We no longer support this version of Internet Explorer. Please update your browser for a better experience of All4.com. For more information visit our FAQs

Section navigation

Britishness Survey Results

A crowd of people

To coincide with Make Bradford British, Channel 4 commissioned an Ipsos MORI Poll exploring what it means to be British. Here's a summary of what we found.

Most would probably fail the Life in the UK test

When asked just three sample citizenship questions, only 4% got all the questions right. Just under half got one answer correct, and 26% got two right. We found 38% of people didn't know the date St George's Day is celebrated on.

We look to history for national pride

More people (45%) are proud to be British due to the country's history than they are of the Royal Family (28%). In fact, more people cite the NHS (37%) and the armed forces (36%) as a source of pride than they do the Royals.

We're funny

A good sense of humour (45%) topped the poll when people were asked to name the best characteristics of British people are, followed by being friendly (34%) and tolerant to all sections of society (30%).

...but drunk

Half of those questioned thought that British people drink too much. Ignorance of other cultures (33%) and complaining too much (23%) were also cited. And a fifth of respondents thought the worst characteristic was being lazy.

Tea rules the waves

Tea topped the poll, not only as most people's favourite drink (38%) but also what they thought was the country's national drink (65%) - proving that we really are a nation of tea lovers.

Fish and chips

Most people enjoy roast beef and Yorkshire pudding as their favourite dish (33%) but think that fish and chips (41%) is the country's national dish. And while 15% enjoy a curry as their meal of choice, only 8% think it's the national dish.

It's speaking English, not the way you speak it, that counts

The majority of respondents (59%) said that not speaking English stops people from being fully British. But only 7% said an accent or way of speaking was a barrier, and 8% said dressing differently stopped people from being fully British. Just over a quarter of people said that being born outside the UK (26%) and not mixing with other groups (25%) were barriers.

We mix more across generations than backgrounds

Under half (41%) of those surveyed mix with people of different generations on a daily basis, while under a third mix with different ethnic backgrounds and sexualities (29% and 27% respectively). Just over a fifth of people (21%) mix with people of different ethnic backgrounds less than once a year - and slightly fewer (20%) mix with people of different sexuality.

What can you say?

More than half of people (54%) are sometimes confused about which words are acceptable to use describing people from ethnic minorities.

Britons don't want segregation, but feel immigration is too high

While the majority (70%) of people think there are too many immigrants in Britain, less than half (43%) want to live in an area where most people are from the same ethnic background as them.

SURVEY DETAILS: Ipsos MORI interviewed a nationally representative quota sample of 998 adults aged 15 and over across the Great Britain, interviews were conducted face-to-face between 27 Jan - 5 Feb 2012. Results have been weighted to the known GB adult population profile.