Copyright 2002

[ January 3rd 2002 ]

Politicians, actors and well-known characters from TV and film proved inspirations for British parents when naming their babies last year, government research released on Thursday showed.

Traditional names proved to be the most popular, with Jack easily topping the boys' list for the seventh year in succession and Chloe comfortably heading the girls' list for the fifth time in a row, according to figures for England and Wales compiled by the Office of National Statistics. Further down the list Prime Minister Tony Blair has shown he is a leader in more ways than one. His decision to call his baby son Leo in 2000 has been copied by many of the electorate with the name jumping 42 places to 101st.

Movie stars proved a popular inspiration for names. Mia, the name given by Titanic star Kate Winslet to her daughter, leapt 20 places to number 25, and Erin, possibly inspired by the successful film Erin Brockovich, rose 10 places to 41st. The unusual name Rocco which pop superstar Madonna gave her son born in 2000 has also started to appear on the list, although not high enough for a ranking, along with Maximus, the character played by Russell Crowe in the Oscar-winning film Gladiator.

Angelina, possible boosted by actress Angelina Jolie's role in the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie, soared 277 places to number 483 and Willow, the name of a character in the hit U.S. TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer rose 175 places to 245. The findings were based on names given to 267,875 boys and 254,978 girls born in 2001.

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