James Bond is the UK's favourite literary character
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James Bond is the UK's favourite literary character

24th July 2012

James Bond has been voted the favourite literary character of all time in a new nationwide poll that also sheds light on British adults' reading habits.

Ian Fleming's suave super spy has been capturing the imaginations of readers since his first appearance in 1953's Casino Royale and came out on top following a survey carried out by YourSayPays on behalf of Ultralase.

Agent 007 edged out Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to the top spot, with Jane Eyre, the protagonist from Charlotte Bronte's classic novel of the same name, coming in third place.

Unsurprisingly, characters from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series made it into the top ten, though more surprising may be the fact that Hermione Grainger ranked above the boy wizard himself, coming in at fourth place compared to Harry's sixth.

Agatha Christie has two creations in the top ten, with Miss Marple ranking fifth and Hercule Poirot placing ninth, while Gandalf from J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit came in seventh.

The top ten was rounded off by Bella Swan from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, who first appeared in 1984's The Hunt for Red October and has gone on to feature in a number of Clancy's thrillers.

Survey respondents also shed light on their reading habits, with the average UK resident spending seven hours and 54 minutes immersed in a good book each week and more than half of the nation reading for at least an hour on a daily basis.

Tony Veverka, chief executive at Ultralase, commented: 'As we can see from the research, reading may be one of our oldest pastimes but it's certainly still a favourite, with so many people devoting their spare time to this hobby.'

© W&G Foyle Ltd