FORTY years ago Britain did not give a f**k about figure skating. Then we briefly did, and despite everything two Olympic gold winners are still famous today. Like many others:
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, famous since 1984
The fever that grips Britain during the Olympics is occasional but fervent. It elevated these two, and incidentally Ravel’s Bolero, to incredible renown. Can you name a single winner of this event since? No. Did they win anything since? Bronze, in Lillehammer, in 1994, doing a routine to Nirvana’s Lithium. But still you believe ITV was lucky to get them.
Eddie the Eagle, famous since 1988
Currently making up the numbers on Dancing on Ice, Eddie is famous for not being good at ski jumping. His most lasting contribution to sport is that after he won British hearts, the rules were changed so nobody as bad as him could ever compete in the Olympics again. He remains famous. Roland Rat, his contemporary, now works in IT.
Rita Ora, famous since 2012
Achieving her fame the old-fashioned way, by releasing hit singles while being hot, Rita had her first number one almost exactly 12 years ago. After that her career’s been chequered but she has never, for one moment, ceased to be famous. She’s barely had a charting single since her pandemic birthday party. Nonetheless.
Jamie Laing, famous since 2011
A wealthy public-school educated love cheat who had the gall to get famous without even becoming a Conservative MP first. Has achieved nothing despite having every advantage in life and now feeds his fanbase with three separate podcasts, releasing on average 30 hours of material every single day.
Amanda Holden, famous since 2000
Her TV credits begin in the 1990s, but she only became a household name after cheating on Les Dennis with Neil Morrissey. Almost a quarter of a century later, that remains the most notable thing she’s ever done. Sits in judgment on the talent of others, because who says Simon Cowell doesn’t have a sense of humour?
Sophie Ellis-Bextor, famous since 2001
One f**king song. One song, and a pandemic kitchen disco where she danced around to the playlist of Magic FM. And yet everyone in Gen Z knows who she is.