Bradley Wiggins, Boris Johnson and Ian Holloway named as Britain’s greatest living wits 

  • ·         Bradley Wiggins takes gold as ‘king of the quips’
  • ·         Stars from sports, politics, television, film and music make top ten
  • ·         Top three wits invited to perform at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival

Olympic and Tour De France cycling champ Bradley Wiggins has been named as Britain’s greatest living wit. The 2012 Sports Personality of the Year triumphed over a host of witty celebrities from the diverse fields of sport, politics, music and film in a nationwide poll to be named king of the quips.

Over 2,000 British adults took part in the survey, which was specially commissioned to mark the start of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival8th – 24th February 2013.  A panel from the comedy channel compiled a shortlist of the 25 wittiest British celebrities of recent years, taking care to exclude professional comedians and those working directly in the field of comedy.  The shortlist was then put to the public vote to find Britain’s greatest wits.

Cycling hero Bradley Wiggins emerged triumphant with over a fifth of the public vote (20.75%) with comedy lines such as “we’re just going to draw the raffle numbers now,” as he started his speech to the crowds on the Champs Elysees who had come to witness his Tour de France victory.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson came in at second place with 17.65% of the vote.  The London leader’s knack for a witty quip was summed up in his observation of extra-curricular activities in the Olympic Village during the 2012 Games in London; “Inspire a generation’ is our motto. Not necessarily ‘Create a generation’ … which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic village.

Third place went to the much loved Ian Holloway (14.30%), manager of football club Crystal Palace, with witticisms such as; “Right now, everything is going wrong for me – if I fell in a barrel of boobs, I’d come out sucking my thumb!”

Completing the top ten are Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, musicians Robbie Williams, Noel Gallagher and Rod Stuart, The Apprentice’s Lord Sugar, actor Colin Firth and TV presenter Ant McPartlin (full results listed below).

Overall Top 10 Wittiest British Celebrities (including example material)



Bradley Wiggins – When making a speech to the Champs Elysées crowds who had come to see his Tour de France victory: “We’re just going to draw the raffle numbers now.”

 On winning Sports Personality of the Year: “Nan, the cheques in the post, because you hit redial god knows how many times.”

After someone threw tacks on the road, causing punctures for a number of riders: “There are hopefully enough police on this race to find the people and… send them to a football match or something.”

‘I was disappointed when you didn’t go to jail for insider dealing or phone hacking, but you know, each to his own’ – TWITTER response to Piers Morgan who said he was ‘dissapointed Bradley didn’t sing the national anthem



Boris Johnson – On extra-curricular activities in the Olympic village: “Inspire a generation’ is our motto. Not necessarily ‘Create a generation’ … which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic village.”

On becoming Prime Minister: My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.”

Talking about if Ken Livingstone did a good job as a major Nothing immediately springs to mind. I think losing the election last time was one of his most magnificent acts.”



Ian Holloway – “Right now, everything is going wrong for me – if I fell in a barrel of boobs, I’d come out sucking my thumb!”

 “I love Blackpool. We’re very similar. We both look better in the dark.”

After QPR beat Cardiff: “I couldn’t be more chuffed if I were a badger at the start of the mating season.”



Lord Sugar – To Apprentice candidates: “I’ve read all your CVs and on paper you all look good, but so does fish and chips.”

 To an Apprentice candidate: “You remind me of one of those knock-off DVDs. At first glance quite convincing, but afterwards you’re just impossible to follow.”

On how to dress for an interview “Turning up looking scruffy is not good. Then again, if you’re going for an interview with Richard Branson, and you’re in a T-shirt with half your breakfast down the front of it, he might think that was cool.”



Jeremy Clarkson – “I don’t understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?”

 “If all the creatures on earth were the same size, it’s said a lobster would have the smallest brain. But then someone invented Wayne Rooney.”

“This is a Renault Espace, probably the best of the people carriers. Not that that’s much to shout about. That’s like saying ‘Oh good, I’ve got syphilis, the best of the sexually transmitted diseases!”



Robbie Williams – “I am the only man who can say he’s been in Take That and at least two members of the Spice Girls.”

 “Madonna looked amazing. I can’t believe she’s 89 and looks like that.”

 “I met Courtney Love and she said she’d like to sleep with me, but she couldn’t cos of my “pop-star thing”… so I said to her I couldn’t sleep with her either – cos of her ‘ugly thing’…”



Noel Gallagher – On his brother Liam: “He’s the angriest man you’ll ever meet, a man with a fork in a world of soup.”

 On Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant: “I’m not having it, He looks like a f**king balloon with a f**king Weetabix crushed on to it.”

 “Liam only has two problems – everything he f**king says and everything he f**king does.”



Rod Stewart – “Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.”


“I’ve been lucky with my hair.  I couldn’t deal with it if I’d run out of barnet.  Imagine me with a Bobby Charlton comb over.”

 “It’s often said that a band is like a family, and that may well be true, depending on how often your family is tired and drunk.”



Ant McPartlin – “Our first flat, in South-West London, was a pig-sty. Peter Andre lived in the flat above us and in the evenings he’d go to the gym while we’d be working on our own six packs – of beer.”

 “Sony Records approached us to make the official England World Cup single. Our first reaction was: ‘Didn’t you ever hear any of our music?’”

 “We were pensioned off at 18. Even though Byker Grove was a success the BBC wanted to appeal to younger viewers. To be fair, real-life 18-year-olds don’t hang around youth clubs.”



Colin Firth – “Colin is the sort of name you give your goldfish for a joke.”

 “My singing voice is somewhere between a drunken apology and a plumbing problem.”

 On Hugh Grant potentially retiring from acting: “All we can do is hope and pray.”

                                                                                                                                                                                   Female celebrities failed to make their mark in the overall top ten line-up.  From those that comprised the shortlist, Strictly Come Dancing’s Claudia Winkleman and pop star Lily Allen led the way for the girls, with controversial reality TV favourite, Sharon Osbourne following closely behind.

 Steve North, General Manager of Dave, comments, “Britain is a hotbed of comedy talent and it’s clear you don’t have to be on the comedy payroll to get the nation laughing, as our top ten of Britain’s greatest living wits encompasses celebrities from diverse fields including the worlds of sport, music, film and politics. Our winner, Bradley Wiggins has a special place in the nation’s heart which seems to be on account of his red hot wit as well as his incredible sporting abilities. We have extended invitations to all those in the top three to appear at this year’s Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival and hope they will agree to appear.

Top 3 Wittiest Female British Celebrities (including example material)

*all placed outside of overall Top 10

= 1 3.85% Claudia Winkleman – “To be a TV presenter all you have to do is dye your skin a walnut colour, use an entire eyeliner stick on each eye and try not to fall over while you’re reading from an autocue.”


On her job: “I just flounce in and ask people some stupid questions and then come home again. And it won’t last long because I’m 94 so it’ll end any minute and I’ll have to find something else to do.”


“I don’t work very hard, I dye myself orange and I read out loud in the months from September to December when Strictly is on.”

= 1 3.85% Lily Allen – “I was a drug dealer in Ibiza at 15. I did not excel in drug dealing – I was terrible at it. Golden rule with drug dealing – don’t get too enthusiastic with your own merchandise.”


I’d like to say work and sex have replaced drugs but there’s not been enough time off work for sex. This must change.”


Of her song ‘F**k You’: “I’d like to dedicate this next song to someone. David Cameron.”

3 2.65% Sharon Osbourne – “If anybody says their facelift doesn’t hurt, they’re lying. It was like I’d spent the night with an axe murderer.”

On Prince Harry’s naked escapades: “Fabulous. I was really upset I wasn’t there because I could have had a good look and a grab.”

“Have you seen U2’s live show? It’s boring as hell. It’s like watching CNN.”

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival runs from the 8th – 24th February 2013.