The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE), Jeremy Kyle and The Great British Bake Off are the top TV shows we love but never admit to watching according to new report from TalkTalk. The TV report and corresponding TV Tribe calculator were created to mark the launch of TalkTalk’s Essentials TV, broadband and calls package.

Millions of Brits are secretly tuning into guilty pleasure TV shows for a bit of escapism but rarely own up to it. They insist they are avid viewers of programmes deemed more high-brow such as Newsnight and documentaries. In truth it is the antics of the TOWIE cast that have viewers hooked, closely followed by the conflict and emotional drama of our British version of Jerry Springer, Jeremy Kyle.

The report also revealed that one in seven pastry-loving men secretly get their fill of baking delights each week but avoid talking about it in public, as Great British Bake Off emerged as a surprise entry to the third spot on the list. According to the report white van men harbour the biggest flame for baking goddess Mary Berry but keep tight lipped about it in front of their friends.  Glee is the unexpected favourite of bankers, insurers and accountants with 19 per cent of them admitting to tuning in regularly in search of light relief from the stresses of the city. Hairdressers are most likely to live out their twinkle-toed dreams of fame through a bit of Strictly Come Dancing.

The research forms part of TalkTalk's TV Tribes Report which, produced in collaboration with Dr Helen Wheatley of the University of Warwick, quizzed over 3,000 viewers about their TV habits. As well as uncovering secret viewers, the report identifies the main TV tribes into which the nation’s TV viewing habits can be classified (see infographic). To take the quiz to find out what TV tribe you belong to go to:

Tristia Harrison of TalkTalk said: "Whether it’s gathering the family together to watch your favourite programme, or tuning into your guilty pleasure to escape from the outside world, it’s clear to see that TV is at the heart of British homes. It’d be boring if we all like the same shows; the key is finding TV that complements your viewing style and watching it your way.”

The report found that the average TV viewer clocks up over 25 hours of television in an average week - more than 1,266 hours a year which may explain why over a third said they love nothing more than a night in front of the box. The study also saw Downton Abbey voted the most popular programme in recent times by the average British viewer.

Dr Helen Wheatley of the University of Warwick said: “This report shows the versatility of TV as a medium. The research shows that people continue to turn to television for entertainment, to learn new things, to become absorbed in the twisting plot lines of a television drama, but also to indulge in ‘guilty pleasures’. It is clear that whilst viewers simultaneously find a wide range of programmes fascinating and compelling, they also worry about what their viewing habits say about them."

TalkTalk’s Essentials TV package provides YouView TV, totally unlimited broadband, and evening and weekend calls for £7.50 a month, plus line rental. It is Britain’s lowest price for TV, broadband and calls and offers savings of up to £190 in comparison to BT’s equivalent package over an 18 month period.


1.     The Only Way is Essex
2.     Jeremy Kyle
3.     The Great British Bake Off
4.     Glee
5.     Britain and Ireland's next top model
6.     Big Brother
7.     Keeping up with Kardashians
8.     Hollyoaks
9.     Strictly Come Dancing
10.  Storage Wars