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Nigel, Barry, Elaine and Sharon - your time will come

PUBLISHED: 08:57 23 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:54 23 September 2017

Nigel Havers: Our only genuinely-loveable Nigel, says Steven Downes....

Nigel Havers: Our only genuinely-loveable Nigel, says Steven Downes....

PA Archive/PA Images

Opinion: Nothing dates worse than a trendy first name. Just ask Steven Downes...

Choosing your baby’s name is a complex and deeply personal process.

Some opt for continuing the use of a family name. My middle name James comes down through the Downes generations: nothing original, but safe and timeless.

Others are inspired by music stars, film stars, TV personalities or even fictional characters.

The popularity of Game of Thrones means the offspring of IT technicians will be called Daenerys, Cersei, Tyrion, Brienne, Bronn and Arya. That’s if they don’t prefer Star Wars - Rey, Finn or Supreme Leader Snoke.

There are parents who wait until after the birth to find a name. “He just looks like a Boris, doesn’t he?”

No, like all babies, he looks like a boiled rat. Ok, yes, he looks like a Boris.

The sad truth is, no matter how much effort you put into selecting a name, by the time the rat becomes a human being in its 30s it’ll most likely be out of fashion.

There are some names that will always be ok, like James, William, Emily and Jessica. Safe, solid, unspectacular - and unlikely to condemn your infant to future mockery.

I’m guessing my parents thought Steven would be safe and solid. It was for a while, but now it’s one of those names: the ones that cry out “middle-aged accountant”.

Can you imagine being introduced to a baby called Steve? I’d either laugh out loud or wet myself trying not to laugh out loud.

This week, the Office for National Statistics published the 2016 baby names list.

It was a chastening read. For so many of the names that were read out during roll call in my high school lessons are now as popular as horseflies.

I was at school with some Nigels, but in 2016 only zero, one or two people gave the name to their nipper. If it’s one or two, I suggest the offending parents should be jailed and the baby renamed.

That’s unless it looks like a gurning frog and you dress it in tweed.

Incidentally, can you think of a genuinely lovable Nigel? Havers, maybe, but he always plays the cad.

The funny thing is that once names cease to be associated with dull middle-aged people and are instead held by the elderly or dead, they come round again.

Plenty of today’s popular monikers were common 100 years ago - Lily, Ella, Emily, Harry, George, Jack.

I’d like parents to get ahead of the curve. Why wait for names to come back when you can be trend-setters?

Instead of Game of Thrones or Celebrity Love Island, how about selecting from ‘People at School with Steven in 1988’?

You can select from the following boys’ name - and there are some real winners here:

1 - Trevor

2 - Gary

3 - Keith

4 - Dave

5 - Jason

6 - Clive

7 - Kevin

8 - Darren

9 - Gavin

10 - Barry

If your baby is born without external adornments, try these gems:

1 - Sharon

2 - Elaine

3 - Marie

4 - Tracy

5 - Sonia

6 - Cheryl

7 - Jenny

8 - Jane

9 - Mandy

10 - Annette

If you have one of these names, I’m not sorry to offend you. For, like me, you sound like what you are - middle-aged, unfashionable and unpopular.

Our time will come again, though, but probably when we’ve croaked.

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