Blink and you'll miss it

Posted June 5, 2007 - Features

Sharon Stone’s ‘did she or didn’t she’ flashing scene in Basic Instinct has beaten Sir Geoff Hurst’s ‘did he or didn’t he’ crossbar influenced strike in the 1966 World Cup Final to top a poll of the nation’s most paused TV moments.

The screen siren’s uncrossing and crossing of her legs during the controversial police interrogation scene proved to be the TV moment that had Brits reaching for the pause button, from the worlds of film, sports, comedy, music and news.

The poll of 1,500 TV addicts was commissioned to mark the launch of Freeview Playback, the new digital TV recorder which allows viewers to pause, record and rewind live TV, but without the need for a subscription.

National treasure Sir Geoff took second place, with England’s crucial third World Cup Final goal against West Germany that was deemed to have crossed the line.

Delboy Trotter falling through the bar during the classic ‘Yuppy Love’ episode of Only Fools and Horses took the third spot, narrowly beating Maradona’s bitterly remembered Hand of Goal against England in the 1986 World Cup Quarter Finals in Mexico.

Further classic TV moments that demanded spots in the final freeze frame list were John Prescott’s instinctive left hook after an egg in the face from a voter, (fifth spot) and Judy Finnigan nearly exposing all at the National TV Awards (seventh place).

Music legend Jarvis Cocker’s famous bum waggling at Michael Jackson during the 1996 Brits brought him ninth place, whilst film buffs enjoying the 30th anniversary of Star Wars this year, ensured that a Storm Trooper banging its head in the 1977 film Star Wars also completed the final ten.

Just missing out on the top ten was the cast of the Full Monty doing the ‘Full Monty’ and the now infamous Guy Goma, with his ‘rabbit in headlights’ facial expression on BBC News 24. He was introduced live on air as a technology expert, when he had actually turned up expecting to be interviewed for a job in the BBC’s IT Dept (2006).

Colin Firth emerging dripping wet from a lake whilst playing Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Patrick Swayze’s nudity in Dirty Dancing continue to set hearts fluttering amongst the female voters, and took the top spots in the women’s top 5.

The men’s top 5 was topped by the classic Sharon Stone moment, followed by Delboy, a Stormtrooper banging its head when entering the control room in the original Star Wars film, Sir Geoff Hurst’s strike and finally the steamy clinch between Sara Michelle Geller and Selma Blair in Cruel Intentions. 71% of men also admitted that they liked to pause their favourite moments alone…

The survey also reveals a fascinating insight into the nation’s TV habits with:

  • 1 in 5 of us admitting to watching over 20 hours of TV a week
  • 21% of men admitted to watching twice the amount of TV compared to women, with a further 30% sticking to type by admitting that the moments they would most like to pause involved either sport or sex
  • Three quarters of the UK would like to be able to pause live TV, but don’t want to be tied to a subscription to do so
  • 67% of us using the pause TV button when they need to make a trip to the bathroom or to make a brew and 17% hitting the pause button two to five times during a programme
  • Most of us are likely to pause moments during TV dramas, cooking programmes and sporting events, compared to the news and lottery results

Ilse Howling, General Manager from Freeview, said: “We’re seeing a genuine growth in demand to be able to pause live TV and the introduction of Freeview Playback, will ensure that people can not only pause, record and rewind live TV without a subscription, but they can revisit a live historic, iconic, jaw dropping TV moment with ease.”

Across the regions, viewers in Scotland, admitted to watching the most TV in the country with 32% admitting that they spent more than 20 hours a week in front of the box. They were closely followed by 25% of viewers in the South East and North East who also admitted to watching this level of TV every week.

News hungry viewers in London (17%), the Midlands (16%) and the North West (20%) admitted that they would be most likely to pause a TV moment due to its topical nature, compared to telly addicts in the North East, Scotland and Ireland who confessed that they would freeze frame their TV if a sexy moment hit their screens.

The Top 10 most paused TV moments of the past 40 years:

  1. Sharon Stone uncrossing and crossing her legs in Basic Instinct 1992 (20%)
  2. Sir Geoff Hurst’s cross bar influenced goal in the 1966 World Cup Final (14%)
  3. David Jason falling through the bar as Delboy in Only Fools and Horses 1989 (12%)
  4. Maradona’s Hand of God goal against England in the 1986 World Cup Quarter Final (11%)
  5. John Prescott punching the man who threw an egg at him (2001) (10%)
  6. Colin Firth emerging from the lake in Pride and Prejudice 1995 (9%)
  7. Judy Finnigan very nearly goes topless at National TV Awards 2000 (7%)
  8. Patrick Swayze nudity in Dirty Dancing 1987 (6%)
  9. Jarvis Cocker waggling his bum at Michael Jackson at the 1996 Brits (5%)
  10. Stormtrooper in Star Wars bangs its head when entering the control room 1977 (4%)

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