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Why we love Britain: Our ‘Best of Blighty’

For many of us, wherever we've ended up, Great Britain continues to play a significant role in our lives – and remains a huge source of pride.

Why we love Britain: Our ‘Best of Blighty'
Crumpets have long been a favourite of Britons and Anglophiles around the world. Photo: Getty Images

Whether you’re native-born, or simply a keen anglophile, there’s something about the UK – its music, food, culture and history – that is loved by many. That’s because the British Isles are, despite their relatively small size, still a global giant in many respects.  

Together with British Corner Shop – an online supermarket that delivers British food all over the world – let’s sit down with a nice cuppa and celebrate what’s (more than) OK about the UK. 

Music: From Music Hall to Acid House 

Music has always been the pulse of Britain. From the songs of bards, to bawdy music hall ballads, the British have always loved exploring the world (and themselves) through song.

For the rest of the world, it was the ‘British Invasion’ of the sixties that was the first real exposure to the sound of the UK. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Queen – each of these bands redefined popular music, along with the rhythm and blues sound brought from the US. Then came the raucous sound of punk – The Sex Pistols and The Buzzcocks defying social convention in their own unforgettable way. 

As time progressed, new waves of bands came to rewrite the songbook when it came to their specific style. In the eighties, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motörhead hammered out a new metal sound, as The Smiths, The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays pioneered the alternative Indie sound. 

During the nineties, the ‘Battle of Britpop’ between Oasis and Blur established the idea of ‘Cool Britannia’. Elsewhere, in warehouses and fields across the country, acts like The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Underworld played raves and club nights that shaped the endlessly evolving world of dance music. 

To this day, the UK music scene is a massive export, with new acts constantly storming worldwide charts – from Adele to Harry Styles, Dua Lipa to the King of Grime himself, Stormzy! – the Brits are a constant powerhouse when it comes to music.

What’s your favourite British export? If it’s tea and treats you’re missing, British Corner Shop has got your covered

The Rolling Stones, along with other ‘British Invasion’ acts, redefined popular music. Photos: Getty Images

Film: Reel Britannia 

While most of us automatically think of Hollywood when film is mentioned, Britain’s screen industry has been captivating audiences for over a century. 

Charlie Chaplin was truly one of the worlds’ first true movie stars and had crowds roaring with laughter in the twenties, while in the thirties, Cary Grant and Errol Flynn smouldered – when not doing a little bit of swashbuckling. 

You can’t talk about cinema for long without mentioning Pinewood and Elstree Studios, such are their legendary reputations as centres for movie magic. From Alfred Hitchcock thrillers to the spectacle of Star Wars, without these classic sound stages and the film professionals working there, we’d be without some of our favourite flicks. 

Today, James Bond continues to shatter box office records with his Walther PPK, while Harry Potter (and the Fantastic Beasts crew) enchant new generations of kids.

Comedy: Are you having a laugh? 

Ask people what shaped their sense of humour and Monty Python will be a very common answer. From a bunch of mates having a laugh in university reviews, they would go on to conquer the world with their absurd, surreal, yet insightful brand of comedy. They’re not messiahs though – they’re just very naughty boys! 

Brits are known for their wit, dry sense of humour and keen eye for satire. Subsequent generations would have their sides split by TV shows such as The Young Ones, I’m Alan Partridge, political satire show Spitting Image, the wonderful comical duo of French and Saunders, and of course the various iterations of Britain’s most cunning schemer, Blackadder

Recently, we’ve seen another renaissance in British comedy, with shows like The Mighty Boosh, Peep Show, Friday Night Dinner and Fleabag brilliantly skewering various aspects of British life. 

Comedy of all kinds remains one of Britain’s most potent cultural exports. Fringe festivals like the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe (now in its 75th year!) and small-venue stand-up nights are fertile ground for new talent, with many of today’s biggest acts finding their big breaks that way. Today, stand-up comedy giants like Bill Bailey, Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard and Sarah Millican are loved by audiences globally.  

Heritage: A real Game of Thrones

When George R. R. Martin was looking for inspiration for his series A Song of Ice and Fire, he borrowed heavily from the real-life ‘War of the Roses’ that raged across England in the fifteenth century. 

That’s because British history is cool. It’s full of heroic battles, vicious scheming, impressive castles and inspirational moments. It’s a story of family feuds and the struggle for greater freedoms – and often stranger than fiction! 

Of course, much of Britain’s heritage is still there to be enjoyed. From The Tower of London to Stonehenge or Hampton Court Palace, millions flock to historical attractions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to immerse themselves in the adventure. 

Fish and chips are a British invention and a favourite shared meal. Photo: Getty Images

Food: No, really, the food is pretty great! 

Honestly, for all the jokes that people make regarding its blandness and stodginess, British food has plenty to offer. 

The UK produces stunning cheeses, meat and ale, with farmer’s markets selling farm-fresh ingredients for the table each week. Who doesn’t love a good roast beef, with a crispy Yorkshire pudding? 

It’s not just fresh produce that Britons love. Whether it’s a toasty buttered crumpet, shortbread biscuits, or a sandwich with a spread of Branston Pickle, British snacks and bakery goods keep the world turning for Brits and UK-lovers.

When it comes time for a treat, for example, Cadbury chocolates are a classic that have been satisfying sweet tooths since 1831. For a wide range of high-quality, delicious dishes, snacks, sauces and staples, all Brits know and love Marks & Spencer – it’s long been the place to turn. 

The good news is, for those missing a taste of home – British Corner Shop can deliver thousands of the UK’s most loved food and drink brands right to your doorstep in the EU.

Plus, in 2018 British Corner Shop partnered with M&S Food, allowing them to deliver over 600 quality M&S products all over the world, including their famous Percy Pig sweets, delicious crumpets and quality hot cross buns within their bakery range, and beautifully unique seasonal products.

The best part is, you can order all these delicious treats into the EU without having to worry about paying additional VAT or customs fees, thanks to British Corner Shop’s new European warehouse.

So, whether you’re craving a hot slice of buttery toast slathered in Marmite, or a McVitie’s Hobnob dunked in a steaming cup of M&S Luxury Gold tea, British Corner Shop have you covered! 

Get a taste of the UK delivered to your front door with British Corner Shop

Member comments

  1. We used BCS for a time and they were very good until Brexit. They ran into supply and delivery problems and opened an EU operation to fix the issues. It’s fair to say we were sympathetic as many things were out of their direct control. However, when things are down to them, they take a very strange and poor stance to clients when issues arise. They commonly short shipped orders which are weight based for delivery but flatly refused to supply the missing items FOC and fulfill the original order. This meant we had to reorder the missing products but pay another delivery charge, totally unfair indeed! The products also rocketed in price when we last looked so we decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. We also managed to find Heinz baked beans at our local store for Euros 1.20 a tin and our choice in France is very very good for replacement UK favorites. The BCS is not a patch on its former self, a great pity but “C’est la vie”

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CULTURE

Race wide open for Venice film festival prizes

The race was wide open ahead of awards night in Venice on Saturday, after a festival featuring a dark Marilyn Monroe biopic, an imprisoned Iranian director and a morbidly obese Brendan Fraser.

Race wide open for Venice film festival prizes

Critics have been deeply divided on many of the 23 films in competition at the 79th Venice Film Festival, but it has been a stellar year for individual actors. 

There was a huge standing ovation for Fraser, who made an unlikely comeback from the Hollywood wilderness as a 600-pound (272-kilogram) English professor in The Whale, sparking talk of Oscar nominations and a “Brendanaissance”.

Cate Blanchett is also an awards frontrunner for her performance as a classical music conductor in Tar, which takes a nuanced look at cancel culture.

And Hugh Jackman’s performance as a father dealing with a depressed teenager in The Son has been labelled the best of his career.

Hugh Jackman in Venice

Australian actor Hugh Jackman arrives on September 7, 2022 for the screening of The Son as part of the 79th Venice International Film Festival at Lido di Venezia in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

While some reviewers found the Monroe biopic Blonde too relentlessly grim, most were bowled over by the “ferociously emotional” performance from Cuban star Ana de Armas.

Sexual identity has been a recurring theme across the 11-day festival, with Trace Lysette becoming the first trans actress to star in a competition entry for Monica.

Last year’s best actress winner Penelope Cruz played the mother to a trans teen in L’Immensita, whose director Emanuele Crialese admitted for the first time at its press conference that he was born a woman.

Politics and protest

Picking the winners falls to a jury led by actor Julianne Moore, and also featuring Nobel-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro.

A last-minute favourite for the top prize Golden Lion is No Bears by Iran’s Jafar Panahi, who was imprisoned for “propaganda against the system” in July. That was the subject of a flash-mob protest Friday on the Venice red
carpet, led by Moore.

President of the Venezia 79 International Jury, US actress Julianne Moore (C) and other jury members hold on September 9, 2022 a poster showing Iranian director Jafar Panahi, calling for his release from prison. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

Another political film to win rave reviews was the documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, which follows artist Nan Goldin and her fight against the Sackler family, held responsible for the opioid drug crisis in the United States.

It is the latest from Laura Poitras, the journalist who first made contact with whistleblower Edward Snowden and won an Oscar for the resulting film, Citizenfour.

There has also been a lot of love in Venice for The Banshees of Inisherin, a pitch-black Irish comedy-drama tracing the falling out of two friends played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

Argentina 1985, the true story of the lawyers who took on the country’s military junta, was also widely praised.

Venice is seen as a launchpad for Academy Award campaigns, eight of the last 10 Best Director Oscars having gone to films that premiered at the festival.

Netflix had been hoping for a big year, but Blonde tested the patience of many critics, as did Mexico’s two-time Oscar winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarrituto, with his fantastical semi-autobiography Bardo.

The streamer is also behind White Noise, a sharp satire of US consumerism and academia starring Adam Driver — but that, too, got a mixed reception from reviewers.

READ ALSO: Ten of the best TV shows and films to help you learn Italian

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