Dame Judi named very best of British actors

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Dame Judi Dench has been named Britain’s greatest actor, ahead of figures such as Lord Olivier and Sir John Mills.

The 78-year-old Oscar winner, from York, who played M for the last time in the James Bond series last year, triumphed in the poll which put women on top, with Dame Maggie Smith finishing second.

Nostalgia magazine Best Of British, which polled its readers, found broadcaster Sir David Attenborough to be the greatest living British man, with scientist Stephen Hawking in second spot.

The top living British woman was the Queen while Baroness Thatcher took the runner-up position.

BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid voted by readers into fifth place, ahead of the likes of Dame Vera Lynn (sixth) and Joanna Lumley (10th).

The top male in the great British actor list was Sir Michael Caine, who celebrates his 80th birthday this month and finished third.

Daniel Day-Lewis – who won a record-breaking third best actor Oscar on Sunday for his role in Lincoln – was number five in the list.

Lord Olivier was sixth and Sir John Mills was placed at number eight.

Other top choices were Kind Hearts And Coronets – named best British film – and Only Fools And Horses, which was the best British TV show.

The Two Ronnies was declared the best comedy act while the Beatles were named best music act, with Dame Shirley Bassey ranked second ahead of Queen, who finished third. Chas & Dave were placed at number eight.

Fish and chips was the top British food and Sir Stanley Matthews was the favourite choice of sportsman.

The polls were carried out for the March 2013 Best Of British, which is the magazine’s 200th edition and is out now.