From Rowan Atkinson’s Maigret and the Teletubbies, to Doctor Who and The Great British Bake-Off, Malaysians are enamoured with British actors and TV programmes.
In a poll recently conducted by BBC Worldwide* on the viewing habits and attitudes towards British programmes of those living in seven Asian territories, Malaysians were the most avid fans of British drama with 65% of those sampled frequently tuning in to the likes of Doctor Who, Silent Witness and SS-GB. Viewers in India and China, by contrast, enjoy more light-hearted programmes with British humour, making comedies the most popular British genre in these two countries.

Malaysia is also the top country in South East Asia (SEA) to prefer British content (59%) over American TV (46%). And they watch it regularly – with almost 60% of the 727 Malaysians polled regularly watching British TV programmes and video content. Some of the programmes most popular among BBC Player users in Malaysia are Doctor Who Series 10, Planet Earth II and Top Gear Series 24.

British accents are hot in Malaysia

When asked what they love the most about British TV, over 50% of the Malaysian respondents cited the British accent, ahead of other options like documentaries and British humour. In contrast, Singapore, India, Hong Kong and China indicated the British humour as what they love most about British TV, and Taiwan favourited British food shows .

Food and the Internet

It is a nationally acknowledged fact that Malaysians love their food. So it’s no surprise that a question on viewing habits revealed how almost 60% of Malaysians love to eat while watching TV. This compared to browsing social media platforms (65%) and the Internet (64%).

Watch it with Beckham

Ex professional footballer turned international model and TV presenter David Beckham is high in demand in Malaysia, edging out high functioning sociopath Sherlock and vocal powerhouse Adele to be the number one personality that Malaysians want to watch TV with. This was unanimous with four other territories – Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China. Watching with Beckham might not be possible, but watching him is. Watch footballing legend David Beckham play a football match on all seven continents in 10 days on David Beckham: For the Love of the Game, available on BBC Player.

*The BBC Worldwide poll sampled over 6,000 people aged 16 to 64 across seven Asian markets – Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and India

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By Expat