Sky reveals TV replaces the weather as the nation's number one topic of small talk

Wednesday 17 February 2021

The average Brit spends a staggering 15 days a year making small-talk, with ‘unexpected endings’ topping the list of the most talked about TV moments.

It has long been known that Brits love to chat, but new research reveals that the UK’s long-standing obsession with talking about the weather has now officially been usurped, with 72 percent agreeing they now talk more about the telly than the weather.  

So it’s no surprise that 36 percent of us say that TV and film is at the top of the list of things that have helped keep the nation’s spirits up over the past year, with 44 percent saying that TV and film have been so important because it allows an escape from the stresses of the day.*

New research commissioned by Sky reveals that over the last 12 months, whilst keeping their minds off the serious topics of COVID-19 or Brexit, 44 percent of Brits admit they like to discuss TV and movies they have recently seen, whilst the lives of their children (35 percent) and pets (29 percent) emerged as other things Brits love to natter to colleagues, friends, family, and strangers about.  

Chit chat is more important than ever, with 89 percent saying small talk is important in making people feel connected and part of the community and the new research reveals the UK usually spends an hour a day on average shooting the breeze with everyone from shopkeepers (59 percent) to colleagues (40 percent) and delivery drivers (40 percent).  

In the last year, Brits have most enjoyed talking about the telly, with 41 percent saying chatting about the lives and storylines of their favourite characters has helped them through a tough time. 31 percent said they have enjoyed gossiping about the latest boxsets and series. In fact, on average Brits spend 2.5 hours a month discussing TV plot twists and 3 hours a month chatting about unexpected endings. The research also revealed 3 hours a month will be spent ranting about TV baddies while a further 3 hours will be spent discussing moments which made viewers laugh or cry. 55 percent of Brits even admit they watch TV shows simply to avoid FOMO on everyone else’s conversation.

Over a third of people said that they were looking forward to discovering new TV shows and films in 2021 and Sky will be bolstering its catalogue of choice with its biggest ever line-up of TV and films this year. More than 125 original series, films and specials will air in 2021 – a 50% increase from last year – with a big boost in original films and documentaries.  

Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content, Sky UK and Ireland, commented: “As a nation Brits have earned a reputation for our chit chat being focused on the weather, but our research reveals that the last year has seen TV taking over the top spot in the nation’s small talk. Clearly during such a tough period, unmissable TV and films have played a big part in bringing friends, family and colleagues together. And now, during a time where we’re still spending a lot of time at home, we are pleased to be bringing more top Sky quality TV and film content to the UK such as To Olivia, The Nevers, Landscapers and ZeroZeroZero that are sure to provide some much-needed escapism. No need to ever talk about the rain again!

A staggering 79 percent have watched more TV in the last year, and 30 percent of those say it's because there's been better content to watch. 2021 sees Sky bringing a raft of unmissable TV and film content to the UK’s screens including new original films A Boy Called Christmas, the live action adaptation of Matt Haig’s best-selling novel and Save The Cinema, a British film based on true events, starring Samantha Morton and Tom Felton. As well as brand new Sky Original prison break drama, Intergalactic, a documentary covering the highs and lows of one of boxing’s most fondly remembered rivalries in Bruno v Tyson, and the return of much-loved smash-hit Sky comedy, Brassic – now in its third season which is great for the 28 per cent of people who were most looking forward to a new season of their favourite show this year.  

The types of TV moments the nation like to talk about varies across the nation with Mancunians favouring unexpected endings (58 percent) and Glasgow can’t enough of cliffhangers (57 percent). Brits are also getting excited as a nation about what types of TV they will be able to talk about this year with Brummies desperate to talk about drama based on real life such as Landscapers (38 percent), which explores the lives of convicted killers Susan and Christopher Edwards, whereas Nottingham residents are keen to get into documentaries such as Bruno vs Tyson (36 percent), which covers the highs and lows of one of boxing’s most fondly remembered rivalries.      

However, there are some topics that are off limits when it comes to passing the time of day with strangers, discussing your sex life emerged as top, with 61 percent). How much you earn (52 percent), religion (46 percent), a messy break-up or relationship problems (44 percent) and politics (36 percent) also emerged as topics to avoid. 25 percent of Brits described their small talk skills as “excellent” with just four percent of the 1,500 respondents polled saying they avoid it at all costs.  And according to the survey, almost eight in ten Brits agree that women are better at small talk than men.  

With incredible new original TV series, the best in gripping homegrown and international drama and brilliant films coming directly to your living room, start your year of unmissable TV with Sky.

For further information, please contact:  
Sky at Fever

*additional statistics from Opinion Matters survey for Sky of 2,000 UK adults

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