Almost half of British TV fans are bluffers, according to a new survey, pretending that they have seen a show when they haven’t.
42 per cent of Brits polled by the RadioTimes said they had lied so that they appeared to have seen a TV series despite never watching an episode.
Breaking Bad is the show most people lied about watching. Vince Gilligan’s dark drama – which stars Bryan Cranston as chemistry teacher Walter White, who turns to meth-dealing to pay medical bills, with the help of student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) – has been hugely popular in the UK, thanks to its release on Netflix, which encouraged word of mouth to spread across the country’s proverbial water coolers.
Social media also provides a virtual water cooler for discussion, which adds to the pressure to join in the conversation. On Facebook, Game of Thrones was the most talked about show in 2014, so it is no surprise to see HBO’s fantasy epic (which returns to Sky Atlantic this spring) is the second most lied-about series.
The widespread popularity of Sherlock and Doctor Who put the two BBC shows in third and fourth place, with Lost (recently added to Amazon Prime Instant Video) completing the top five.
Do people pretend to have seen older shows because they do not have the time to catch up amid the rush of new programmes? The presence of The Sopranos in seventh spot, just below Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, suggests that may be the case. While Mad Men and Modern Family highlight the number of people who pretend to see shows broadcast on Sky without having to stump up the cost of subscription – highlighting the importance of cord-cutter service NOW TV to Sky – House of Cards creeps in at number 10, emphasising just how much the VOD service has come to define which TV series are the focal point of conversations among viewers.
So next time you chat to someone about Frank Underwood’s latest double-cross, be sure to look them eye as you do it: they might not be telling the truth.
The top 10 TV bluffs:
1. Breaking Bad (13.21%)
2. Game of Thrones (11.74%)
3. Sherlock (6.74%)
4. Doctor Who (6.54%)
5. Lost (5.47%)
6. Orange Is the New Black (5.2%)
7. The Sopranos (4.07%)
8. Mad Men (3.87%)
9. Modern Family (3.27%)
10. House of Cards (3.14%)