One for Katie Hopkins: intellectuals can be tattoo-toting, too. Here are some which may surprise you

According to research, the tattoo removal industry is booming, as more and more people begin to regret the now-faded blue symbols and transient sweethearts they’ve had inked onto their bodies. The ever-judgemental Katie Hopkins has labelled tattoos ‘cheap’, ‘trashy’ and ‘common’, while one writer for The Guardian has commented on her struggle to come to terms with the new wave of tattoos sported by otherwise ‘respectable’ people.

Now a word in defence: we know that there are some brilliant tattoo artists out there, and there has been some debate recently about the supposed ‘resurgence’ of tattoos – and we’re not necessarily talking your average bicep tribal inscription or starred wrist. People are coming up with new and innovative ways to ink themselves, and more advanced technology allows for some fantastically intricate creations. Tattoos are slowly starting to be viewed as works of art and are no longer being simply dismissed as arbitrary symbols of youthful rebellion – or drunken mistakes!

As of 2012, Britain is the world’s most tattooed nation (I’m still deciding whether that’s an affront or an accolade). I did some research, and discovered that there are actually plenty of famous intellectuals who took the decision to permanently puncture and pattern their skin – many of them Brits.  Though as far as we know Stephen Hawkings has resisted the urge to get inked. You can come to your own conclusions about whether that makes them ‘trashy’ or not…

David Dimbleby

The 75-year-old Question Time host, who has presented most of the BBC’s election coverage since 1979, got his first tattoo in November last year. Allegedly quipping ‘you’re only old once’, Dimbleby chose a scorpion to represent his star sign, positioned on his right shoulder. And the person he said he thought of while having it done was …

Winston Churchill

Yep, that’s right – Britain’s best-known Prime Minister and symbolic wartime rock had an anchor tat on his forearm.

Thomas Edison

As the inventor of the patented predecessor to the tattoo machine (the electric pen), it’s only appropriate that Thomas Edison bore a geometric tattoo of five dots on his forearm.

Samantha Cameron

Sam-Cam, British businesswoman and wife of current Prime Minister David Cameron, has a dolphin just below her ankle. Very Kensington and Chelsea…

Daniel Day-Lewis

The three time Oscar-winning actor is surprisingly well-inked, despite his understated demeanour.

Helen Mirren

The award-winning British actress has a tattoo on her hand symbolising tolerance towards others. She got it when very drunk in Minnesota.

Dorothy Parker

As a way of remembering a drunken night in the 1930s, the American poet and satirist had a star on her elbow.

George Orwell

The author of 1984 and Animal Farm had dots tattooed on his knuckles. Rebellious Burmese tribesmen thought tattoos could give magic protection from British bullets, and Orwell’s time in Burma no doubt influenced his decision to get inked himself.

Sadie Hale