The DVD map of Britain: What we're watching and where we're watching it

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

* It seems Scottish cities have the same impeccable tastes as the Academy. Aside from London, Edinburgh and Glasgow are the biggest renters of No Country For Old Men and Juno, which won five Oscars between them at this year's Academy Awards. Glasgow is also the top renter, outside London, of George Clooney's Michael Clayton, which earned Tilda Swinton the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

* Glasgow consistently rents more titles from the world cinema category of Lovefilm's selection than any other city but London. Recent films from this category include Ang Lee's Lust, Caution (from China), Volver and Pan's Labyrinth (both by Spanish directors). This trend might be a reflection of Glasgow's multicultural population, which includes communities from Italy and Asia, or of the tastes of the large student population – there are four major universities in the city.

* Hallam Foe, starring Jamie Bell, was filmed largely in Edinburgh, and opened the city's international film festival in 2007. Since its release on DVD in February, more people have rented the film in Edinburgh than in any other city but London. Only 1.1 per cent of Edinburgh's Lovefilm members have ever rented Trainspotting. Perhaps it's because most of them saw it before Lovefilm existed, or perhaps it's that the city's residents would rather not be reminded of their city's heroin addicts.

* Newcastle and Huddersfield rent more Merchant Ivory period dramas than anywhere except London. This is strange, since the team's signature films include adaptations of novels by E M Forster and Kazuo Ishiguro – who are more commonly linked with the south of England.

* Only 0.5 per cent of Lovefilm members in County Durham have ever rented their region's best-known cinematic export, Billy Elliot. Not ballet fans, then?

* Control is the biopic of Ian Curtis, the lead singer with Joy Division, who committed suicide in 1980. The film is most popular in Manchester, where it is set, and in north London postcodes, home to many Manchester media migrants.

* In case you're wondering who's watching all the porn, Manchester consistently rents more adult films than anywhere but London.

* The Full Monty, a tale of unemployed Sheffield steelworkers forced to turn to stripping, has been rented more times in Sheffield than in any other city but London. The film is a reminder of the city's struggles prior to its redevelopment.

* Birmingham rents more Bollywood DVDs than any other city except London, a reflection of our second city's substantial British Asian contingent: 20.4 per cent of Birmingham's inhabitants are British Asian (including 105,000 Pakistanis).

* The residents of Britain's south coast aren't big on shark movies: only 0.8 per cent of Lovefilm members in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Sussex, Hampshire and Kent have ever rented a Jaws title. Perhaps films about not going into the water cause waves of summer panic.

* Shane Meadows' This Is England touches on far-right extremism in its portrayal of 1980s skinhead culture. The film is popular in east London, where the BNP has won council seats (in Barking and Dagenham) in local elections, but not so popular in Staffordshire, Meadows' home county and another area where the BNP has made gains. However, it was a popular choice in nearby Nottingham, where much of the film was shot.

* Oxford is the only English city with The Golden Compass in its top 10 rentals of the past three months (it was released on DVD in April). Perhaps this is because the film is set in a parallel Oxford.

* The refined residents of Oxford and Bath are the only cities outside London to have rented Notes on a Scandal in sufficient numbers to make their top 10. It's not surprising Oxford liked it – it's a literary adaptation set in an educational environment.

* Either the citizens of St Albans are a pretty dour bunch or they get plenty of their own action. Despite having a population of 130,000, the city manages to rent the fewest action/adventure DVDs of any conurbation in the country.

* More people rented the low-budget British thriller London to Brighton in London and Brighton than in any other cities – indeed, 5.5 per cent of Brighton's Lovefilm members rented it.

* Eastern Promises, David Cronenberg's portrait of the Russian mafia in London, is being watched mostly in the east and north postcodes of the capital, where it was filmed, and in Scottish cities, where the Russian mafia has long been active.

* Three per cent of London's members have rented Match Point, and 2.2 per cent have rented Love, Actually. Bearing in mind the size of the London membership, this is a big audience. Both films make repeated use of familiar London landmarks such as the South Bank and the Gherkin.

* The German historical drama The Lives of Others, which was ecstatically reviewed and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007, was particularly popular in the intellectual enclaves of London, Bath, Oxford and Edinburgh.

* Next, a sci-fi action dud starring Nicolas Cage, gained new life on DVD – it was particularly popular in Hull, Bournemouth, Blackpool and Stoke.

* The third instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean, despite its box-office success, features rarely in the top 10 rental stakes of cities over the past 12 months. It was, however, popular in Cornwall and the Isle of Wight – two areas with strong links to the high seas.

* Brighton has good taste in classic directors, punching above its population weight in rentals of movies by Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock. Perhaps not surprising from the home of England's largest annual arts festival, and a bunch known for their impeccable taste in music.

Britain’s top 10 movies of the past 12 months


1. The Last King of Scotland
2. Atonement
3. Blood Diamond
4. The Bourne Ultimatum
5. Hot Fuzz
6. Déjà Vu
7. Die Hard 4.0
8. The Pursuit of Happyness
9. Knocked Up
10. Pirates of the Caribbean -At World's End


1. The Last King of Scotland
2. Atonement
3. The Bourne Ultimatum
4. Hot Fuzz
5. Blood Diamond
6. Die Hard 4.0
7. Déjà Vu
8. The Pursuit of Happyness
9. Knocked Up
10. Pirates of the Caribbean -At World's End


1. The Last King of Scotland
2. The Bourne Ultimatum
3. Die Hard 4.0
4. Atonement
5. Hot Fuzz
6. Déjà Vu
7. Blood Diamond
8. The Pursuit of Happyness
9. Knocked Up
10. Next

...And where we rent the most movies


1. Greater London
2. Lancashire
3. Surrey
4. Kent
5. West Yorkshire
6. Essex
7.West Midlands
8. Hampshire
9. Hertfordshire
10. Middlesex


1. London
2. Bristol
3. Glasgow
4. Manchester
5. Birmingham
6. Nottingham
7. Edinburgh
8. Leeds
9. Sheffield
10. Cambridge