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New research and expert opinion highlights how TV and streaming obsessions could be inspiring Brits to make different career choices and how pop culture continuously influences academia, training and jobs.


  • New research commissioned by FutureLearn proves TV shows are influencing The Great Resignation 
  • Educational Psychologist Dr Kairen Cullen believes Brits can unlock their potential new career paths and future learning choices through the TV shows they watch
  • Doctor Who, Killing Eve and Game of Thrones are the most watched shows according to participants 


Multiple lockdowns and working from home has resulted in many Brits having more time to binge TV shows and now, new research from FutureLearn reveals how they are a contributing factor to what people want to learn about and their possible career paths and choices.  


With almost two-fifths (39%) of Brits attracted to binge-worthy Bridgerton for it’s classic literature, Squid Game for its fascinating problem solving (33%) and After Life for it’s approach on grief (40%), there could be more to the nation’s interests and what they excel in career wise. Do the TV shows that grip the UK really say more about Brits than they thought, and could this be the reason for the great resignation as we currently know it?


As The Great Resignation continues to bite and Brits feel uncertainty about their career paths, new research from the UK’s largest online education platform,, shows how the TV shows we love, might just be the answer to our career goals.


Educational Psychologist, Dr Kairen Cullen, explains why being drawn to certain elements of TV shows can highlight how individuals could excel in certain career paths, helping people  who aren’t sure where to start to make a first step in switching careers. 


TV Shows  Interest in TV shows Course 
Doctor Who It allows me to see the world of science fiction and space exploration Life on Mars 
Killing Eve I like the idea of travelling the world Intro to Travel and Tourism
Game of Thrones I enjoy the fantasy element of the make-believe world Lights, Camera, Computer – Action! How Digital Technology is Transforming Film, TV, and Gaming
Squid Game I enjoy problem-solving Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
After Life How they approach grief Young People and Their Mental Health
Bridgerton It reminds me of classic novels which is a time of history I love William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place
Sex Education How they approach sex and gender makes it easy to talk about Global Intimacies: Sex, Power, Gender and Migration.
The Queen’s Gambit How strategy can be used in everyday life Develop Conceptual Thinking for Problem-Solving


Shows like Sex Education have become popular due to the way they approach topics like sex and gender and make them easier to talk about according to 36% of Brits. Themes like this are also found in the career of a therapist as well as courses such as Global Intimacies: Sex, Power, Gender and Migration .


Occasionally, the impact of your favourite TV shows is less clear, as seen in the one fifth of Brits who watch Killing Eve because it makes them want to travel the world. With FutureLearn’s Intro to Travel and Tourism course, Brits can make that dream a reality.


Enjoying the fantasy world in which Game of Thrones is set (68%) showcases less traditionally academic skills such as production. A perfect interest for a career in film production, as a result taking Lights, Camera, Computer – Action! How Digital Technology is Transforming Film, TV, and Gaming can be the first step to move into that field. 


With around 27 Million households in the UK having access to a television*** not to mention the number of mobile phones and tablets that people now have access to view TV shows on, the influence programmes have on everyday life is clear. From fashion choices to the music we like, there’s something for everyone, including the two fifths of Brits who watch Doctor Who to explore space and therefore would likely find a career in Astrobiology fulfilling by taking the Life on Mars course.  


Astrid deRidder, Director of Content at FutureLearn said:At FutureLearn, our mission is to transform access to education. Projects such as this one highlight how education, personal interests and everyday life go hand-in-hand and how each element can in turn have an impact on the other. By linking people’s favourite TV shows and the reasons why they’re drawn to them to potential courses and career paths it shows people they can train and work in an area they are truly passionate about.”


Dr Kairen Cullen, Registered Practitioner Psychologist (Educational) said: “Popular culture, as depicted in TV shows, is often reflected in the learning choices that motivate individuals and in the educational choices, which they make. The everyday TV viewing patterns of individuals do offer a useful insight into possible career options for them.  The degree to which these preferences highlight people’s interests and preferred activities and occupations will vary between individuals but it is a useful exercise to shine a spotlight upon this particular recreational choice and to use what we discover in considering different study and future career options.



Notes to Editor

​​The research was conducted by Censuswide with 2003 Nat Rep UK respondents between 21.12.21- 22.12.21 Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.


About FutureLearn

FutureLearn is a global learning platform with a mission to transform access to education by offering top online courses from the world’s leading universities and brands. From microcredentials and degrees to ExpertTracks and short courses, FutureLearn offers accredited and unaccredited world-class education that is 100% online, on-demand, and social. Founded in 2012 by The Open University, FutureLearn has built a global network of over 18 million learners, hosted over 5,000 online courses, and partnered with more than 250 top universities, leading global brands, and government departments – such as the University of Cambridge, the University of Glasgow, Deakin University, Samsung and Health Education England. The wide-ranging courses available allow learners to expand their interests, unlock highly skilled new career paths, and help change the world.


** Research by ONS on unemployment: 

*** Research by Statista on average UK homes with televisions


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