One in Five Brits Vote Hugh Grant for PM 

  • 18% of Brits vote Hugh Grant as PM in film poll
  • 36% vote Tom Hardy as UK’s favourite homegrown hero
  • Alfred Hitchcock still tops the list as favourite director with 31% of the votes
  • 29% prefer homegrown hits to Hollywood blockbusters
  • 62% rate our comedies best
  • Nostalgia rules – Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang still the nation’s favourites

The British have spoken; harking back to his role in Richard Curtis’ Love Actually, Hugh Grant is the acting legend most would like to see as Prime Minister with Colin Firth and Michael Caine trailing both with 16 percent, finds a study released today to mark BritBox film documentary series Reel Britannia.

Exploring the nation’s love affair with local film, the research also found that heartthrob Tom Hardy (Legend, Peaky Blinders) is our current favourite actor, narrowly beating national treasure Judi Dench in the poll.

When it comes to those behind the camera; our favourite director remains the legendary Alfred Hitchcock (The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes), narrowly beating Guy Ritchie (27% of the vote) and Danny Boyle (26% of the vote).

So it’s no surprise that 28% agree that locally produced films are among some of the best ever made, with almost half (45 %) admitting that our films make them feel proud to be British.

In fact, a third of Brits prefer homegrown to Hollywood, with 57% citing our unique sense of humour, and a third appreciating that our films are usually grittier than American fare. Comedy (62%) was chosen as the best British film genre, closely followed by drama (49%) and thrillers (36%).

In the list of British favourites, Mary Poppins (33 percent) was top of the list. Following close behind was family film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (28 percent), the Italian Job (27 percent) – a 1969 classic starring Michael Caine as cockney criminal Charlie Croker – and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (27 percent).

The research was commissioned by BritBox to mark the launch of four-part docu-series Reel Britannia. Starting in 1960; the series portrays how cinema held a mirror up to society to reflect on the youth revolution of the 60s, the grit of the 1970s, the social divide of the 1980s, new hope of the 1990s and the social disillusionment of the 00s.

Narrated by Nick Helm, Reel Britannia features new, exclusive interviews with noted cinema talents Terry Gilliam, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Stephen Frears, Hanif Kureishi, Mike Newell, Simon Beaufoy, David Leland and Terence Davies. In association with the BFI, it also includes archival interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

Reel Britannia is directed by Jon Spira and produced by Hank Starrs of Canal Cat Films. Spira and Starrs previously collaborated on Hollywood Bulldogs: The Rise and Falls of the Great British Stuntman, also available on BritBox UK, and “Elstree 1976,” among other projects.

This research of 1,500 UK based Britons was commissioned by BritBox and conducted by Perspectus Global during June 2022.