09/12/2011 11:15 GMT | Updated 09/12/2011 11:28 GMT

Great British Gentleman: Winston Churchill And David Attenborough Beat Beckham

Sir Winston Churchill has been named the greatest British gentleman, with Sir David Attenborough and Stephen Fry ranking close behind, according to a poll.

The British prime minister, who spearheaded Britain through World War II, came top of a poll of 4,000 people, pioneered by British clothes company Austin Reed.

It would seem Churchill’s observation that ”history will be kind to me for I intend to write it” may have possessed a degree of truth.

Known for his epigrammatic sound bites, "Churchillism’s" have bled into modern conversation. One famous exchange is attributed to Churchill and Lady Nancy Astor:

"Winston, if you were my husband, I'd put poison in your coffee."

"Nancy, if you were my wife, I'd drink it.

The BBC Documentary Frozen Planet has spring-boarded octogenarian Sir David Attenborough onto TV screens once more, his venerable commentary civilising even cankerous polar bears into Englishmen.

It is unsurprising therefore that he was voted second, especially considering his long career in natural history filmmaking. Renowned for his Life series, as well as The Blue Planet and Frozen Planet, many consider Sir David Attenborough a national treasure, though he himself does not care for the term.

A spokesman for Austin Reed, who carried out the poll, said: “Sir Winston Churchill showed unprecedented courage and strength to lead this country and is a worthy choice as the greatest British gentleman.

“In fact, Austin Reed made Winston Churchill’s famous siren suits during the war.

“There were plenty of great contenders for the role, and the results are a pleasing reminder of the number of great characters and personalities that inspire the general public.

“It’s nice to see modern men in the list such as David Beckham, Jenson Button and David Tennant. They all epitomise effortless style and have a real flair for fashion – which is an essential trait for any gentleman.”