How to be British: Stephen Fry and Heathrow team up in a three-minute video guide to British etiquette

Clara Guibourg
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“91 per cent of all verbal exchanges in the United Kingdom concern the weather”

Anyone need a guide to being British? In an unlikely alliance, Stephen Fry and Heathrow Airport have stepped up to the plate with the essential UK tips summed up in a three-minute video.

Fry has become an unofficial ambassador for all things British in the airport’s latest advert, to be shown to passengers arriving to the country.

And why not? Who better to represent Britishness than a tweed-clad Fry standing in a bustling pub and providing indispensable advice for visitors wondering how life in the UK works.

According to Fry, there’s only four things you need to remember:

1. When in doubt, talk about the weather

“91 per cent of all verbal exchanges in the United Kingdom concern the weather,” advises Fry. But don’t forget to agree with the person you’re talking to.

2. Queuing is a good thing

It’s no surprise that Britons love a queue, but as Fry adds: “Nevertheless, if the queue should start to move particularly slowly, it may become necessary to turn to your companion and display your displeasure in the strongest possible terms.”

What that is? A disgruntled tut, of course.

3. "Wahey!"

If someone, anywhere drops a glass to the floor, everyone must break out into a spontaneous cheer. “I have no idea why we do that,” he adds.

4. Avoid the “after you” loop

When queuing, trying to invite someone to go before you may leave you both stuck in the dreaded “after you” loop: “These loops can sometimes continue for several hours and that can call for desperate measures” (sometimes even going as far as a forceful “I insist”!).

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