Tourists touching down at Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport, will be introduced to the idiosyncrasies and quirks of modern British life by national treasure Stephen Fry, in a new video guide which launches this week
Tourists touching down at Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport, will be introduced to the idiosyncrasies and quirks of modern British life by national treasure Stephen Fry, in a new video guide which launches this week.
With 75 million passengers travelling through Heathrow each year, much loved actor, writer, comedian, presenter and director, Stephen Fry, renowned for classic TV shows including QI, Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, has teamed up with BAFTA award-winning scriptwriter Graham Linehan to create ‘Stephen Fry’s Guide to the UK,’ a tongue-in-cheek video guide for the airport, giving visitors tips and tricks on handling etiquette in the UK.
The short film was created in response to a desire from arriving passengers to get a sense, from the moment they touchdown at the airport, of the UK’s culture. Visitors can access the guide on arrival at Heathrow via the airport’s free Wi-Fi page and on YouTube. It can also be viewed on the Heathrow Express. Set in a quintessentially British gastropub, the three minute video sees Stephen pondering the many things that make the UK a great place to visit, from the Scottish highlands to the Giant’s Causeway, St Paul’s Cathedral and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch in Wales, before being taken to a table.
Advice from Fry includes what to do when conversation breaks out with strangers, the importance of mastering ‘the agreement rule,’ cheering upon the smashing of plates and glasses, and navigating the awkward ‘after you’ loop, all the while stressing the importance of making yourself at home.
To mark the launch of the video, Heathrow commissioned research, asking 1,000 international visitors what they love most about a trip to the UK, from famous sights and sounds to their favourite words. The ancient site of Stonehenge has been plucked from the plethora of stunning destinations on offer, to be crowned the number one place to visit outside of London, closely followed by historic hotspots Edinburgh Castle and the legendary Loch Ness in Scotland.
Top five destinations are:
2. Edinburgh Castle
3. Loch Ness
4. Sherwood Forest
5. The Roman Baths
The video also celebrates some of the many traditions and icons beloved by Brits and visitors alike and it seems the setting resonates with those visiting British shores, as the traditional pub is revealed to be tourists’ favourite thing about the UK, followed by our sense of humour.
The top five things visitors love about the UK:
1. Traditional pubs
2. British sense of humour
3. Double decker buses
4. Glorious countryside
5. Elaborate history
Whilst the video gives some insight into the nation’s idiosyncratic behaviours, visitors are also sure to come across some of our more peculiar words and phrases, no matter where they are heading once they touch down on UK soil. Plucked from our eclectic vocabulary, the top five words visitors love are:
3. Nice one
Speaking about the video, Stephen Fry commented: “From Snowdon to the Scottish Highlands and London to Londonderry, modern Britain is a truly extraordinary place. With a fantastic blend of cultures and traditions, we’re a nation renowned for its sense of humour, unspoken rules and little quirks. No matter where you go, you’re sure to talk about the weather, will need something waterproof to hand, and are likely to meet someone who feels the need to apologise profusely for everything they do. In fact our nation’s gentle apologetic manner is one of the things that I miss most when I’m out of the country.
“I hope people enjoy watching the video, which celebrates some of our wonderful eccentricities and welcomes people to the UK with a good old dose of British humour.”
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive, Heathrow, added: “We know from our passengers that it’s important to them to feel they have arrived in the UK, from the moment they disembark from the plane, and what better way to do that than with a fun film from one of the country’s most beloved comedians. Stephen and Graham have done a fine job of capturing the typically British and humorous way that we celebrate our country and we hope it will prepare visitors for their time here and bring a smile to their faces as they make their way through arrivals, onto the Heathrow Express and beyond.”
Patricia Yates, VisitBritain Director, said: “There’s a huge variety of extraordinary experiences that you can only get in Britain, and so much to do and see across all our nations and regions, from our fashion and food to our scenery and heritage and our great sporting events. Capturing some of our typically British sense of humour is a wonderful way to lay out the welcome mat to international visitors coming to the UK, giving them a taste of our ability to laugh at ourselves and to inspire them to experience more of what makes Britain such a GREAT destination.”
Watch Stephen’s Guide to the UK on the Heathrow Airport YouTube channel. Follow the conversation on social using #UKGuide.
Notes to editors:
*Research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Heathrow between 28 August – 1 September 2015 and based on a survey of 1078 respondents from the US, Germany and France who have visited the UK.
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