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David Marshall, Linda Bauld and Nathan Evans among most searched celebrities in Scotland

David Marshall is hailed by his jubilant teammates after his save against Serbia in November puts Scotland into this summer’s Euros
David Marshall is hailed by his jubilant teammates after his save against Serbia in November puts Scotland into this summer’s Euros

Sea shanty superstar Nathan Evans, public health professor Linda Bauld, comedian Janey Godley and Scotland goalie David Marshall are among the personalities who got the nation through a year of lockdown, according to research into our online search habits.

Actors Karen Gillan and James McAvoy, along with Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, are also among those who have helped Scots through the last 12 months.

Data provider Semrush analysed online trends in Scotland during lockdown to reveal the most popular names as well as newcomers who lifted Scottish spirits.

Airdrie postman Nathan Evans had the nation singing sea shanties as his version of traditional tune “Wellerman” went from TikTok to the top of the charts. Semrush found he went from 20 online searches in December 2020 to 22,200 in January.

© ITV/Shutterstock
Nathan Evans

Professor Bauld has become one of Scotland’s best known voices and faces as she spoke to the media on Covid-related issues. Googling the Edinburgh University academic soared by 10,900% during the first year of Covid, compared with the previous 12 months.

The behavioural scientist joked her trademark vase of fresh flowers on video links gets as much fan mail as she does: “I think everybody just thought to themselves ‘what can I do to help?’ I’ve tried to remain apolitical and just try and interpret for the public what was going on. I try to remain positive because it’s been horrible for everyone.”

© Picasa
Edinburgh University Professor of Public Health Linda Bauld

Janey Godley kept the nation laughing with a series of spoof voice-overs of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid-19 updates, taking Scottish clicks on the comedian from 2,900 per month to a peak of 110,000.

Goalie Marshall gave football fans something to look forward to when his penalty shootout save against Serbia in November booked Scotland’s place at this summer’s Euros. The keeper was looked up 90,500 times in November – compared with a few hundred on average before his heroics. Spanish pop duo Baccara, whose 1977 hit “Yes Sir I Can Boogie” became an instant anthem for the Tartan Army, also saw a dramatic spike.

Meanwhile, searches for Steven Gerrard rose by 49.1% in lockdown as he led Rangers to their first Scottish Premiership title in a decade. Semrush analysis shows that 60% of Tweets about Gerrard north of the Border are positive and only 15% negative.

Karen Gillan is the film star getting Scots through lockdown, with searches for Jumanji star jumping 49.5% compared with the previous year, despite cinemas being closed.

As the nation found entertainment on TV actor James McAvoy’s popularity spiked after the X-Men star donated £275,000 to a crowdfunding campaign to buy PPE for NHS staff.

Lockdown also boosted Google searches for government figures. Nicola Sturgeon instantly jumped from 49,500 per month to 201,000 at the beginning of lockdown, and peaked at 450,000 in May 2020.

Jason Leitch, the Scottish Government’s senior clinical advisor, went from just 90 searches per month pre-lockdown to 22,200 in March 2020, as he won praise for his clear and calm advice.

In February 2020, only 49,500 Scots Googled Boris Johnson, but that figure rose to 450,000 the following month and 673,000 in April as he battled Covid in hospital.

Most searched

  1. Nicola Sturgeon 280,667 searches
  2. Sean Connery 58,875
  3. Neil Lennon 50,967
  4. Janey Godley, 46,983
  5. David Tennant 24,592


  1. Nathan Evans, searches up 40,233%
  2. Linda Bauld, up 10,900%
  3. Jason Leitch. up 7,018%
  4. Gregor Townsend up 1,578%
  5. Kate Forbes up 710%