Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 10:09 UK

TV 'is top bank holiday pastime'

People watching TV
Family members of all ages will be watching TV during the bank holiday

Most people in England, Wales and N Ireland will spend the August Bank Holiday watching television, a survey has suggested.

Two-thirds of the 2,000 adults questioned by Mintel said they would pursue this pastime on their day off.

Some 36% said they were not interested in getting involved with community events or celebrating their heritage.

James McCoy, of Mintel, said: "Brits are simply not proactive or spontaneous during their bank holidays."

Researchers found most people said they preferred to watch television or use the internet, with just 14% opting to visit their family and friends, or walk in the countryside and only 9% said they would spend the day doing DIY.

Workers in Scotland celebrated their August Bank Holiday on 4 August this year.

The survey findings follow calls for the August bank holiday to be turned into a national day to celebrate "Britishness".

National purpose?

In June, Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said the day could be used to hold street parties, show films and listen to a speech from the Queen to create a sense of unity within communities.

However, Mintel said its findings showed that public holidays "lack any real meaning beyond having a day off work" for the typical Briton.

Mr McCoy said "the fact that we don't do anything on bank holidays" could reflect a "lack of national purpose".

Monday's August Bank Holiday is the final extra day off that workers will have before Christmas Day.

And while 60% of people questioned in the survey said they wanted another day away from the office, respondents could not agree when to have one.

Some 41% of people who responded said they thought they should have a public holiday in April to celebrate St George's Day. Meanwhile 38% hoped to fill the gap between the August Bank Holiday and Christmas with a day off to mark Remembrance Day on 11 November.

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