Actors, activists, politicians, sports stars and YouTube sensations: Radio Times tried to find out who British teenagers look up to most of all – and the results are quite surprising.
Harry Potter star Emma Watson was named the most influential star among 13-18 year-olds, but the Top 20 teenage heroes also include everyone from Barack Obama and Usain Bolt to Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Cox.
1. Emma Watson
Since leaving Harry Potter, Emma Watson’s celebrity and influence has soared. She is a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, working to empower women across the world, and has led the HeForShe gender equality campaign.
The outgoing US President clearly has secured his legacy among young people – and not just because he’s a Game of Thrones fan. From interviews with David Attenborough to, you know, leading the free world, Obama is a unique thing for British teenagers: a political leader who’s actually trusted.
3. David Tennant
Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Jessica Jones, not to mention Hamlet, that most tempestuous of teens – wherever he appears, whatever part he plays, there’s something about David Tennant that hooks you in. If nothing else, he’s proof that you don’t necessarily need Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat to communicate with today’s teens.
4. Brian Cox
Never let anyone say that teenagers are only interested in pop stars and video games again. Right up the list is physicist Professor Brian Cox, who arguably more than anyone else has made people of all ages fall in love with science again.
5. Usain Bolt
The research was conducted before Bolt won his seventh Olympic gold, but even without his latest triumph, the Jamaican raced ahead of the rest of the field. He is the only sportsman to make the final 20 – bad news for future England football teams…
6. JK Rowling
We’ve read the books, watched the films and now a lucky few have seen the stage plays, and every step of the way we’ve shared in JK Rowling’s vision. And there’s more Harry Potter to come…
7. Daniel Radcliffe
Joining Emma Watson, JK Rowling AND David Tennant is the fourth Harry Potter figure in the Top 10. Like Watson, Radcliffe has branched out since leaving Hogwarts, but still captures the imaginations of British teens.
The highest ranked music star on our list, beating Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran.
Even a show as uncompromising as Game of Thrones needs a hero, and Kit Harington provides that in spades as Jon Snow. Age appropriate? Who cares.
10. Jennifer Lawrence
Hollywood’s hottest star rounds off the top 10. The Hunger Games star recently also won three awards at the Teen Choices Awards.
11. Brendon Urie
The Panic at the Disco! frontman is the second pop star on the list… so far.
12. Ryan Reynolds
The Canadian star and Deadpool actor is a teen hit on both sides of the pond.
13. Benedict Cumberbatch
Sherlock isn’t back until the New Year, but Cumberbatch’s blockbuster run as Hamlet coupled with an upcoming Marvel movie still ranks him high in the list of most popular teen stars.
Forget Zoella, vlogger and comedian TomSka is YouTube’s biggest breakout star this year according to Radio Times research. TomSKa, real name Thomas Ridgewell, is a 26-year-old animator and comedian from Cambridge with more than four million subscribers to his YouTube channel.
15. The Saccone-Jolys
Meet the internet’s most popular family: vloggers Anna and Jonathan Saccone-Joly share their lives in front of the camera, documenting their lives and growing up with their two children Emilia and Eduardo.
16. Tanya Burr
Rounding off the run of YouTube stars is British lifestyle vlogger Tanya Burr. Subscriber count: 3.5 million.
17. Ed Sheeran
He may have taken a break from music and social media this year, but singer Ed Sheeran is still a major player when it comes to teen influences.
18. Lilly Singh
Canadian YouTube vlogger and rapper Lilly Singh, AKA IISuperwomanII, was ranked 8th on the Forbes list of World’s Highest Paid YouTube Stars in 2015.
19. The Slow Mo Guys
The entertainment and science YouTube channel is presented by Gavin Free and Daniel Gruchy. A quarter of the names in the Top 20 come from YouTube.
20. Tom Hiddleston
The Night Manager and Thor star completes the Top 20 list.
21. Ian Hislop – Have I Got News For You? panellist and Private Eye editor