Sharleen Leads the Impressive Tally of Top Scots Italians

Daily Mail (London), December 5, 2005 | Go to article overview

Sharleen Leads the Impressive Tally of Top Scots Italians


Byline: GRACE MACASKILL

THEIR earliest attempts to make an impression on Scottish culture were somewhat less than inspiring.

Agricola's legions did not stay long and that other famous Roman, Bonnie Prince Charlie, saw his own ambitions crushed at Culloden.

But now it seems Scotland's Italians have finally succeeded in taking the nation by storm - and Glasgow-born singer Sharleen Spiteri is leading the way.

The 38-year- old frontwoman for rock band Texas has come top of a poll to find Britain's most influential Italians.

A former hairdresser, she has become one of the country's most successful recording artists since forming the group with Johnny McElhone in the mid-1980s.

And she is only the first of five Scots to dominate the top ten.

Glasgow-born comic Armando Iannucci - one of the driving forces behind such hits as The Mary Whitehouse Experience and Alan Partridge - took third place.

The 41-year-old, whose father is originally from Naples, was also instrumental in the creation of classic news satire The Day Today with Chris Morris and fronted comedy show The Saturday Night Armistice.

Immediately behind him in fourth place is 97-year- old Sir Charles Forte, who started out running a milk bar and ended up owning one of the country's most prominent hotel chains.

Paisley-born actor Tom Conti, 64, was ranked sixth following his success in a host of films including Shirley Valentine and Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence.

And 18-year-old violinist Nicola Benedetti took seventh place for the virtuoso performances that won her the BBC's Young Musician of the Year contest in 2004.

However, her father Giovanni - who has received a CBE for his business and charity work - was one of many prominent Scots Italians who failed to make the top ten.

Actress Daniela Nardini, whose family ran the famous ice cream parlour in Largs, Ayrshire, was not mentioned despite winning accolades for her gritty role as Anna in the BBC series This Life. More recently, she starred in the TV adaptation of Christopher Brookmyre's book Quite Ugly One Morning.

Racing driver Dario Franchitti, from Bathgate, West Lothian, was also left out of the survey.

The online poll was conducted by the makers of health supplement Lyc-O-Mato.

Others who made the top ten list are restaurant owner and chef Aldo Zilli, upmarket food chain owners Priscilla and Antonio Carluccio, Body Shop founder Anita Roddick (born Anita Perella), film director and writer Anthony Minghella and scandal-hit 1960s politician John Profumo. …

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