But, stop press... only TWO British names have made the cut (if you don't count Irish star Daniel Day-Lewis). According to the powers that be, only the Duchess of Cambridge and her literary Nemesis Hillary Mantel are competing with the likes of Aung San Suu Kyi and Justin Timberlake for making the global cobbles tremble (with nay a mention of a certain Downing Street resident).
So, who SHOULD have been on this list? From our Entertainment perch, we've put together a bunch of names that we think merit at least a mention as they continue to surf their way through the zeitgeist, often catching a wave or three...
GO ON - WHO HAVE WE FORGOTTEN? FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR OWN BRIT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW
becoming the ultimate 'brand' in human form... weathering and surviving Loos-gate (image intact)... supporting charity, Britain, Olympics, still loving his football and well, just for continuing to be so blinkin' darn handsome
For proving that female child stars needn't end up with a mugshot, that it is possible to grow up elegant, self-aware and... normal.
Marcus Mumford, and his fellow Sons
For making folk music cool
Dame Helen Mirren
For continuing to prove that glamour, sexiness and humour needn't remain the province of the under-30s, and for sending the message that, for women especially, age need not wither.
Alan Partridge may have been a creation of the '90s - but Coogan's influence continues, and not just because his greatest character has movie is on its way. His production company Baby Cow is responsible for a slew of acclaimed new comedy shows for Sky, including Hunderby and Moone Boy.
Finally someone who let the music do the talking
With first the death of Amy Winehouse, and then, in a bizarre counterpoint, that of Margaret Thatcher, Russell Brand proved that, when he's not sitting under a triangle in his LA pad, he can sniff the zeitgeist and express it in compassionate, empathetic and deeply readable prose. Not to mention going to Parliament in search of a remedy to the plague of drug use in this country. Increasingly a force for good. Just has to stop signing up for things like Arthur!
Proving it is possible to move on from being a wronged wife
Love him or loathe him, this die-hard Republican is tireless in his polemic, proving that there are other sides to the commonly held view, and we can celebrate our democracy that permits him a safe platform. Both a beneficiary, and strong proponent, of the concept that liberty is the responsibility to protect the views of others, even of whom we may strongly disapprove.
The pioneer of bad body art
Lucy Lumsden, head of Comedy at Sky
Move over, Channel 4 and Auntie Beeb: Sky is now the birthing ground of much of the best and most exciting British TV comedy, and it's more than in part thanks to the channel's first ever head of comedy, Lumsden, who's commissioned shows such as Spy, Trollied and the new Playhouse Presents.
Can you imagine a TV schedule in a non-Cowell era?
Funny. Oh and an old school, positive gay role model.
Kylie* (*adopted Brit)
For proving the naysayers wrong and lasting 25 years in the biz (unheard of for a pop tart) and proving that you don't have to be a b8ch to do it (hello, Madonna)
From his East London upbringing to Golden Globe-winning actor in demand on both sides of the Atlantic, and a primetime TV black detective in 'Luther'. He's now also carving his way as a DJ under the name of Driss, playing small venues around London and making hundreds of (not just female) fans happy.
One of Britain's best selling female pop artists in the past few years and is a beacon of female empowerment. America has Pink to say it how it is, and now we have... Jessie J. She writes her own songs, and ballads like 'Who You Are' have (probably) helped self-conscious teenagers no end.
The creator of 'The Thick Of It' has made that rarest of career moves - a successful leap across The Pond, where's he created a similarly acclaimed comedy in the Julia Louis-Dreyfus political sitcom 'Veep'. He's also earned an OBE along the way.
Love him or loathe him, Gervais has the kind of career that most British comedy writers and performers only dream of. The Office - and its long-running American equivalent - made him America's comedy darling, he's pals with stars like Louis CK, and with a second season of Derek is on its way, his success shows no sign of slowing down.
Inspired a whole generation to be famous for absolutely no reason
The comedian's comedian continues to go from strength to strength and influence a generation of comics as he does so. What's more, with his TV show 'The Alternative Comedy Experience' he he champions new comedy talent; and is a fierce supporter of the independent venues and promoters which are part of the increasingly huge and commercialised Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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