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Personality Traits

This is what your favourite TV series means for your personality

In the past year, we have spent more time than ever watching TV. In fact, 40%  of our waking hours was spent catching up on popular programmes during the height of 2020.

With that in mind, tombola are digging deep into what that means about us. Working alongside psychologists, tombola can reveal what our favourite shows could reveal about our personalities…

Brits spend a sixth of the year watching TV

First things first, we are a nation that loves TV. So much so that a new survey found that Britons clock up 112 hours  per month watching the TV, or 56 days of the year!

In fact, TV is so popular that over 13.8 million  of us (or a fifth of the UK’s population) tuned into the twentieth series of I’m a Celebrity, highlighting just how important the ‘box’ is for us as a nation. So, it’s little surprise that we can tell a lot about people from the shows they watch.

Personality Traits

Soap fans are the happiest but they like their schedules

Contrary to recent storylines in the UK’s favourite soaps, it turns out that people who watch this genre of TV are the happiest. Dennis Relojo-Howell, Founder of Psychreg, said: “Soaps tend to mirror the complexities and dramas of life. People who have happy dispositions are likely to be drawn to this genre.”

However, while soaps are said to mirror real life, it might be that fans are trying to escape theirs. Michael Padraig Acton, a Psychological Therapist, says: “Soaps appeal to people who are empathic and interested in relationships. They also like the familiarity of the weekly schedule and the chance to escape from real life.”

With a quarter of the UK’s population (25%) watching soaps regularly, it seems we are a nation of happy and scheduled TV fans. But that’s not all…

Recommended programmes for the personality types: Coronation Street and EastEnders

If you’ve been watching Line of Duty, you’re incredibly perceptive and detective material

Over 12.8 million Brits tuned into the Line of Duty series six finale, suggesting we are a nation of amateur sleuths. But it turns out that those that regularly watch crime dramas are considered incredibly perceptive - an ideal trait for those wanting to solve crime on a daily basis.

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

Michael has a slightly different viewpoint, saying that “Big crime drama fans are likely to score high on the Neuroticism dimension 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.”

So, who’s signing up to AC-12?

Recommended programmes for the personality types: Mindhunter, Sherlock 

It’s good news for Reality TV fans, you're the friendliest TV fans but like to be the centre of attention

4 in 10 (39%) Brits watch some form of reality TV - whether that’s watching celebrities eat bugs or watching beautiful strangers find love in a Spanish villa. But did you know that those that watch reality TV are considered to be friendly and sociable?

Dennis Relojo-Howell states: “Reality TV is an intriguing hybrid of dramatisation and real life. For this reason, they tend to attract viewers who have gregarious personalities.” Reality TV also provides a window into watching social interactions that we might not usually see, which can also help aid our social skills.

Michael Padraig Acton, however, goes on to say: “There is a lot of variety in reality TV and some shows (e.g. Keeping Up With The Kardashians) attract people who are more individualistic in outlook and love to be the centre of attention. They may score high on the Extraversion dimension and are likely to be the life and soul of the party.”

Recommended programmes for the personality types: The Great British Bake Off, Love Island 

Fans of The Crown are the most fashionable and cultural but love their traditions

The Crown, once voted the most popular series on Netflix , has paved the way for other royal dramas. And it’s good news for those that watch the show, as you have what is considered to be a fashionable personality.

Dennis says: “Royal dramas are bursting with different ways of thinking, making and doing. They showcase history, art, and culture. For this reason, they tend to attract viewers who consider themselves to be fashionable.”

Michael also states: “Royal dramas appeal to people with similar personality traits to those mentioned for soaps but especially to those with an attraction to heroism and tradition. They may be nostalgic and have a love of fairy tales, perhaps harbouring dreams of wealth and influence.”

Recommended programmes for the personality types: The Crown, The Royal House of Windsor  

Documentary fans have relaxed personalities but like to be seen as knowledgeable

It turns out that those that regularly watch documentaries are more relaxed than those that don’t.

“This genre of non-fiction that aims to inform viewers about a real-life topic, person, event, or issue is particularly interesting to people who have relaxed personalities. People who watch documentaries tend to pay a particular interest to politics and current events”, according to Dennis Relojo-Howell, Founder of Psychreg.

Michael also states that “People who enjoy documentaries may also be interested in people but in a collective way rather than individualistic. They often like to explore topics in depth and to be seen as knowledgeable. Of the Big 5 personality dimensions, they might score high in Conscientiousness and also Openness.”

Recommended programmes for the personality types: Explained, My Octopus Teacher  

Those that are fans of horror shows are empathic

Horror fans, rejoice - you are reported to have empathic personalities. Dennis goes on to say: “The utilisation of subliminal images in horror films isn't simply to make you buy something, but to feel something you're not normally accustomed to: fear itself. People who are interested in horror films are likely to be empathic.”

Recommended programmes for the personality types: The Haunting of Bly Manor, Kingdom  

If you are a fan of thrillers, you're an extrovert and adventurous

Fans of thriller TV and film series are some of the most extroverted and adventurous people there are, according to Dennis.

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

Recommended programmes for the personality types: Behind Her Eyes, Bodyguard

While certainly not everyone who watches the above genres fit into the assigned personality traits, it’s certainly fun looking at what your favourite TV series could reveal about your personality.

To dig even deeper, tombola also spoke to Inbaal Honigman, Astrologer and Mystic, to reveal which TV genres are best suited to star signs.

Soaps: Mild-mannered Librans enjoy a routine. The villain is the villain, the heartthrob is always the same, and maybe once a year, they tolerate a twist. Soaps allow them a bit of escapism, without stepping too far out of their comfort zone. 

Crime Dramas: Perceptive Aquarians have a brain like no other. They love watching a crime drama because they empathise with the victim. They see the criminal's perspective and can solve the whole thing before teatime. 

Reality TV: Proud and extroverted, those born under the sign of Leo love being the centre of attention, and watch reality shows for a bit of inspo - a how-to-do-life and a peek into the life of the wealthy and infamous. 

Royal Dramas: Traditional Taureans love the idea of establishment and wealth. A life of luxury is what they hope for, so they let themselves get swept away by the glamour of watching royalty do their thing.

Documentaries: Viewers born at the time of Virgo just love knowing facts. Subject unimportant - what matters to them is enriching themselves. Learning, growing and making informed decisions is a big part of their personality. 

Horror: Ghouls and witches, mummies and vampires are ideal for Scorpios. They're empathic but resilient, and so watching horror allows them to enjoy an emotional 'hit', but still get a good night's sleep after. 

Thriller: Sassy Sagittarians like lots of stimulation, visually and mentally. The overload of sounds, visions and information of a thriller, interspersed with the odd car chase, makes them feel fully alive, and they love it.

If you are interested in reading more about our research on TV, you can find out which soap is the luckiest for love and even which soap stars have made it onto the silver screen