Cardiff Is the Soap Opera Capital of the UK, People From Sheffield Love a Game Show and Folk From Cambridge Are Most Partial to a Gripping Documentary

A new survey of 2,000 British telly lovers has revealed a TV genre map of the UK, with Cardiff emerging as the soap opera capital, where almost half (41 percent) of residents claim that long-standing British shows such as Corrie and EastEnders are STILL their favourite thing to watch. 

The comedy capital of the nation, Edinburgh, is perhaps unsurprisingly home to the highest number of people who enjoy watching stand up comedy (57 percent), while Plymouth residents are the biggest fans of a gripping drama series (76 percent).

According to the study, those living in Cambridge love a documentary (66 percent), people from Sheffield are the biggest game show fans (46 percent), while Londoners top the list for tuning into reality TV shows (35 percent). 

People from Leicester admit they are most inclined to unwind with cookery programmes (46 percent).

Glasgow was revealed as the true crime TV hub, with more than half (55 percent) of Glaswegian wannabe detectives admitting they enjoy watching real life crime played out on TV, while residents of Leeds are the most likely to voice their love of watching sport (39 percent). 

Mancunians are most likely to enjoy watching home improvement programmes (24 percent), those from Newcastle prefer shows the whole family can enjoy together (36 percent) and Bristolians are most likely to tune in to travel programmes (40 percent).

Overall, the study, by Virgin Media British Academy TV Awards, found Geordies are the nation’s biggest TV lovers – clocking up 22 hours of telly viewing time a week, compared to a national average of 19 hours weekly.

Overall, drama is the nation’s number one TV genre, with 62 percent saying they cannot resist a gripping TV show that they can binge watch and immediately chat about with other fans.

The deep dive into the nation’s watching habits, commissioned by Virgin Media to mark the last week of voting for the Must-See Moment Award at the Virgin Media BAFTAs, found that 39 percent of Britons think the way we watch television has changed dramatically in recent years, with more of us joining conversations about our favourite shows online. 

The research found that social media is playing an increasing role in how we watch TV, with one in five Brits (22 percent) admitting they’re now more likely to discuss shows on social media or by instant messaging with others instead of in person.

Three in ten Britons (29 percent) now “double screen”, watching TV while also going on social media to read or post about what they’re watching, while a third confess they’ve previously tuned in to a show purely because they saw it trending on social media and wanted to know more.

The overlap between TV and social media can be found in memes, with nearly a third (31 percent) of Brits stating they are more likely to watch a show if they’ve seen a meme about it on social media – such as the smug detective Patricia Carmichael on Line of Duty.

A quarter of Brits (26 percent) even admit to sharing memes of a big TV moment in a show they have never watched before, with WhatsApp being the top online destination to connect with others over must-see TV moments (37 percent), closely followed by Facebook (30 percent), Instagram (16 percent) and Snapchat (15 percent).

The survey found that funny TV moments are the most favoured (53 percent) type of meme to post. In fact, over half (55 percent) agreed that memes are really fun to share, and 34 percent admit they love them. Four in ten also say they enjoy watching TV just so they can laugh about these jokes with family and friends. 

And as the research indicates that 18 percent of Brits think TV today is more about memorable moments instead of long scenes, it’s also revealed that almost a quarter (23 percent) have found themselves crying with laughter about TV shows on their social media channels.

David Bouchier at Virgin Media, who conducted the research said: “It’s no surprise that 40 percent of the nation believe their viewing habits have changed over the last year. 

Whether watching to stay informed or entertained, TV kept us all connected and it’s fantastic to see that our nominees for this year’s Virgin Media Must-See Moment award have fired up the fans’ interest, driving online conversations about the TV moments that gripped us all. As the only award at the Virgin Media BAFTAs, which is voted for by the public, we can’t wait to see who will be crowned the winner.”

Members of the British public can vote for their favourite Virgin Media Must-See Moment online at and Virgin Media customers can also vote through their television, via their TiVo®, V6 or Virgin TV 360 box. The deadline for voting ends on Monday 24th May at 5pm.The winner will be announced during the Virgin Media BAFTAs on 6th June 2021, hosted by Richard Ayoade.

TV Viewing Across the UK by Genre

  • SOAP OPERA: CARDIFF      41%
  • DRAMA: PLYMOUTH      76%
  • REALITY TV: LONDON      35%
  • TRAVEL: BRISTOL      40%
  • SPORT: LEEDS      39%

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