Derby Dead Pool 2007: Inane analysis
- General stats
- Most popular
- Breakdown by gender
- Breakdown by profession
- Breakdown by nationality
- Breakdown by age
There are 418 teams this year - up 75% on last year, and over 17 times as many as we had when we took over the running of the DDP in 2003. These teams appear to come from 13 countries: England (including at least 2 teams from the Isle of Man), Scotland, Wales, Ireland (not sure which half), Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and of course the US of A. This year, there's been a marked increase in the number of teams run by women (or maybe by men with effeminate-sounding email addresses...), which ties in with the fact that, when we canvassed opinions as to whether under-16s should be allowed to be selected, a majority of our female competitors replied "Yes", but were outvoted by the men. And we thought you lot were supposed to be all caring and maternal...!
As far as team names go, morbid puns are still much in evidence, among them AbraCadaver, Coffin Fit, Come On Baby Light My Pyre, Crem De La Crem, Dead End Job, Dress re-Hearse-als, Every Shroud Has A Silver Lining, Nice Little Urner, No Noose Is Good Noose, Owt To Stop Me Coffin?, Styx & Stones, Tomb It May Concern and Wake Up And Smell The Coffin.
References to death-related news stories of the recent and not-so-recent past also abound, including A Dingo Ate My Baby, Banda Aceh Surf Club, Died In A Nasty Accident, Dodo, Di, Dodi, Dando...Dido?, Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster, Grassyknoll Grayson, H5N1, Jill Dando Failed The Doorstep Challenge, Slobodan Milosevic's Medicine Cabinet and The Shipman List.
And there are clearly several Monty Python fans among you, judging by the fact that Godot's Choir Invisible, Norwegian Blue, AFC Norwegian Blue, ...the Salmon Mousse!!!, Not At All Well and There's A Mr Death At The Door, Something About The Reaping are all taking part this year.
2005, a new competitor calling himself John
Stalker fielded a team consisting entirely of celebrities
whom he had met or seen in person. He only managed one hit - and he had
to wait until Xmas
Day for that - but his idea of selecting people who all have something
in common caught on in 2006, with at least 4 other themed teams joining
(By a strange coincidence, Mr Stalker (by then known as John
Stalkest went on to collect another Xmas Day hit in the form of James
This year, DDPers have really embraced the concept. As well as the return of John S, we have Ailing Rulers of Africa (does what it says on the tin), Bijou Bodettes (all people under 5ft tall), Bunch Of Old Bags (all women), Dark Brown and Dead (all black people), If One Dies Will The Other Follow? (all TV double-acts), I'm Just A Singer In A Rock and Roll Band (all rock & pop singers), In Eternum+'s Wrinkly Dicks (all have written detective novels or played TV detectives), Mummies and Daddies (all have played parents in sitcoms), No Longer With U.S. (all born or naturalised Americans), Pobol y Fedd (all Welsh people - the name means "people of the grave"), Taking The Michael (all men called Michael), and probably others so subtle that we've missed them.
A total of 1,764 different celebs have been picked this year, which is an impressive 83% up on 2006. Part of the reason for this big increase is that there are now 963 unique picks, and a slightly increased average of 4.22 distinct picks per team - perhaps surprising, given that we kept the unique pick bonus at a measly 1 point whilst increasing other scores and introducing new bonuses. We did this in an attempt to cut down our workload by dissuading people from selecting new and obscure celebs who weren't in our database; obviously it didn't quite work as intended!
This year's top 25 most popular picks (and the only ones to be chosen by over 50 teams) are as follows:
|8th||11th=||Rev Billy Graham||92||1|
|14th||14th=||Lady Bird Johnson||77||4|
|15th||62nd=||Tammy Faye Bakker Messner||71||14|
|17th||19th||Sir Norman Wisdom||68||2|
|18th=||11th=||Zsa Zsa Gabor||67||3|
|21st||530th=||Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti||63||20|
|24th||(n/a)||Awad Hamed al-Bandar||56||7|
|25th||206th=||Sir Bobby Robson||51||1|
So it's the year of the ailing leaders: Cuban President Fidel Castro makes a meteoric rise to the top of the DDP popularity chart in terms of both picks and jokers, his top-secret (but clearly serious) illness pushing him up 30 places. Behind him, Ariel Sharon marks the anniversary of the stroke that put him into a coma by rising 18 places. Inbetween those two, Margaret Thatcher has to be content with 2nd place for the third year running, and still attracts a disproportionately small number of jokers, as she seems to do every year for some reason.
Meanwhile, train robber and professional Cockney Ronnie Biggs loses his top spot as more and more DDPers start to suspect that his impressive list of illnesses may just have been a ploy to get him out of prison (again). Also on the slide is the seemingly indestructible Michael Foot, who, despite being well into his 90s and having looked like death warmed up for at least the last 30 years, drops 4 places.
Wayward rocker Pete Doherty continues his ascent of the chart (now there's a phrase you don't often hear these days...), his tedious but tabloid-friendly behaviour having taken him from 62nd to 24th last year, and on to a top 10 place this time round.
Other notable climbers include Tammy Faye Bakker Messner (lung and colon cancer), Luciano Pavarotti (pancreatic cancer), Sir Bobby Robson (brain tumour), and of course Saddam's condemned henchmen Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar.
Breakdown by gender
This year has seen a slight drop in the proportion of female celebs chosen: 339 out of 1,764 gives 19.2%, down from 19.7% last year, but up slightly on the 18.6% that we saw in 2005.
Our loose classification of celebs by "profession" (or at least, the reason why they became famous in the first place) reveals that we DDPers are a conservative lot in terms of where we draw our inspiration from: the top 6 categories remain unchanged from last year. Thespians sneak up from 10th to 7th position, and - perhaps surprisingly, given the amount of media coverage they received last year - terrorists only manage to rise from 18th to 16th place.
(The figures in this section are subject to change, as we're still lacking info on many of the chosen celebs' birthplaces.)
This year's picks come from (or at least were born in) a total of 92 different countries or independent territories, compared to 90 last year. Once again, the US and England are predominant, accounting between them for over 67% (2006: 63%) of those celebs whose birthplaces are known.
(NB: The modern names/boundaries of countries have been used where these have since changed.)
|Country||Number of celebs||Percentage|
|Australia, Germany||18 each||1.9%|
|Canada, Scotland||17 each||1.8%|
|France, Italy, Wales||15 each||1.6%|
|India, Iraq, Russia||10 each||1.1%|
|Japan, Republic of Ireland||8 each||0.9%|
|Austria, South Africa||5 each||0.5%|
|Argentina, China, Sweden||4 each||0.4%|
|Afghanistan, Brazil, Denmark, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, New Zealand, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Turkey||3 each||0.3%|
|Burma, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Palestine, Poland, Somalia, Ukraine, West Indies, Zimbabwe||2 each||0.2%|
|46 other countries||1 each||0.1%|
(The figures in this section are subject to change, as we're still lacking info on many of the chosen celebs' birthdates.)
The breakdown by age (as at 1st January 2007) looks as follows.
|Age bracket||Points value||Number of celebs||Percentage|
The average age of the 907 celebs whose exact dates of birth are known is (as at 1/1/2007) 73 years, 7 months and 23 days - about three and a half months down on last year, probably reflecting the greater weighting we're giving to younger hits in '07.
Once again this year, the most popular birthday is 6th July, this time shared by 8 people (2006: 10 people).
The most common year of birth is 1928, with 32 of the chosen celebs hoping they're still drawing enough breath to blow out their 79 candles in 2007.
No-one, however, has the most 'typical' date of birth of 6th July 1928; the closest are Kathy Staff and Alistair Burnett, both born on 12th July in that year.
Joss Ackland and Ja Rule are less likely than anyone else to qualify for a party pooper bonus this year, since they were born on the 29th February, and 2007 isn't a leap year, so by definition they can't die on their birthday.
When I'm Dead And Gone
In case you're wondering why some teams have only got 19 (or even 18) members this year, it's because they tried to pick celebs who were already deceased, including Barry White and Bob Monkhouse (both died 2003), Ronald Reagan and Fred Dibnah (both d. 2004) and Ronnie Barker (d. 2005). A particularly popular stiff was "funnyman" Ernie Wise; 4 teams didn't let the fact that he's been pushing up the daisies since 1999 dissuade them from putting him on their list.
The "worst research" award, though, has to go to the team who went for actress Norah Baring, despite her having croaked way back in 1985, and despite our stating this fact clearly on our website all throughout last year. (Actually, one team did nominate Pope Benedict XIV (d. 1758), but we were charitable enough to assume that was just a typo...)
At the opposite end of the spectrum, The Doffin' Codgers were the class swots, with homework so good that in the 24 hours after they sent us their team (but before 2007 started), no fewer than 3 members of it dropped dead - Lamar Hunt (American sports promoter), Ahmet Ertegun (founder and CEO of Atlantic Records) and Anton Balasingham (Sri Lankan separatist leader) being the culprits. Bad luck, boys!
There are currently 39 known remaining World War I veterans, as against just 2 Titanic survivors (Eliza Gladys Milvina Dean and Barbara Joyce West-Dainton). It remains to be seen whether sheer numbers will win out against (relative) youth: the latter were both babies when the Titanic sank, and are now 94 and 95 respectively, whereas the youngest of the certified WWI vets is 106.
My Name Is...
The valiant efforts of the aforementioned Taking The Michael team have ensured that Michael (along with its variants Mike, Mick, Mickey, Michel and Mikhail) is this year's most popular first name for coffin-dodging celebs, followed by David, John, Paul, George (but strangely not Ringo), Robert, William, Thomas, Peter, Richard and Brian, in that order. We have to go down to 16th place in the list to find the first female name, Elizabeth (feat. Elisabeth, Liz and Betty).
In terms of surnames, Williams leads the pack, with Jones, Johnson, Wilson, Taylor, Baker, Brown, Smith, Jackson and King close behind.
The shortest complete names are the 7-letter Roy Horn, Zheng Ji, Huang Ju, Yoko Ono and U Win Tin (the U doesn't stand for anything), although it should be pointed out that all apart from Roy Horn are subjective transcriptions from non-Western alphabets. A few celebs who are known by even shorter names are disqualified for using pseudonyms (Bono, Cher, Pelé, Eminem) or initials (I.M. Pei, B.B. King).
The longest names are those of Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Salim al-Sabah and Inkhosikati LaShongwe Dzeliwe Shongwe, who each boast a wholly unnecessary 34 letters. Honourable mention also goes to Alicia de Larrocha y de la Calle, whose 7-word unhyphenated name manages to be poncey but impressive-sounding at the same time.
Certainly it was the hysteria over bird flu in the British press that led one person to call their team H5N1; maybe this also had a subconscious effect on the selection of Dickie Bird, Robert Byrd, Nicholas Cage, Sheryl Crow, Ervin Drake, Hazel Hawke and Anna Wing. Sadly, however, Gregory Peck is no longer with us, and John Parrott hasn't been chosen by anyone this year.
People whose only real claim to fame is being related to one or more celebrities remain popular this year. Mothers are especially in evidence, including Marcheline Bertrand (Angelina Jolie's mum), Barbara Gibb (The Bee Gees), Jackie Stallone (Sylvester), Dorothy Webb (Cliff Richard), and even Ann Widdecombe's old ma, Rita.
The closest we have to a complete family are the Osbournes: Ozzy, his wife Sharon and 2 of their offspring, Kelly and Jack, all appear on various team lists, with only older sibling Aimee missing, probably because she didn't feature on the TV show.
It doesn't even seem to matter if the famous relative in question is long dead: Gudrun Himmler's father Heinrich committed suicide in 1945, and Jayne Marie Mansfield's namesake mother was killed in a car crash in 1967, but both have made their DDP debut this year.
A few new picks for 2007 which we felt were particularly interesting and/or topical: medical guinea pig Ryan Wilson, alleged serial killer Steve Wright, suicide pact survivor Wendy Ainscow, "Borat" star Sacha Baron Cohen, "Jackass" fools Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville, and the world's most reluctant politician, Nouri al-Maliki.
But perhaps most colourful of all is Matti Nykänen, who we were dimly aware of as a former Olympic ski-jumping champion, but it turns out that his career has since gone downhill (sorry), and he's done time for attempted manslaughter, worked as a stripper, had 4 marriages that each lasted just 2 years, and recorded pop songs called "Hi Hi, I'm Your Samurai" and "Only A Ski Jumper Truly Knows". Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, eat your heart out.