back to article Dim Brits think TARDIS IS REAL

In the BBC series How TV Ruined Your Life, one-time games reviewer Charlie Brooker talks at length about the British public literally believing what is seen on their screens. This has now been confirmed with some investigative numberwang which shows that a large percentage of Brits are convinced fictional technology from …


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  1. firefly
    Paris Hilton

    I'm pretty sure..

    ..that people take the piss when it comes to dumb surveys like this. I know I would.

    Ask stupid questions, get stupid answers.

    1. Grease Monkey

      It's a title, alright?

      It's not just people taking the piss that are the issue. The significant questions are (a) how big was the sample of respondents and (b) how was the sample chosen?

      You can get all sorts of problems with a small sample. You just can't stop a hundred people in the street and then say they represent a population of tens of millions, it's an absolute nonsense. For example go to a shopping precinct at 10am on a wedndesday and stop 100 people. Amazingly enough you are going to get a much higher portion of unemployed or retired people than if you chose the same location at the same time on saturday. The bigger the sample and the more locations you choose (if you are stopping people in the street) the more representative you sample will be.

      Then there's the matter of how the respondents were chosen. If it's a truly random sample stopping people int he the street and asking if they'd be willing to answer a few questions then you'll get a very different sample of people than you would if you were to advertise for respondents on a particular website while telling people what the subject of the survey is before they agree take part.

      The best surveys are the ones that include questions on all sorts of subjects. If your questions are all along similar lines the respondents will tend to colour their answers. It doesn't matter if they are taking the piss or giving the answers they think you want it makes your survey worthless. If you ask loads and loads of different questions on different subjects then the respondent is more likely to answer honestly.

      In short: Most of these surveys are bunk. Let's play family fortunes.

    2. Code Monkey


      Maybe Reg could rewrite the headline: "Dim survey authors believe everything piss-taking Brits tell them"

    3. Pete 2 Silver badge

      What proportion think fictional surveys are real?

      This is an old, old, apocryphal piece that comes up time after time¹. I recall smirking at the idea decades ago when I read a "survey" that said people believed the stuff in Star Trek was real. It's good to see that not only are poeple still responding to the same silly claims, but that they also think that survey results are real, too.

      [1] and not because it's discovered the secret of traveling through time faster than we all do naturally.

    4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      I would

      And I lightsabres are just a fluorescent tubes with a handle?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the words of Tony Blair...

    Education, education, education.

    No wonder shows like My Family and The Green Green Grass are so popular...

  3. Mark 78

    Time travel

    "A third believe time travel is possible. Now."

    By definition, if time travel was to be possible ever, it would be possible now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We're all Timesurfs

      Time travel is possible... you're doing it right now!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE:We're all Timesurfs

        I've come all the way from 1986 to agree with this!

    2. jm83

      not always

      There is an American physicist (Ronald Mallett) who has developed a machine that in theory could bring things here from the future. So time travel would be possible but you could only go back to when the machine was turned on. or something.

      Anyway, were travelling through time now at the rate of 60 mins per hour. (Slower when moving faster)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Anyway, were travelling through time now at the rate of 60 mins per hour. (Slower when moving faster)"

        No, you're always travelling through time at a rate of 60 mins pre hour, no matter how fast you go... only your time might be different relative to anothers'.


        1. jm83

          Re: Relative

          I was talking about earth time... If I happen to find a way to go quick enough to slow time, I wont be travelling in earth time anymore.

          Pint for you though sir.

      2. DZ-Jay

        Re: not always

        I saw that movie. By the way, are you British?


      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        The problem with Ronald Mallett's time machine design...

        ... is that it can only work in a universe with a fairly specialised spacetime structure containing an infinite one-dimensional singularity, which our universe does not have.

        Also the energy requirements are prohibitive, and the diameter of the ring of circulating laser light needs to be bigger than the visible universe.

        But apart from that, it would probably work.

        Mallett has also made some utterly egregious schoolboy-howler-level mistakes in his plans and design, for instance confusing the slowing down of light travelling through a medium with an actual alteration of the universal constant c. That was a rank amateur error to make, and the rest of his analysis seems to be on equally shaky ground.

      4. Daniel B.

        Re: not always

        Oh, looks like physicists have read "Thrice upon a time" ...

    3. Mallorn

      Not necessarily...

      "By definition, if time travel was to be possible ever, it would be possible now."

      Not true. General relativistic time travel using a pair of connected worm holes would only allow time travel back to the point when the wormholes were created and not before. So it is at least conceivable that time travel might be possible in the future without us knowing about it today (although I doubt it!).

    4. jibberjabber

      Logical fallacies

      Assuming that time travel is impossible now, doesn't automatically necessitate that it won't be possible to travel backwards in time from some point in the far future to a point in nearer future. Or that we might be able to travel into the future only, at some speed faster than 60 seconds per minute.

  4. jm83


    They exist... they just don't work as intended.

  5. Peter Bond
    Thumb Up


    If proof were needed that we really are a nation of utter, utter imbeciles.

  6. Syren Baran

    Half of us are convinced memory-erasing technology is available

    But it is.

    Icon says it all.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge


      It is usually only a temporary temporal adjustment.

      There is a payback which goes something like , "Oh, shit! I didn't, did I?"

      1. Liam Johnson

        I didn't, did I?"

        You just need to up the dosage. If that fails to work, then a series repeat applications will turn that into "Did I? Didn't I? Who cares".

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge


          "Tell, me , who was this Korsakoff guy?"

    2. Stumpy


      And my memory will be well and truly erased tomorrow night...

      .... Not to mention the time travel from being in the middle of town at 3am one moment to eking up (hopefully) in bed with a raging headache at 10am the following day...

  7. CarlC
    Thumb Down

    Time travel is possible. Now.

    in fact we are all traveling from the past to the future via the present every moment of our lives. I think what isn't possible is more likely to be controlled time travel.

    As Firefly puts it, dumb surveys get dumb answers. I would certainly give stupid answers if asked these sort of stupid questions.

  8. Sarah Davis

    Worst Article EVER !!

    Caleb Cox must be the dumbest writer the Reg has ever had if he believes a word of this drivel. Yes there are dumb people out there (conservative voters, conservatives, tabloid readers, people who buy into celebrity-ism, etc), but your sources were clearly playing you, and you fell for it.

    How could a nation whose educational, political, and transport systems have continually declined be capable of actually inventing a real T.A.R.D.I.S. or hover board - no one is that stupid. And really, how can you erase non-existent money.

    Your article would have been better if you just said' Charlie Brooker is poignant and moderately humourous' to yourself in the mirror - please don't write any more 'articles'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "How could a nation whose educational, political, and transport systems have continually declined be capable of actually inventing a real T.A.R.D.I.S. or hover board - no one is that stupid."

      Who said thet anybody believed this tech was invented in the UK? Are you saying the nation has some sort of variant on the old NIH disorder in that we all believe that everything was invented here?

    2. Thomas 4

      The title is a fictional invention

      Oh do lighten up, please. It's friday o'clock, I have a really long clinic ahead of me and anything that is good for a brief smile or a laugh helps time travel more quickly.

      Now if I could just find a memory erasing device that can erase the last 2 minutes I've wasted reading and replying to your post, that'd be swell.

    3. xperroni
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Yes they can be that dumb (was: Worst Article EVER !!)

      Well, *does* feel it is necessary (on the "Marty’s Hoverboard" page) to stress their replicas don't hover. You think it overkill?

      Actually I stumbled upon that other website once, which also sold hoverboad replicas. I couldn't find it now, but I vividly remember how the seller went to great lengths stressing his wares couldn't actually fly; he even maintained a "Hall of Shame" for specialy gruesome complaints - some blokes would argue that at $ 100.00 odd the hoverboards were too expensive, even as they believed the thing would, well, hover (as if any machine capable of carrying a man would sell within the three-figure range).

      So no, I don't think this is too stupid for mankind.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    And some believe...

    in surveys purporting to be factual when the sponsers need some publicity (nothing like claiming people are thick to get everyone feeling smug about themselves. So much smarter that all those Sun, Grundian, Times, Economist reading thickies..).

    Ah well, wroks crap...think I'll pop back to last monday when I had a day off.

  10. Ol'Peculier

    Memory removal

    Friday nights?

  11. resudaed

    Had to double check it wasn't April 1st

    Is the article real?

  12. Alex 14

    1/3 wrong about time travel existing?

    More like 2/3 wrong about it not existing. That's a perfectly valid finding for a study done in Birmingham, where time goes forwards 20 years once you leave the city.

    Flame me, it's Friday!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've been saying it for years

    and I've said it numerous times on El Reg. The British are THICK! DIM! Completely STUPID.

    You just have to read some of the comments made by El Reg 'readers' to see that.

    At least 50% can't even spell or read properly. We done British parents. (Applause)

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: I've been saying it for years

      'At least 50% can't even spell or read properly'

      Including you, by the looks of it :o)

    2. Ian Stephenson Silver badge

      We done?

      Hello kettle? youre black! - Pot

    3. Anonymous Coward


      I think you meant "well done British parents. (Applause)"

      1. The Beer Monster

        Here we go...

        I think you mean "Hello kettle? You're black!"

        1. Ian Stephenson Silver badge

          Internet tradition requires...

          that any correction of spelling or grammar nazism requires it's own error.

          That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

          Internet tradition also requires badgers so


          1. Anonymous John

            Re Internet tradition requires...

            Muphrey's law.

          2. The Real Loki


            you mean "its" - not "it's"?

            "It's" is a contraction of two words: it is. "Its" is possessive

      2. King Jack

        Surely you mean..

        Hello kettle? You're black! - Pot.

        Note the apostrophe, capital Y and full stop.

    4. James Hughes 1

      We done British parents

      I rest my case.

    5. HP Cynic


      I bet right now you are looking for the edit button....

      Anyway I know plenty of stupid people but I've never met a single person who thinks a single one of the objects or concepts mentioned in this article are real.

      Either the respondents took the piss or the questions were phrased in such a way as to illicit certain responses which they willingly interpreted as "belief in the TARDIS lolol".

      I hope eventually to see the source information so I can make my own judgement :)

    6. Your Retarded
      Thumb Up

      Only 50%....

      That's a bit optimistic, don't you think?

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge


        That's Mr50% to you -- any more and I'll give my mate Gadaffi a bell and he'll pop-off some British-made ordnance.

    7. Elmer Phud Silver badge


      We are British and as such too THICK! DIM! and Completely STUPID to listen to you.

      Others are too busy telling us how shite we are to be able to hear us go STFU

    8. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      RE: Obviously

      Well Obviously, obviously you got confused:

      TARDIS - obviously a time travel machine, whereas:

      Obviously IS TARD.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: I've been saying it for years

      The real percentage is easy to work out, simply take the percentage of repsondents who have taken your comment seriously.

      Or as a rough guide use the rule of thumbs currently 3 ups to 14 downs which gives 82% in favour of the dims.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dim Brits

      Was it Britain that suffered a national panic attack and mass panty-wetting during a broadcast of a radio adaptation of a science fiction yarn?


      Remind me which country it was please. Was it the same country that REQUIRES the manufacturers to put "not a flying toy" on tiny model aircraft?

      Glass houses!


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