives of Ronald Reagan in the form of Nancy Reagan and Jane Wyman.
To infinity and beyond
Explorers, both real and fictitious, have enjoyed something of a popularity surge this year: astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and John Glenn are joined by supersonic pilot Chuck Yeager and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, as well as James Doohan, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner from "Star Trek".
Being the leader of a politically unstable country is clearly a hazardous occupation, and DDPers haven't been slow to latch onto this fact. Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, King Sihanouk of Cambodia and new Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko have all been nominated this year. Even being overthrown and going into exile hasn't saved former Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner from being picked.
We'd have laughed at these names when we were 8 years old, and quite frankly we're still laughing now: Oral Roberts, Bum Phillips, Spanky Spangler. And let us not forget that for all his macho posturing, Ice-T's real name is Tracy Marrow. Bwahahahahaaaaa....