On Sunday 23 April we celebrated St. George – the patron saint of England who, according to legend, courageously fought off a ferocious dragon to save a city from the beast’s hungry demands.
But St. George is not the only hero who has made his mark in history. Here are few of our favourite real and fictional champions who have kept us safe from evil and danger over the course of our history.
A ferocious warrior queen, protector of the people and fighter for freedom, Boudicca was a queen of the Celts who bravely led an uprising against the Roman Empire. Throughout history she has served as a heroine and role model for strong women, most notably Queen Elizabeth I who was said to have drawn inspiration from the legend of Boudicca for her own style of ruling the nation.
Her impact is still present in the 21st century with a statue of the first heroine standing proudly outside the Houses of Parliament reminding us of her lasting legacy.
Stealing from the rich to give to the poor – a common man who bravely fought against injustice during early English feudal society, Robin Hood is one of the most archetypal heroes in English historical fiction. A classic champion of the people, Robin continues to steal the hearts and minds of fair maidens and true gentlemen in multiple film and TV adaptations, including Disney’s loveable fox character in Robin Hood (1973), spoof version Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), and not forgetting the classic The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) starring Errol Flynn, to name but a few.
A fictional character committed to putting universal wrongs right, Sherlock’s popularity as a literary, TV and film hero is due to his uncontested authority as a detective who uses his wits to defeat evil. But it is his moody and contradictory personality that makes him appealing as a timeless English hero, showing us that you don’t need an extravagant superpower to save the world. All you need is an inquisitive mind, drive for justice and a knack for problem-solving (pipe optional).
Some of Sherlock’s most notable appearances in recent popular culture has included BBC’s TV series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and the film Sherlock Holmes (2009) with Robert Downey Jr. playing the lead character.
Many wouldn’t think of Ms Poppins as your typical heroine, but who else can change the world with a song?
Since her first appearance on our film screens in 1964, portrayed by Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins has stolen the hearts of adults and children alike. Her calm but stern demeanour makes Mary a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious heroine worthy of being included in this list. We can’t wait for the next chapter in her story, with the enigmatic Emily Blunt starring in Mary Poppins Returns (2018).
“The things I do for England.” – James Bond, You Only Live Twice (1967)
An international playboy and Martini-loving modern superhero, James Bond has been rescuing the world from evil since Ian Fleming’s first novel Casino Royale was published in 1953. Bond’s appeal as one of our most loveable heroes is not just about his incredible drive in being able to fight off the bad guys, but also about his cheeky charm and English-gentleman behaviour even in the trickiest of situations.
A regular character on our screens, there are a total of 26 Bond films produced to date with a combined gross worth of over $7billion – the fourth highest grossing film series, behind Star Wars, Harry Potter and the Marvel franchise.
Without Hermione Granger’s incredible thirst for knowledge and unrivalled resilience, it is unlikely Harry Potter would have succeeded in his gradual defeat of He Who Must Not Be Named. Hermione is a real modern-day heroine – strong, smart, no-nonsense yet sensitive, her story in the books and films is an inspiration to many across the world, showing us that we can achieve great things by staying strong and fighting for what we believe in.
Have we missed out on your favourite English hero? Tweet us!
If you’ve noticed new Freeview interference and think it might be due to 4G, let us know – we’re happy to help!