THE nation has chosen Professor Brian Cox as their favourite Mancunian celebrity to save Christmas.

The Oldham-born physicist has been named as the top celebrity to step in if Santa fails to complete his festive rounds.

In a survey of more than 1,500 residents, 15 per cent put Professor Cox OBE as their number one Mancunian celebrity to deliver their parcels.

He came top of the list ahead of the Gallagher brothers, comedian Jason Manford and soap star Michelle Keegan in the survey carried out by My Parcel Delivery.

The Manchester-based company also recorded the views of Mancunians, with 13.6 per cent of those from the city putting Professor Cox down as their first choice.

Leeds and Sheffield also ranked Professor Cox as number one but Liverpudlians were less decisive as the scientist, comedian and soap star were all tied.

Professor Cox, best known for presenting Stargazing Live and Wonders of the Universe, was a favourite among females, with 14.7 per cent indicating they would like him to pay them a visit.

Just 4.3 per cent of Mancunians voted for Bury-born academy award-winning film director Danny Boyle.

Other celebrities included in the survey were Maxine Peake, Suranne Jones, Steve Coogan and Julie Goodyear.

David Grimes, CEO of My Parcel Delivery, said of the survey: "With Christmas just around the corner, we were intrigued to know which of Manchester’s many famous faces Mancunians would most like to see at the front door, delivering their presents.

"We were quietly surprised and delighted that Cox was the winner.

"Brian already has the ability to answer seemingly unanswerable questions in the realm of physics but maybe we could show him how the delivery industry – and Father Christmas, of course – manages to transcend time and space to get our presents to us on time."