Survey: TV replaces weather as main small talk

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Research commissioned by Sky reveals that the UK’s long-standing obsession with talking about the weather has now officially been usurped, with 72 per cent agreeing they now talk more about the TV than the weather.

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

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

In the last year, Brits have most enjoyed talking about the TV, with 41 per cent saying chatting about the lives and storylines of their favourite characters has helped them through a tough time. 31 per cent 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 bad guys while a further 3 hours will be spent discussing moments which made viewers laugh or cry. 55 per cent 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.

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.”

The types of TV moments the nation like to talk about varies across the nation with Mancunians favouring unexpected endings (58 per cent) and Glasgow can’t enough of cliffhangers (57 per cent). 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 per cent), 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 per cent), 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 per cent). How much you earn (52 per cent), religion (46 per cent), a messy break-up or relationship problems (44 per cent) and politics (36 per cent) also emerged as topics to avoid. 25 per cent of Brits described their small talk skills as “excellent” with just four per cent 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.


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