BT Press Releases

DC12-355                                                      19th December 2012

British Public vote 2012 as Britain’s greatest year

• Under 24 age group is the most proud to be British this year
• 2012 sparks more national pride than any other year in living memory
• Half of the nation thought London 2012 took their minds off the recession

The success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee has led to 2012 being voted the greatest British year in the last century, according to research published today.

The study found that more than half of the nation considers 2012 to be the greatest year to be British and attributes its national pride specifically to London 2012 and the Diamond Jubilee. A third of Britons surveyed felt in particular that London 2012 brought them closer to family and friends.

The nationwide study of 2,000 people aged between 18 and 70 was carried out by BT, official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, working with leading television historian Kate Williams.

The top 10 years voted the greatest to be British are:
1. 2012: Including the Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
2. 1945: VE Day
3. 1918: End of the First World War
4. 1948: Birth of the NHS
5. 1966: England win the football World Cup
6. 2011: Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton
7. 1953: Including Queen Elizabeth II coronation and successful British expedition to Mount Everest
8. 2002: Golden Jubilee
9. 1928: Victory for the suffrage movement for women
10. 1940: Including Dunkirk, victory in the Battle of Britain and Churchill becoming Prime Minister

2012 appears to have captured the imagination and hearts of the younger generation in particular as half of people under 24 said they were proud to be British this year, more than any other age range. Overall, just 11 per cent of the nation said that they did not feel proud to be British in 2012.

One in two people surveyed thought that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games took their minds off the economic difficulties this summer, but believed that the sense of optimism and national pride fostered in 2012 may not continue next year.

Overall, economic success was deemed more important in making a year ‘great’ than any other factor, narrowly taking priority over success in the sporting world and political stability. Surprisingly however, women placed more importance on sporting success than men.

Sport has certainly left a lasting impact this year. The survey revealed the London 2012 Games inspired the most pride in the British public with nearly half the vote. The Diamond Jubilee came second with 18 per cent and Andy Murray’s debut Grand Slam victory came third with 9 per cent. Surprisingly, Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the Tour de France was pushed down into fourth place with just 7 per cent of the vote.

Commenting on the results, Historian Kate Williams, said: “2012 has been an incredible year for Britain. I am really delighted to see that the young in particular see 2012 as our greatest year. In Britain, we often put ourselves down. But this year, in the midst of recession, Britain has inspired the world - and proved wrong those who said we couldn't pull off the Olympics and a big Jubilee.

“It hasn't just been about the big story - we have spent more time with family, friends and neighbours. In World War II, people banded together to help each other and survive. In 2012, we were celebrating good times”

Suzi Williams, BT’s Group Marketing and Brand Director, said: “2012 has been a phenomenal year, with people the length and breadth of Britain sharing in the celebrations around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Games. It’s fantastic that national pride has been at an all-time high, and BT is proud to have played such a key role in bringing the nation together this summer for the London 2012 Games.”

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Notes to editors:
For further information or for interviews with Kate Williams, please contact: Alexandra Welch @ Pitch | T: + 44 (0) 20 7 494 1616 | E: alexandra.welch@pitch.co.uk
Research conducted by OnePoll in November 2012 among 2,000 male and female adults in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
Respondents were asked to choose five years and then rank them in the order which they believed it was greatest to be British:
• 2012: Diamond Jubilee; London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; British success at the Grammy's & Emmy's; Andy Murray wins first Grand Slam; European Ryder Cup victory – 56%
• 1945: VE Day – 46%
• 1918: End of the First World War – 36%
• 1948: Birth of the NHS – 33%
• 1966: England crowned Football World Cup Winners; Time Magazine uses the phrase 'Swinging London' – 30%
• 2011: Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton – 25%
• 1953: Queen Elizabeth II coronation; Sir Stanley Matthews/FA Cup Final; successful British expedition to Mount Everest – 22%
• 2002: Golden Jubilee – 21%
• 1928: Victory in the suffrage movement – 21%
• 1940: Dunkirk; the Battle of Britain; Churchill becomes Prime Minister – 19%
• 1991: Brit Sir Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web – 13%
• 1922: British Empire peaks at its largest extent – 10%
• 2005: England’s famous Ashes victory – 10%
• 1964: British Invasion of the US music charts - the Beatles hold the top 5 positions on April 4th – 9%
• 1996: Britpop and Cool Britannia; England reach the semi-finals of Euro 96 – 6%
• 1934: Fred Perry wins Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open – 5%
• 1981: Chariots of Fire wins four Oscars - actor Colin Welland predicts: "The Brits are coming", Prince Charles and Diana marry – 4%


About Kate Williams
Kate Williams is a British historian, author and television presenter. She appears regularly on TV as a presenter and expert, specialising in social, constitutional and royal history. She commented extensively on the 2011 Royal wedding and appears often on BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, Sky News, BBC News 24 and the Today programme discussing history and culture and reviewing the news. Williams is also the social historian on the BBC series Restoration Home and appeared as the resident historian on all three series of The Great British Bake Off.