With only a few days left to go, Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary in TV’s hit period drama Downton Abbey, looks set to top the Telegraph WLTF rankings for 2011, edging out last year’s winner Kate Middleton to carry off the coveted Number One Slot trophy.
Dockery, still a newcomer only a year ago, is thought to have benefited from a change in the rules, which now employ a complex algorithm to produce a combined score taking into account online hits as well as front page photographs.
The Daily and Sunday Telegraph have long since realised that their middle-to-upper class and age readers appreciate any excuse to put a bit of posh totty on the front page, putting a spring in the ding ahead of those tedious morning meetings.
For female readers it tends to be the aspirational ‘Hello’ effect, although many a wife of a boorish businessman is thought to remain sane by resorting to the occasional lesbian fantasy, or so their husbands like to think, perhaps. It’s a complex issue.
Fourth place was taken by Pippa Middleton’s rear, although the Telegraph is quick to point out that adding the ‘front’ score would not have affected the result. The ‘gold digger’ face has not gone down well, at least in the scoring sense, at least for this particular trophy, despite rumours to the contrary.
A clear third place was taken by Angela Merkel. Readers are known to appreciate strong women, and they don’t come much stronger than this. For some she is a substitute for Margaret Thatcher, a multiple winner in days of yore. For others, for whom those ‘Ossi’ work clothes just melt away in the mind’s eye, she is the embodiment of all those older German women seen topping up the tan on holiday.
A similar award run by the Daily Express is expected to be won by Princess Diana, although the Leverson Inquiry has given Kate McCann a strong late run.