Every country has a series of sterotypes and cliches associated with them, so today I’ll dissect a few surrounding the UK. Let’s dive into the land of James Bond, Shakespeare and good comedy-
- Cliche: All British people live in London
Truth: The majority of British people live all around the country. Yes, London is the biggest city in the country and is the capital city, but out of the UK’s population of roughly 65 million, only about 8 million reside in London. While that’s larger than any other city in the country by far, the fact is that London is not the only place in the UK where people live.
When the UK is shown in film, it usually has London first and foremost and pictures London as the only interesting or populated place in the country. The rest of the country either doesn’t exist or is a giant field full of quaint villages with Stonehenge in the middle.
In reality, the majority of people live in large cities with plenty of towns and suburbs surrounding them. Other major cities in the country include Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bristol, Belfast, Portsmouth and Southampton, which is the major city I’m closest too (I live in Chandler’s Ford, a place so unknown and dull barely anyone who lives in the country has heard of it, let alone people from abroad).
- Cliche: Everyone loves tea and eats in pubs
Truth: Well, I don’t and I’m British. Though tea is a phenomenon here, not absolutely everyone is drinking tea 24/7. Other beverages do exist here, such as water, coffee and Coke.
Pubs, like tea, are very prominent, but restaurants and fast food chains are just as common. Pubs are for sitting down, eating an expensive meal and talking for a long time. A seriously long time. Most food in the UK is multi-cultural- my favourite foods come from Italy and Japan. I also adore Swedish meatballs. The British foods such as fish and chips are very commonplace and that cliche is true (though I personally prefer chicken nuggets).
- Cliche: It rains all the time
Truth: Yeah, this is true. We actually have many words for rain. There’s drizzling, spitting, pouring, raining cats and dogs and pelting. To be perfectly honest the weather isn’t just rain, however it is very inconsistent. One second it’s pouring with rain, the next second it’s bright and sunny. When the weather is good, it is superb, but the constant rain is true.
On the plus side, recently the weather has behaved, so hopefully we won’t get another downpour anytime soon.
- Cliche: Everyone speaks like Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch or the Queen
To most people, the English accent is the one used by the Queen or high calibre actors, which has led to the assumption that everyone in the UK is posh. While the accent used by the Queen is very common down here in the South (it’s called Received Pronunciation) the country is very diverse in the dialects. Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish accents are very different in their own right, with different dialects of their own. In England there’s the Cockney accent, the West Country accent, the Yorkshire accent and the Scouse accent to name a few. Practically every county has a different dialect.
The reason Received Pronunciation is the most well known dialect is because whenever a British person appears in Hollywood, they usually use Received Pronunciation. Most villains of course have RP as most villains are British, including Loki, Magneto and Count Dooku. It makes them sound sophisticated and charming, so their evil deeds are intensified.
So those were four British cliches explained. There are a lot more I’m sure but these are four that seem to be the most common. Hopefully I have debunked several cliches surrounding the UK.