Revealed: Scots’ love of children’s and religious TV

Favourite: Nina and the Neurons. Picture: Gareth Easton
Favourite: Nina and the Neurons. Picture: Gareth Easton
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TURN off Rebus and switch over to Nina and the Neurons. Scottish television may have gained a reputation for gritty dramas and dark comedy, but those in charge of the remote control would rather tune into children’s programmes, a new report has revealed.

The survey by TV Licensing found that Scots adults spend an average of six hours a week watching kids TV, more than anywhere else in the UK.

And the older we get, the more we seem to prefer programmes aimed at younger viewers, with 80 per cent of over-65s saying watching kids shows makes them happy.

Yet despite our apparent taste for CBeebies favourites Woolly and Tig, with its cheerful Scottish Spider, or Me Too and its much-loved Granny Murray character, the report also revealed a more spiritual side to our TV watching habits.

Topping the list of Scotland’s “Telehappiness” index are programmes about religion or ethics with 100 per cent of those polled agreeing such programmes make them happy. That compares with the Welsh who mainly find happiness watching sport, or the east of England where soaps and drama top the happy viewing charts.

The report found that viewing tastes differ significantly across the UK. While people in the south-west of England devote more than six hours a week to news and current affairs shows, north of the Border we watch just 4.7 hours of such programmes, not much more than we spend watching comedy.

Music shows are particularly popular in Scotland according to the survey, which found more Scots tune in to such programmes during the week compared to viewers elsewhere in the UK. The TeleScope 2013 study also revealed changes in the way we are watching TV and our use of technology.

Although the average amount of time spent watching TV has risen from just over 3.5 hours a day in 2006 to more than four hours today, the average number of TV sets per household has fallen over the last decade (down to an average of 1.83 sets compared with an average of 2.3 in 2003), as we view programmes on a wider range of devices such as mobiles or tablets. However, we still like to hold on to our older technology too, with a third of households still retaining VCRs, despite almost half of homes now having digital video recording facilities.

Pipa Doubtfire, head of revenue management BBC TV Licensing said: “TeleScope 2013 looks at our emotional connections to the programmes we love, how our favourite TV programmes make us happy and our love of TV. In the three years we’ve been producing the report we’ve witnessed remarkable changes in the way viewers consider their favourite TV programmes.”

But experts warned that while programmes such as comedy and entertainment shows can lift our mood, too much TV watching brings “challenges for our wellbeing”.

Dr Mark Williamson, director of Action For Happiness, said: “We could all benefit from more programmes that not only boost our own Telehappiness, but also help us to see the good in the world and inspire us to contribute to it.”