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What makes Britain Britain?

I’m trying to persuade my mum to be a British citizen because her Malaysian passport bans her from visiting Israel. First of all, I’ve read about Israel and it sounds like a cool country that I want to visit (I would like to visit as many countries as I can) and secondly, being British is awesome too.

I’ve got a list of things that makes Britain Britain. Hopefully it will persuade my mum to be British so we can add another country (i.e. Israel) to my “holiday destination” list.

So, the British list:

  •  TEA! Tea is awesome AND it’s the favourite British drink. OK, I know it’s from India but tea is now a symbolism of Britain. You can recognise a Brit in a cafe by seeing him drink tea and eat scones (which ARE British). Scones with jam and cream (more British things) are called cream tea.
  • TV: First of all, TV’s from Britain. Secondly, Britain have got famous programs which are known throughout the world like Mr Bean and DOCTOR WHO. Britain is also famous for comedy like Monty Python and Blackadder. British soap operas (yeuk) are also famous like Eastenders (I hate you Carl) and Coronation Street (Well I hate you Steve). Game shows like Who wants to be a millionaire (me) and Britain’s Got Talent (Mr Cowell: You suck) are also famous (there’s America’s Got Talent, China’s got  Talent, Vatican’s got Talent… that’s silly).
  • Documentaries: Of corse documentaries aren’t British but a British person has made the world learn about the natural world. And who is that guy? SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH OF COURSE! He even founded BBC 2 (BBC’s British too. It’s got Britain in the name!)
  • Red in general: Telephone boxes, London buses, the Queen’s guards- all of these things are red. The telephone box, although almost extinct, is remembered as a truly British symbol, so is the London bus. The Queen’s guards are remembered for their SILLY hats. When I went to London I saw some guards and tourists from everywhere were taking pictures and having their photos taken with the guards. In fact, the whole of London such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the London Eyes are remembered by tourists for being British. (You can tell those are London’s icons as they are the ones blown up by aliens in the movies).
  • Books: Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Rowling… all famous British writers with famous British books. Hamlet, Oliver (the book, not the musical) Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter to name a few. Not to forget Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond (I want it shaken, not stirred. With a straw).
  • Weather: The, I mean, THE British thing which tourists remember. Even Horrible Histories makes fun of it (watch Horrible Histories on my Monarch 101. One of them makes fun of the weather). Rain, sunshine, hail, sleet, it’s all British. In geographic terms, Britain is one of the most weather-variable countries.

So, do you think this list is British enough? Is it enough to persuade my mum to be British?

What about your own country? Wherever you are from, can you think of anything that makes your country stand out from other countries?

Polar Bear: Wait, have we started filming?

Polar Bear: Wait, have we started filming? Image from Mirror

Make sure it's one of those curly-wurly straws or I'll shoot you!

Make sure it’s one of those curly-wurly straws or I’ll shoot you!

No, seriously I HATE you Carl!

No, seriously I HATE you Carl! (Image from

Am I British enough? (


About Ben Williams

I'm 16 years old. I like animals, lasagne, comic books, films, role-playing games and Doctor Who. I write cool stuff - Doctor Who, science fiction, film reviews, and quirks about Britain. I have a blue-tongued skink called Georgy and a cat called Billy.

12 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on Janet's Notebook and commented:
    My 12-year-old-son is very proud of being British, and he has been trying to convince me to become a British citizen. In his language, he thinks Britain is ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’. You may like to read his arguments.

  2. British beer is also the best. And we “invented” parrliament – well, I think it evolved rather than being invented. And the industrial revolution started here. And we are possibly the only coultry that is “bilingual” in measurements – we price fuel in litres, but drive in miles; we buy a pound of jam but it is marked as 454g. And we used to have a sixpence that was worth 2.5p

    ps not sure David Attenborough founded BBC2, but he was certainly in charge of it for a while

    • The founding of Parliament happened after Magna Carta when the barons forced Henry III to give them power.

      I’m also pretty sure that David Attenborough DID help create BBC2

  3. oh, and I think you should have pointed out that iced tea doesn’t count – it’s just wrong

  4. Ruby, I agree with you. A while ago I chanced upon this article, which pointed out that Britain is an iced tea free zone.

    It’s interesting as I used to drink iced tea, and you can still buy them in any Chinese or Japanese supermarkets here. My favourite iced tea are iced chrysanthemum tea and iced green tea. I normally buy some from the Japan centre in London whenever I’m in town.

  5. And Ben forgot to mention one of my favourite authors – Geoffrey Chaucer (I hope I spelled the name correctly), who wrote “The Canterbury Tales”. I don’t care if that was adult or children’s book (this was one of the favourite reference books of my teacher in English Literature from high school), I love it still because that was simply very entertaining and funny.

    So Janet, will you choose to be a British now? You will not lose your identity by being British citizen. You still belong to the yellow (Mongolian) race. I can be Chinese citizen and I still belong to the brown (Malay) race.

    Oh no. Please forget about what I said. I am delving too much on something that is very personal. I cannot influence your personal decision on a very personal thing. Whatever makes you happy that makes everyone else in the family happy is probably a good decision.

    • Whoops! I didn’t include Chaucer because I thought that he wasn’t known world wide- but know I do.

      I saw Chaucer’s tomb in Westminster Abbey (he’s very small!)

  6. There’s no arguing with your logic. Your mother should apply right now!

  7. And Downton Abbey is fabulous!

  8. Slightly off-topic to begin with: I haven’t visited Israel (as I was in the Oil Industry during the 70’s and 80’s and there was an unofficial ban on going there if you wanted an overseas posting) but I have looked over the Dead Sea from the Madaba Mountains on the Jordanian side of the border. I would strongly recommend a visit to Amman – fabulous Roman ruins just outside the city that had only been excavated 2 years before I visited. I agree with you though – it is a country that I would love to vist some day.
    Back on-topic: I loved your list of “British” things but I am not sure that I agree with you about TV coming from Britain. Even though John Logie Baird was the first person to successfully transmit moving silhouette images, his system was rubbish and it was the Americans Philo Farnsworth (first complete electronic television system called the Image Dissector) and Charles Jenkins (brodacast the first TV commercial) who really made it work.

    My list of things that make being British special would include our literary heritage (Dickens and Chaucer especially), Shakespeare as a complete stand-alone genius, The Royal Shakespeare Company, modern British theatre, the inventions that changed the way the world worked during the Industrial Revolution and our legal system which has been adopted all over the world. Coming more up to date, British music of the 60’s (Beatles, Rolling Stones etc), our tolerance and acceptance of other cultures and our freedom of the press are also things to be proud of.

    In my opinion, British things not to be proud of would include football hooliganism, lager louts, Liverpudlian comedians, Bruce Forsyth, All TV Reality shows and Scottish politicians. British beer is also overrated.

    In closing my usual snide comment: I agree that James Bond is very British – but I don’t think that the picture you chose was a mistake – Pierce Brosnan is Irish by birth and became an American citizen in 2004.

    I really enjoy reading your blog – keep up the good work.

  9. Then there isTim Berners-lee, without whom none of us would be reading your blog

  10. Pingback: My Site Table of Contents – I did it! | Janet's Notebook

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