Wow! This is brilliant! Thank you for rating Mary Morstan your number one! That makes me very happy. I love Mary and I loved bringing her to life. She was a complicated, fun, dangerous, beautifully scrappy character to playAmanda Abbington
Date: 13.02.2018     Last updated: 13.02.2018 at 08.00
Category: BBC Worldwide
• TV viewers worldwide chose Mary Morstan as their favourite ever fictional British female TV character
• Amanda Abbington “wowed” by the accolade and international acclaim
• Sherlock’s Mrs Hudson proves to be the second most popular female character with Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennett in third place

In a remarkable turn of events, the award winning series Sherlock has produced the world’s favourite British leading ladies, as Mary Morstan and Mrs Hudson claim both first and second place in an international poll for the world’s most popular British female television character. 

BBC Worldwide commissioned the research ahead of its annual Showcase event, which in its 42nd year is the world’s largest single distributor TV sales market. 8,000 adults from across the US, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, China and India were asked to take part in the survey which identified the most popular British female TV character and the character’s most important attributes to them. 

The survey revealed the top three as:

  1. Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington) – Sherlock
  2. Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs) – Sherlock
  3. Elizabeth Bennett (Jennifer Ehle)– Pride and Prejudice.

This is the second time the series Sherlock from Hartwoods Films, which has sold to 240 countries, has topped a poll by BBC Worldwide, last year it was revealed in a separate survey that the iconic character Sherlock was voted the most popular television character by international audiences. 

The survey also revealed which of Mary’s traits were most appealing to viewers with a clear agreement across almost all territoires citing it was her intelligence and confidence. Overall for Mexico, Italy and the US, intelligence topped their preferences when it came to their main appeal for a female character, whereas for India and China it was confidence. British sense of humour and Britishiness were key features among the European countries, with Sweden also showing preference to the no-nonsense attitude of a female lead. 

Amanda Abbington commented, “Wow! This is brilliant! Thank you for rating Mary Morstan your number one! That makes me very happy. I love Mary and I loved bringing her to life. She was a complicated, fun, dangerous, beautifully scrappy character to play and though she is no more, Long Live Mary Morstan!” 

Paul Dempsey, President of Global Markets, BBC Worldwide, said: “To have the world’s top two female characters in the same show not only speaks to the huge global appeal of Sherlock but also demonstrates how audiences value confident, intelligent roles for women.” 

Looking at the results in more depth, they reveal that Mary Morstan appeared across all territories seven times in viewers’ top three choices, in turn clocking more hits then any other character. In China, she was the number one leading lady, with a whopping 42% of the total votes. 

Mrs Hudson followed closely, appearing five times across all voters’ top three characters, with both Italy and India giving her their number one position. 

Elizabeth Bennett has been gracing viewers’ screens the world over for more than twenty years, and she clearly holds a place in audiences’ hearts, appearing four times in their top three choices, with a third of voters in Mexico pushing Miss Elizabeth Bennett into the top spot. 

Although these three characters appealed quite unanimously to the majority of territories voting, for Sweden however, they did not feature at all. Sweden’s enjoyment for the British sense of humour ultimately led the voters’ decision with classic comic female characters Sybil Fawlty and Hyacinth Bouquet capturing their attention. 

Meanwhile in the US, Doctor Who fans had the final say and pushed series favourite Missy into prime position with over a fifth of the votes, elsewhere, she came in a close second for France.  

 

Please see below for a full list: 

Top Rating Favourite British Female TV Characters

  1. Mary Morstan – Sherlock
  2. Mrs Hudson – Sherlock
  3. Elzabeth Bennett – Pride and Prejudice
  4. Miss Marple –Miss Marple
  5. Missy – Doctor Who
  6. Sybil Fawlty –Fawlty Towers
  7. Violet Crawley Countess of Grantham – Downton Abbey
  8. Hyacinth Bouquet – Keeping of Appearances

 

-Ends-

 

For more information, please contact:

Kayley Rogers

Communications Officer, BBC Worldwide

kayley.rogers@bbc.com

 

NOTES TO EDITORS 

Images available at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zoll1e5do0d7dxc/AAD7_YaP4In5H2wmI7bZsKQHa?dl=0

Methodology and additional survey statistics 

The research was completed by Kantar TNS for BBC Worldwide which took a sample size of 8,000 adults across eight different countries: US, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, China and India.

US

Missy - Doctor Who

Elizabeth Bennett - Pride and Prejudice

Mary Morstan - Sherlock

Mexico

Elizabeth Bennett - Pride and Prejudice

Mrs Hudson - Sherlock

Mary Morstan - Sherlock

Germany

Miss Marple - Miss Marple

Mrs Hudson - Sherlock

Mary Morstan - Sherlock

France

Miss Marple - Miss Marple

Missy - Doctor Who

Mary Morstan - Sherlock

Italy

Mrs Hudson - Sherlock

Mary Morstan - Sherlock

Miss Marple - Miss Marple

Sweden

Sybil Fawlty - Fawlty Towers

Hyacinth Bouquet - Keeping up Appearances

Violet Crawley Countess of Grantham - Downton Abbey

China

Mary Morstan - Sherlock

Mrs Hudson - Sherlock

Elizabeth Bennett - Pride and Prejudice

India

Mrs Hudson - Sherlock

Elizabeth Bennett - Pride and Prejudice

Mary Morstan - Sherlock

About BBC Worldwide Showcase

  • BBC Worldwide sells programmes on behalf of the BBC and UK 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
  • 700 TV buyers, along with British TV executives, producers and financiers, attend BBC Worldwide Showcase which is in its 42nd year
  • Attended by A-list on and off screen talent and some of Britain’s most successful creatives in the TV industry, BBC Worldwide Showcase brings together an array of Britain’s top executives from the BBC and the independent production community
  • With 600 digi booths available at Showcase, buyers collectively screen over 3000 hours of content during the three days
  • There will be co-production forums, masterclasses with major talent and insight sessions on global trends at BBC Worldwide Showcase along with premieres covering drama, natural history, music, comedy, science, history, documentaries, formats and factual entertainment.

 

About BBC Worldwide

BBC Worldwide is a principal 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 2016/17 BBC Worldwide generated headline profits of £157.3m and headline sales of £1,059.9m and returned £210.5m to the BBC. 

For more detailed performance information please see our Annual Review webpage: bbcworldwide.com/annual-review/

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