Greater than the sum of their parts?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 09, 2018, 11:51 AM GMT+0

YouGov Ratings explores what actors and musicians are more popular than the TV shows and bands they formed a part of

As the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said: “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”. This might be true when applied to, say, a pile of construction materials vs the finished house made from them, but does it hold up when applied to popular culture?

Now we at YouGov have used data from our new YouGov Ratings system to see whether various TV shows and bands are more well-liked than the actors and artists who made them what they are.

Friends: the stars vs the show

Having experienced something of a ‘Frienaissance’ after Netflix started streaming the show at the beginning of the year, YouGov Ratings can reveal that just over half of Britons (54%) have a positive view of the show. Only one of the ‘Friends’ has surpassed the show in public opinion terms: Jennifer Aniston. Two thirds (67%) of people have a positive view of Aniston. Matt Le Blanc and Courteney Cox are held in equal esteem (51% and 51% respectively), while Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow are less popular, at 49%, 47% and 45% respectively.

The Beatles: the band vs the members

While John Lennon once described the band as “more popular than Jesus”, no one Beatle proves more popular than the band. Almost three quarters of Brits (73%) like The Beatles, but the most popular band member – John – lags behind on 64%. He in turn finds himself noticeably more popular than former band mates Paul (56%), George (53%) and Ringo (48%).

Queen: the band vs the members

Queen are the UK’s most popular band, with 80% of Brits having a favourable view of the group. With the newly released movie Bohemian Rhapsody charting Freddie Mercury’s life, we may see some movement in the front man’s standing over the next weeks, but for now he is slightly less popular than the band itself at 76%. Brian May, the only other original Queen member currently on Ratings, is liked by 60% of Brits.

Rolling Stones: the band vs the members

Like their rivals in the Beatles, no member of the Rolling Stones is more popular than the band as a whole. While 61% of people like the band, the most popular member – Mick Jagger – only scores 49% himself. Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards are even further behind on only 38% and 37% respectively (largely as a result of people being less familiar with them).

Monty Python: the group vs the members

The quintessential British comic troupe, Monty Python has been eclipsed by two of its members. Michael Palin and John Cleese are more popular than the group, at 63% and 62% respectively compared to 58% for Monty Python itself. While far fewer people say they like the other members, this is down to the fact that they are much less well known. While only 91% of Brits have heard of Cleese, 86% are aware of Palin and 93% know of Monty Python collectively, these figures plummet to just 71% for Eric Idle, 57% for Terry Gilliam, 46% for Terry Jones and 44% for Graham Chapman.

Spice Girls: the band vs the members

The Ratings data confirms what YouGov found in our previous Spice Girls survey: that Baby Spice is the most popular Spice Girl. Nevertheless, with 39% of Brits having a favourable opinion of Emma Bunton, she is not bigger than the band which is liked by 41% of people. The next most popular Spice Girl is Ginger, at 31%, followed by Scary on 27% and Posh on 24%. (Mel C is currently not on Ratings but will be shortly).

Only Fools and Horses: the stars vs the show

A recent YouGov survey found that Only Fools and Horses comes third in the list of TV shows that Britons would most like to see brought back. The show is still widely beloved, with 76% of Brits saying they like it. Almost as popular is Del Boy actor David Jason, with 75% of people liking the show’s main star. Rodney actor Nicholas Lyndhurst is notably less popular, although still boasting a respectable 69% of people who hold a favourable view of him.

Keeping up with the Kardashians: the stars vs the show

Both the stars and the show are held in roughly equal low esteem by the British public. Only 11% of people have a positive opinion of the show, and that the most popular star – Kylie Jenner – is only approved of by 14% of people. Kendall Jenner and Khloe Kardashian are only liked by 12%, while Kourtney and Kim are as unpopular as the show, with only 11% having favourable opinions of them.

Photo: NBC

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