Case Solved! Sherlock chosen as favourite ever BBC TV character around the world
I’m honoured to hear that my portrayal of Sherlock has been internationally recognised as viewers’ favourite BBC TV character. Who would have thought a high functioning sociopath could be so popular with people all over the world.Benedict Cumberbatch
• Benedict Cumberbatch “honoured” by the accolade and international acclaim
• More than a quarter of fans globally say Sherlock falling to his ‘death’ is the BBC’s most memorable scene
• Doctor Who proves to be the second most popular BBC character, with Luther in third place
The iconic character of Sherlock, from the hit TV series of the same name, has been voted the most popular television character from the BBC by international audiences.
The research was conducted in the lead up to BBC Worldwide Showcase (Sunday 19th February - Wednesday 22nd February), the world’s largest single distributor TV sales market, now in its 41st year, which takes place at the ACC in Liverpool. Over 7,000 people between the ages of 18-64 from Australia, France, USA, Germany, India, Japan and Mexico were asked to take part in the survey, which identified the most popular BBC TV character and most memorable scene from BBC television.
The survey reveals the top three as:
- Sherlock (29.7% of respondents)
- Doctor Who (17.6% of respondents)
- Luther (12.4% of respondents)
Sold internationally to 240 territories by BBC Worldwide, the thrilling and contemporary reimagining of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories from Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who) has won numerous awards and become a global phenomenon. For instance, when ‘The Abominable Bride’ launched in over 6,000 cinemas in Asia, it went on to outsell Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the day in both China and South Korea. Meanwhile, the official Sherlock Facebook page has now amassed over 6 million fans. The survey also revealed that the character of Sherlock had broad appeal across all age groups and was most widely backed by viewers in Mexico (50%), India (42%) and Germany (30%).
The survey also revealed that the British sense of humour was a key factor for audiences in Japan ranking Sherlock as the number one character, with more than a quarter (26%) of fans stating the humour was a reason to watch the show. Meanwhile, in Mexico, the British accent proved to be a turn-on with 34% of viewers giving it their seal of approval as one of their top reasons for crowing the sleuth their favourite BBC character.
Sherlock also received the top spot in the survey for the most memorable scene, with fans citing the moment where he fell to his ‘death’ as their favourite by some margin. The top three were:
- Sherlock falling to his ‘death’ (26.0% of respondents)
- ‘The Dead Parrot’ sketch by Monty Python (14.1% of respondents)
- The Doctor’s regeneration in Doctor Who (13.1% of respondents)
Overall, the top 10 memorable scenes list featured a mix of classic and contemporary BBC moments, from drama, comedy and natural history, highlighting the breadth and depth of programming that international audiences love. This was exemplified in the duel for best ‘period drama’ moment: perennial favourite, Mr Darcy (played by Colin Firth), emerging from the lake in Pride and Prejudice (12.5%), being narrowly beaten by the ballroom scene between Prince Andrei and Natasha in War and Peace (12.6%).
Paul Dempsey, President of Global Markets, BBC Worldwide, said: “This survey demonstrates the love and affection audiences have for our shows around the world and those defining TV moments that get viewers talking, wherever they are. With over 700 TV buyers from across the world attending our Showcase sales event next week, international demand for British TV is as strong as ever.”
Benedict Cumberbatch, commented: “I’m honoured to hear that my portrayal of Sherlock has been internationally recognised as viewers’ favourite BBC TV character. Who would have thought a high functioning sociopath could be so popular with people all over the world”
Please see below for full list:
Top Ten Favourite British BBC Characters
- Sherlock (29.7%)
- Doctor Who (17.6%)
- Luther (12.4%)
- Basil Fawlty (11.8%)
- The Stig (8.2%)
- Patsy Stone (8.1%)
- Edmund Blackadder (7.4%)
- Hyacinth Bucket (6.1%)
- Vicar of Dibley (5.8%)
- The Daleks (5.6%)
Top Ten Most Iconic BBC Moments
- Sherlock falling to his ‘death’ (26.0%)
- Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch (14.1%)
- The Doctor’s regeneration in Doctor Who (13.1%)
- The Ballroom scene with Prince Andrei and Natasha in War and Peace (12.6%)
- Mr Darcy emerging from the lake in Pride and Prejudice (12.5%)
- Basil Fawlty attacking his car in Fawlty Towers (11.5%)
- Sir David Attenborough and the Gorillas in Life on Earth (10.2%)
- David Brent dancing in The Office (9.5%)
- When the murderer comes from out of the bed in Luther (6.53%)
- Don’t tell him Pike in Dad’s Army (6.50%)
For more information, please contact:
Alexander Wood – Communications Officer, Global Markets
NOTES TO EDITORS
Selection of images available at - https://bbcw.box.com/s/86p2tr1mbkx4ywcn7hxul3025hd38zae.
Methodology and additional survey statistics
- The research was completed by Kantar TNS which took a sample size of 7,171 adults across 7 different countries: Australia, France, USA, Germany, India, Japan and Mexico.
- The series opener for Series 4 (The Six Thatchers) was the most watched programme in the UK over the festive period with 11.3m viewers surpassing, The Queen’s Speech and the New Year’s Eve Fireworks
- BBC Worldwide sells programmes on behalf of the BBC and independent producers
- BBC Worldwide is the biggest distributor of TV content outside of the US studios
- BBC Worldwide Showcase is the world’s largest international TV market to be hosted by a single distributor
- Over 700 of the world’s biggest TV buyers attend BBC Worldwide Showcase now in its 41st year
- With 600 digi booths available at Showcase, buyers collectively screen over 3000 hours of content during the three days
- There will be premier screenings at BBC Worldwide Showcase covering drama, natural history, music, comedy, science, history, documentaries, formats and factual entertainment
About BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Its vision is to build the BBC’s brands, audiences, commercial returns and reputation across the world. This is achieved through investing in, commercialising and showcasing content from the BBC around the world, in a way that is consistent with BBC standards and values. The business also champions British creativity globally.
In 2015/16 BBC Worldwide generated headline profits of £133.8m and headline sales of £1,029.4m and returned £222.2m to the BBC.
For more detailed performance information please see our Annual Review webpage: bbcworldwide.com/annual-review/
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