Derby Dead Pool 2008: Inane analysis

Putting the 'anal' into analysis...




 - Stats

 - Names

 - Themes


 - General stats

 - Most popular

 - Breakdown by gender

 - Breakdown by profession

 - Breakdown by nationality

 - Breakdown by age

Random observations



There are 461 teams this year, a record number - up 10% on last year. These teams appear to come from 16 countries: England (including at least 2 teams from the Isle of Man), Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and of course the USA. This year there also entries for the first time (as far as we know) from Belgium & the United Arab Emirates  Please let us know if we've missed any.


Again, the list of women playing the game has stayed increasingly steady, both with current & new entrants, and although the DDP still awaits its first female winner, a higher number of teams run by women finished in the 2007 top 50 than ever before.


Finally, one additional stat - former organiser of the DDP, Big Iain, has not entered a team for the 2008 competition, meaning Jesus Jones is the only team to have competed in every year of the competition so far.



As far as team names go, morbid puns & off-beat names continue, with the following all worthy of merit: Kennedy Driving School, Dead Boys Inc. Feat Girls Ashroud, Boxed Up & Ready To Go, Will D Maykitt, Liquiessence & Putridity, The Cre-Mating Game, Today's the Day the Maggots Have Their Picnic, The Misfortune Tellers, Oh, What a Beautiful Mourning!, Knowing My Luck, I'll Reincarnate as a Mayfly Again! and the bizarrely named Tonight, Matthew, I'm Going To Be Badly-Torn Boy. However, my personal favourite has to be newcomers This Team Is So Safe, It is Sponsored by Volvo...


Elsewhere, some other random observations - This is the third year that the team that names a celebrity & puts after it "Must Die" have entered. The first year saw Gerald Ford duly pass away, and then in 2007, Lady Bird Johnson kindly kept this run going. This year, they have entered as Nelson Mandela Must Die and one imagines the former South African leader is frantically stepping up medical & security options....


Finally, it is good to see that a healthy lack of respect is shown by many teams - with two teams in particular showing their distaste of Margaret Thatcher by mentioning her in their team name;- Milksnatcher Bites The Dust!! and No Team Is Complete Without Thatcher - a view shared by another 192 teams this year. Deceased Buggers don't mince their words & neither, too, does the refreshingly candid named team, Nicole Kidman Is A Slag

Meanwhile team names that reflect Dead Pool playing are on the rise, hence the following: I'll Pick Them Till They Croak!, A Change of Tactics, and the rather more desperately-sounding, Just Die Will You!!...



In 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 him. (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 Brown.)

2007 saw a massive rise in theme teams, but this was relatively minor compared to the 2008 game. The following have all entered teams with a theme:

One Less Bullet Come The Revolution and  Toasted Brown Bread (Royals or nobility across the world), D-Ed (all have Ed in the celeb's forename or surname), Y-Shaped Coffin (all females), Go 2 L (all have their first & last name beginning with L), Knight Knight (all knights of the realm), Vote or Die! 2008 (all US election based), Pop Goes The Pop Star (obvious really..), Film Is Forever, Filmmakers Are Not & You're Not Acting Like Yourself Today, Are You Dead? (both names from the world of film), Ohio & Goodbye-O (all people from Ohio), The Jim Reapers (All celebs with James in their name or linked to a James), Where Are They Now? (British TV celebrities from the 1960's-1980's), 20 From The Turf - Now Under It (horse-racing), All Nails In The Coffin (all either the oldest people in the world or oldest set of twins etc.), The Final Whistle (sport), The Terry Fenwick Select XX (all footballers/managers) and then 3 UK political based teams - House of Stiffs, Dead Commons & Politigone


In addition to the above, we still have many former entrants keeping their themes - the already formentioned John Stalker's Commemorative Monster Mash, Ailing Rulers of Africa (again, what it says on the tin), Dark, Brown & Dead (all dark-skinned celebs), In Eternum's Wrinkly Dicks (all, with one exception, people who have played detectives or written about them), Pobol Y Fedd (all Welsh celebrities) and then there's probably others so subtle that I've missed them.




General stats

A total of 2,026 different celebs have been picked this year, which is a 13% rise up on 2007. This is largely down to there now being 3 points awarded for an unique pick, rather than the previous 1. Considering there are now 1,148 unique picks, 185 more than before, it isn't really surprising most teams have tried to take advantage of the new rules.

Most popular

This year's top 25 most popular picks are as follows: 


this year


last year



of teams


of jokers

1st 1st Fidel Castro 222 23
2nd 2nd Margaret Thatcher 193 14
3rd 3rd Ariel Sharon 171 12
4th 4th Ronnie Biggs 163 16
5th 5th Kirk Douglas 139 2
6th 25th Sir Bobby Robson 123 13
7th 889th= Amy Winehouse 122 15
8th 6th Muhammad Ali 114 3
9th 8th Rev Billy Graham 107 7
10th 7th Charlton Heston 96 2
11th= 17th Sir Norman Wisdom 88 7
11th= 18th Zsa Zsa Gabor 88 2
13th 10th= Michael Foot 85 0
14th 12th Elizabeth Taylor 82 3
15th 16th Henry Allingham 77 8
16th 18th= Patrick Moore 75 4
17th 30th= Prince Philip 74 1
18th 9th Pete Doherty 70 3
19th 48th= Betty Ford 66 1
20th 27th Farrah Fawcett 65 8
21st 10th= Harold Pinter 62 0
22nd 26th Nelson Mandela 61 1
23rd 335th= Russell Watson 56 11
24th= 35th= Nancy Reagan 54 1
24th= 889th= Britney Spears 54 2


So the top 5 remain unchanged, but only two gain in popularity:- Margaret Thatcher (quite rare to hear "Thatcher" "gain" and "popularity" in the same sentence!) & Ronnie Biggs. Although Fidel Castro remains first, and Ariel Sharon 3rd, teams are obviously being more wary - Castro's condition appears to have stabilised but removed him from power, whilst Ariel Sharon is no worse or no better after his stroke in 2006. Thatcher has to be content with 2nd place for the fourth year running, but the number of jokers she has obtained this year is a rise on previous years.


The names in the leader board have not drastically changed - the most popular pick that died last year was Brooke Astor, who was 13th on the 2007 list. Others to have passed away that were in last year's top 25 are Lady Bird Johnson, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, Jane Tomlinson, Barzan Ibrahim Al-Tikriti, Luciano Pavarotti & Hamad Awad al Bandar.


Meanwhile, Ronnie Biggs & Kirk Douglas remain relatively static in 4th & 5th places, but the biggest rises are in 6th & 7th. Another cancer fight for Sir Bobby Robson means that he rises 19th places to 6th, picking up 72 more picks this year. But the biggest riser of them all is Amy Winehouse. Last year, she was an unique pick for former DDP organiser Rude Kid, and was the first time I had even heard of her. 12 months on, most people are aware of her, if not her music, and her rise up the leader board is even more interesting when you take into consideration fellow musician & druggie Pete Doherty dropped 9 places! Her rather desperate plight has seen her husband also get picked by a number of teams for the first time.


As for the remainder of the top 25, the top 10 is relatively static, but Norman Wisdom moves up after his dementia fight was made public. Prince Philip is 17th this year & other new entrants in the top 25 are Betty Ford, Farrah Fawcett, Russell Watson, Nelson Mandela, Nancy Reagan & Britney Spears (also a unique hit last year, but for Mave's Graves).


The two biggest fallers are Harold Pinter, who drops 11th places, whilst Stephen Hawking is out of the top 25 all-together, although he, along with Mickey Rooney are the only other celebrities who picked up more than 50 picks.


Breakdown by gender

This year has seen a very slight rise in the proportion of female celebs chosen: 410 out of 2,026 gives 20.2%, up from 19.3% last year & 19.7% in 2006.


Breakdown by profession
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: most of the categories remain the same either in numbers or positions. The one distinct difference is sport - which rises up to 3rd - helped by theme teams, no doubt, but also by the fact that both the BBC is expanding its online sports coverage, but also that US sporting celebrities are getting mainstream obituaries, whereas before they weren't. Other significant risers include "others" (mainly due to the listing of very, very old people), Royalty/nobility (again, mainly due to theme teams) & the media.



of celebs


Television/radio 395 19.5%
Music 285 14.1%
Sport 265 13.1%
Politics 253 12.5%
Films 253 12.5%
Other 75 3.7%
Literature 64 3.2%
Royalty/nobility 52 2.6%
Science/Academia 48 2.4%
Celeb family/partner 48 2.4%
Military 48 2.4%
Business 46 2.3%
Theatre/Stage 39 1.9%
Religion 38 1.9%
Media 35 1.7%
Crime 24 1.2%
Terrorism 16 0.8%
Art 15 0.7%
Exploration 13 0.6%
Fashion 13 0.6%
Law 6 0.3%
Philanthropy 5 0.2%


Breakdown by nationality
This year's picks come from (or at least were born in) a total of 121 different countries or independent territories, compared to 92 last year.  Once again, the US and England are predominant, accounting between them for over 66% (2007: 67%) of those celebs whose birthplaces are known.

(NB: The modern names/boundaries of countries have been used where these have since changed.)

Interesting risers, include Sweden (rather perversely as I can't think of a particular reason why), Wales (theme teams), India (ditto Sweden, though they get detailed coverage on the BBC) & Pakistan (now, this one, I think I DO know...).

Country Number of celebs Percentage
USA 708 35.0%
England 633 31.2%
Scotland 58 2.9%
Wales 42 2.1%
Australia 37 1.8%
Canada 36 1.8%
Germany 35 1.7%
India 31 1.5%
France 26 1.3%
Italy 21 1.0%
Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland 20 1.0%
Sweden 15 0.7%
China, Russia 11 0.5%
Egypt, Japan, New Zealand, Spain 10 0.5%
Iraq, Pakistan, South Africa 9 0.4%
Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland  8 0.4%
Austria, Argentina, Greece, Malaysia, The Netherlands 6 0.3%
Kenya, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Ukraine 5 0.3%
Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Iran, Israel, Nepal, Saudi Arabia 4 0.2%
Afghanistan, Burma, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, Romania, Somalia, Taiwan, Turkey, Zambia 3 0.2%
Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Chad, DR Congo, Haiti, Jordan, Malta, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Senegal, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Zimbabwe 2 0.1%
Albania, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, French Guinea, Ghana, Grand Cayman, Guernsey, Guinea, Hong Kong, Iceland, Isle of Man, Ivory Coast, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Luxembourg, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, North Korea, Panama, Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Suriname, Tibet, Tonga, Trinidad, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam 1 0.1%
Unknown 15 0.7%


Breakdown by age
The breakdown by age (as at 1st January 2008) looks as follows.

Age bracket Points value Number of celebs Percentage
18-29 12 42 2.1%
30-49 10 198 9.8%
50-59 9 171 8.4%
60-69 8 303 15.0%
70-79 7 402 19.9%
80-89 6 478 23.6%
90-99 5 224 11.1%
100-109 4 46 2.3%
110+ 3 21 1.0%
Uncertain (n/a) 126 6.2%

Generally, there is an increasing shift towards younger candidates, and indeed the average age is again down, by one year from 2007, to 72.

Once again this year, the most popular birthday is 6th July, this time shared by 13 people (2007, 8 people, 2006: 10 people).

The most common year of birth is 1930, with 56 of the chosen celebs hoping they're still drawing enough breath to blow out their 78 candles in 2008.

No-one, however, has the most 'typical' date of birth of 6th July 1930; the closest, who was born on the 4th July 1930, is George Steinbrenner.

Joss Ackland Michele Morgan are normally unlikely than most, to qualify for a party pooper bonus, except of course, this year, since they were born on the 29th February, and 2008 is a leap year!


Random observations

I'm Still Standing

There are currently (at the start of 2008), 23 known remaining World War I veterans, as against just 1 Titanic survivor (Eliza Gladys Milvina Dean)  It remains to be seen whether sheer numbers will win out against (relative) youth: the latter was a baby when the Titanic sank, , whereas the youngest of the certified WWI vets is 107. What is also a recent trend in relatively limited survivors is living holders of the Victoria Cross - almost all of the living holders have been chosen - at the start of 2008, there were just 12 holders.


My Name Is...

Finally, the name game. Last year, Michael & it's variants were the most popular forename, but not this year - that honour is taken by John & all it's variants (both English & foreign). James is 2nd, Robert 3rd, then followed by Michael, Richard, George, Edward (helped by the D-Ed team no doubt..),  Peter, David & William (and all their variants, obviously.) Last year's 4th most popular name, Paul, has gone way down the list of popularity. As for the ladies, the most popular name, but way down in 28th, is Elizabeth, whilst Anne is the next most popular female name in 31st place.

In terms of surnames, last year's 2nd most popular name, Jones, has taken top spot this year. Taylor & Williams (1st last year) are just behind, then Wilson, Smith, Baker, Harris, Hill, James, Lewis & Stewart.



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