What does your favourite TV show really say about you?

·5-min read

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The average Brit clocks up around 112 hours per month watching TV - that's a sixth of the entire year spent parked on the sofa. What's more, successive lockdowns are bound to have made us bigger telly addicts than ever before. But what does our favourite choice of programme really reveal about us? 

Bingo site and frequent TV sponsors Tombola have enlisted the help of psychologists to give the low down on what your favourite TV genre says about your temperament...

Royal dramas: The Crown

Fans of Royal Drama such as The Crown (pictured) are often attracted to heroism and traditionalism (Image: Netflix)
Fans of Royal Drama such as The Crown (pictured) are often attracted to heroism and traditionalism (Image: Netflix)

With fabulous costumes, incredible acting impressions and a clever interweaving of history and fiction, royal dramas such as The Crown are almost more exciting than the real-life royal dramas unfolding every day. But what does loving The Royal House of Windsor really say about you? 

"Royal dramas appeal to those with an attraction to heroism and tradition," added Michael Padraig Acton, a psychological therapist. "They may be nostalgic and have a love of fairy tales, perhaps harbouring dreams of wealth and influence." 

Soaps: Eastenders

Soap-lovers are empathetic, but they need routine (Image, BBC)
Soap-lovers are empathetic, but they need routine (Image, BBC)

While life on Albert Square is famously miserable, it turns out that if you're a soap fan you're probably a pretty kind and chipper personality. Which is lucky, given that 25 per cent of us watch a soap regularly. Nevertheless, woe betide anyone who tries to disrupt your routine...

“Soaps appeal to people who are empathic and interested in relationships," says Padraig Action. "They also like the familiarity of the weekly schedule and the chance to escape from real life.”

Reality TV: Love Island

Pictured: Sharon Gaffka, Hugo Hammond, Chloe Burrows, Shannon Singh, Kaz Kamwi, Brad McClelland, Faye Winter, Aaron Francis, Toby Aromolaran, Liberty Poole and Jake Cornish. (ITV)
Watchers of reality shows such as Love Island are friendly people (Image: ITV)

Four in ten of us turn to reality TV when we want to escape from our own reality - whether that's watching boys and girls grafting in the Love Island villa or biting our nails at the Great British Bake Off finale. 

But if you've ever felt just a teeny bit ashamed of your reality TV addiction, rest assured that it means you're a friendly and sociable sort. 

“Reality TV is an intriguing hybrid of dramatisation and real life," says Dennis Relojo-Howell, founder of psychology magazine psychreg.org. "For this reason, they tend to attract viewers who have gregarious personalities.” 

“There is a lot of variety in reality TV and some shows, like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, attract people who are more individualistic in outlook and love to be the centre of attention," says Padraig Acton. "They are likely to be the life and soul of the party.” 

There you have it - staying in means you're good at going out. Win! 

Crime series: Line of Duty

If you're hooked on crime drama you might be a perceptive sort (Image: BBC)
If you're hooked on crime drama you might be a perceptive sort (Image: BBC)

Do you feel as if you spend more time in the AC12 offices or 221B Baker Street than you do in your own home? 

Well it's good news for all you amateur sleuths, because fans of detective dramas such as Line of Duty and Sherlock are supposedly incredibly perceptive. 

“One of the strong points of crime drama lies in its ability to inform, or misinform, our perceptions about crime reality within the lens of critical social consideration," says Relojo-Howell. "People with perceptive personalities are drawn to this genre because it gives them the chance to explore the nuances of human behaviour.”

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Unfortunately, you might also be a little bit neurotic - but don't let that worry you. 

“Big crime drama fans are likely to score high on the Neuroticism dimension," says Michael Padraig Acton, "But that is not a bad thing because they are choosing, unconsciously, to offload their tension in a healthy way. By projecting their own inner stress on the unfolding drama, they can detach, relax and achieve emotional release when the crime is solved.” 

Now we're sucking diesel! 

Horror shows: Dracula

A new Dracula reimagining is landing on the BBC and Netflix. (BBC/Hartswood Films/Netflix/Robert Viglasky)
If you got your teeth stuck into Dracula you're probably empathetic (Image: BBC)

Perhaps surprisingly, being obsessed with horror doesn't make you scary, or grumpy - it actually means you're likely to be very empathetic. 

“Horror films make you feel something you're not normally accustomed to - fear itself," says Relojo-Howell. "People who are interested in horror films are likely to be empathic.”

Documentaries: Planet Earth

Documentary fans like to kick back and watch a show such as Planet Earth (Image: BBC)
Documentary fans like to kick back and watch a show such as Planet Earth (Image: BBC)

Documentary lovers are not only better informed than the rest of us, they're also more relaxed. 

“This genre is particularly interesting to people who have relaxed personalities," says Relojo-Howell. "People who watch documentaries tend to pay a particular interest to politics and current events.”

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“People who enjoy documentaries may also be interested in people but in a collective way, rather than individualistically," adds Michael Padraig Acton. "They often like to explore topics in depth and to be seen as knowledgeable. 

"Of the Big Five personality dimensions, they might score high in Conscientiousness and also Openness.”

Thrillers: Behind Her Eyes

If you love a thriller, you may well be an extrovert, and very adventurous. 

“In a thriller genre, the threat of death or capture is ever-present, and clever plot twists usually complicate the matter," says Relojo-Howell. "That's why people who have adventurous personalities tend to appreciate thriller films and TV series."

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