Thanks to the popularity of international best seller Fifty Shades Of Grey, one in ten women between the ages of 25 and 54 consider cold and complicated Christian Grey the most perfect fictional gentleman.
But Pride And Prejudice’s dashing Mark Darcy – who was initially similarly cold and complicated to Elizabeth Bennett – won the most votes overall, and has been voted the perfect fictional gentleman overall in the nationwide poll of British women.
Jane Austen’s upper-crust character, brought to life by actor Colin Firth in the 1995 hit BBC mini-series, was named number one by almost a third (29.60%) of British women polled.
Mark Darcy was followed by suave British spy James Bond (12.4%), first made world famous by handsome Scot Sean Connery in the 1962 movie Dr. No.
Five other actors went on to play the debonair secret agent, with Daniel Craig the latest with his most recent box office smash Skyfall.
And proof that women love a prince in real life or fantasy, the stock character Prince Charming was third, stealing one tenth of the vote.
The research of 1,000 women across the UK was commissioned by Johnson Cleaners in a bid to find who and what makes a gentleman in both fiction and reality.
While noble Noah from tear-jerker The Notebook, played by the dishy Ryan Gosling, was the most popular fictional gentleman with women under 25.
And a quarter of women of all ages told researchers they wished their partner or husband was more like their favorite celebrity gentleman. This rose to a third of women in Northern Ireland.
Paul Ogle, MD of Johnson Cleaners, said: “It is clear that many women love an old fashioned gentleman, either in fiction or reality. The qualities that make a gentleman are timeless and classic, just like the celebrities that came top of our research.”
But this figure drops to five per cent of all women in the UK insisting the infamous Christian Grey was their perfect fictional gent. But that’s still some 1.25 million ladies.