Ten facts you probably never knew about Burns

From fashion designers and fizzy drinks to space travel and Sex and the City, Robert Burns has impacted on our global culture in many diverse and surprising ways.

The Bard’s birthday will be celebrated around the world in song and verse at Burns Suppers, with millions tucking into a tasty haggis on January 25.

Here are 10 fascinating facts about Scotland’s National Bard.

1. After Queen Victoria andd Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure.

2. US fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger claims direct descent from Robert Burns.

3. A miniature book of his poetry was carried into orbit by astronaut Nick Patrick on a two-week space mission in 2010, completing a 5.7 million mile round trip and 217 orbits of the Earth.

4. Robert Burns was the first ever person to appear on a commemorative bottle of Coca-Cola in 2009.

A plaster cast of the skull of Robert Burns

5. When his body was exhumed in 1815 to be placed in a new mausoleum in Dumfries, a plaster cast of his skull was taken for study. The skull was measured and discovered to be bigger than the average man’s.

6. Burns’ work has appeared in hundreds of films and television programmes, including It’s a Wonderful Life, When Harry Met Sally and Sex and the City.

7. Music legend Bob Dylan selected Burns’ 1794 song ‘a Red, Red Rose’ when asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration.

8. ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the top three most popular songs in the English language. The other two are ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘For has a jolly good fellow’.

9. J.D. Salinger’s famous 1951 novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’ based its title on the Burns poem ‘Comin’ Thro’ the Rye’.

10. Michael Jackson is said to have been a big fan of Robert Burns and is reputed to have worked on an as yet unreleased album setting the Bard’s poems to music.