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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
British are 'obsessed with fame'
Melanie Lambert and Kyran Bracken in ITV's Dancing on Ice
Voting for TV talent shows was called a symptom of "obsession" with celebrity
Britons' "obsession" with fame is demonstrated by the fact more people vote in TV talent shows than in general elections, a new travel guide says.

Lonely Planet's guide to Great Britain informs overseas visitors that citizens also eat more junk food and ready meals than the rest of Europe put together.

But it says visitors will easily find "great food".

Many UK cities are praised. Cardiff is the "epitome of cool" and Newcastle's nightlife is called "wild and crazy".

The guide calls the mass TV voting "a symptom of Britain's ever-growing obsession with fame and celebrity".

It says Britons love news of famous people "even though their 'celebrity' status is based on little more than the ability to sing a jolly tune, look good in tight trousers or kick a ball in the right direction".

We need to revel in this diversity as this is the future of Britain
David Else
Lonely Planet

It also says that in the aftermath of the London bombings of July 2005 "a general air of disillusion prevails" with people in Britain seeming to be "tired of politicians whatever their hue".

And it tells visitors that although some crime rates are falling "vandalism and nuisance behaviour caused by binge drinking remain serious problems".

It also tells visitors that Britain has the fastest-growing market in the world for internet porn.

However, the Lonely Planet finds many positive things to say about the country.

Birmingham city centre
Birmingham is now "a vibrant and cultural hotspot", the guide says

As in previous editions of the guide, the transformation of some British cities is praised.

It says Bristol was "formerly a gritty, grimy ugly sister", but is now "astonishingly and dramatically changed".

While Birmingham once a "drab, grimy urban basket case" has now "spectacularly reinvented itself as a vibrant, cultural hot spot".

London "has a buzz unlike any other European city", while Edinburgh is "one of the most sophisticated cities in the world".

The guide's co-ordinating author David Else said: "Brits are just as likely to tuck into a chicken madras as a Sunday roast, or to check out the Notting Hill Carnival rather than Trooping the Colour.

He added: "Everyone can find something which suits them.

"Another great thing about our country is that being exposed to different religion, festivals, music and food allows Brits to experience so many other cultures without even leaving the country.

"We need to revel in this diversity as this is the future of Britain."

Northern outpost dubbed 'seedy'
23 May 05 |  Scotland
City steps up 2008 culture plans
19 May 05 |  Merseyside

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