Grand Designs is the British TV programme which displays the most eco-friendly habits, according to new research.
It came out top in an analysis of 45 UK shows due to its regular depiction of recycled building materials.
Fresh Meat, starring Jack Whitehall, and the Irish coming-of-age tale Normal People are among the shows which also received a ‘green’ rating.
The former scored highly for regular carpooling while the latter often showcases composting and recycling.
Luther, starring Idris Elba, and the Sky hit show Gangs of London score poorly, receiving a red rating due to the large carbon footprint of characters’ luxurious cars and numerous homes.
Grand Designs is the British TV programme which displays the most eco-friendly habits, according to new research. It came out top in an analysis of 45 shows due to its regular depiction of recycled building materials. Pictured, the full list
Experts from Goldsmiths University, in partnership with Smart Energy GB, a non-profit campaigning for the widespread adoption of smart meters, led the research.
Academics scrutinised the green credentials of 45 shows and gave out either red, amber or green ratings.
Almost half (21) scored amber, including Sherlock, Love Island and EastEnders. Fifteen got a green rating and nine got a red.
Coronation Street was deemed the greenest soap opera, coming in at joint seventh alongside the sitcom Not Going Out, and one spot ahead of Emmerdale.
EastEnders, unlike its rivals, got an amber rating, but does boast the greenest character in Mick Carter, played by Danny Dyer, due to his hand washing of pots, often in the dark.
At the other end of the spectrum is Line of Duty’s Steve Arnott. His workaholic nature means he regularly is seen grabbing snacks and beer from otherwise empty fridges, in kitchens full of unused, high-wattage appliances.
Luther with leading man Idris Elba (pictured)got a ed rating for green credentials due to lavish cars and a large carbon footprint
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More than 150 hours of television was watched and only 2.4 per cent of TV households were seen to recycle compared to real-life figures of 90 per cent.
The Love Island Villa was also the only property fitted with solar panels, meaning the devices were seen on just 0.8 per cent of all houses. In the UK, around 2.8 per cent of households have solar panels.
Not a single conversation in the 90 watched episodes included a conversation about climate change, sustainability or the environment, with the focus of Peppa Pig, Peep Show, Hollyoaks and co lying elsewhere. No shows had a visible smart meter, either.
Analysis was done alongside a survey of 2,000 Britons and found lockdown has led to people watching 3.2 hours of TV extra a day.
Alexander Armstrong, presenter of Pointless, said: ‘Sustainability is a huge priority in TV production – all sets I’ve been on recently have made a concerted effort to increase green practices – but when it comes to what we see on screen, there’s clearly room for improvement.
‘Fictional TV has a history of tackling important social issues through its storylines.
Sky hit show Gangs of London (pictured) scored poorly, receiving a red rating due to the large carbon footprint of characters’ luxurious cars and numerous homes
Fresh Meat, starring Jack Whitehall, got a ‘green’ rating. The former scored highly for regular carpooling
EastEnders, unlike its rivals Emmerdale and Coronation Street, got an amber rating, but does boast the greenest character in Mick Carter, played by Danny Dyer (pictured), due to his hand washing of pots, often in the dark and saving electricity
‘I remember Zammo’s drug addiction storyline in Grange Hill in the 80s, for example. Climate change is one of the biggest problems we face, but rarely is that reflected in the TV we know and love.
‘There is so much more our industry can do to encourage Brits do better by the environment.
‘Show the all-too-familiar squabbles about recycling, see characters managing their energy use with a smart meter, stop them leaving their tech on standby.
Normalising these behaviours on screen will help us all to do that little bit better off screen too.’
Professor Toby Miller from Goldsmiths said: ‘As a nation we spend a huge amount of time watching TV, and it’s an incredibly influential medium.
‘Despite the climate crisis being a huge topic of interest, this is the first time we’ve been able to assess how well our favourite TV households fare when it comes to sustainability and positive eco-behaviours.
‘Whilst many are doing it well, the findings show that productions across broadcasters and genres could do more in representing energy efficiency and healthy environmental behaviours, such using a smart meter to help to reduce energy waste and cut down your carbon footprint.’
Robert Cheesewright, Director at Smart Energy GB, said: ‘It’s great to see some TV shows leading the charge when it comes to energy saving and sustainability, but we want to see the good eco-habits we’re all doing at home, such as recycling or having a smart meter, reflected in more of the shows we love.
‘While we all suspected we are watching more TV during lockdown, it has been fascinating to learn how much of an influence it’s having on us.’