But apparently there are lots of folks in Great Britain who are doing so, at least if the results of a survey by UKTV Gold are to be believed:

Shame-faced Brits are increasingly confusing fact and fiction when it comes to historical knowledge – that’s the verdict of a compelling new study which found that most people believe that fictional figures such as King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes and Eleanor Rigby really existed.

The study, specially commissioned by UKTV Gold, tested the nation on its historical knowledge by asking 3,000 people a series of questions relating to famous factual and fictional characters. The results provide a fascinating insight into the influence that popular TV, film and fiction has had on the nation’s perception of history over the last 50 years.

The top ten fictional characters that Britons think were actually real people include:

1. King Arthur – 65%
2. Sherlock Holmes – 58%
3. Robin Hood – 51%
4. Eleanor Rigby – 47%
5. Mona Lisa -35%
6. Dick Turpin – 34%
7. Biggles – 33%
8. The Three Musketeers – 17%
9. Lady Godiva – 12%
10. Robinson Crusoe – 5%

The top ten real people that Britons think are fictional or mythological include:

1. Richard the Lionheart – 47%
2. Winston Churchill – 23%
3. Florence Nightingale – 23%
4. Bernard Montgomery – 6%
5. Boudica – 5%
6. Sir Walter Raleigh – 4%
7. Duke of Wellington – 4%
8. Cleopatra – 4%
9. Gandhi – 3%
10. Charles Dickins – 3%

I guess the Pink Floyd theory of education won out in the end:

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

(Via Stand Firm.)