Britain Stuck In Lockdown Limbo

Lockdown Awks

Thursday 13 May 2021

81% anxious over lifting of lockdown restrictions and return to normal life

Top 10 social situations we fear the most revealed

  • Millions of Brits suffering from new phenomenon of 'post-lockdown anxiety'
  • 81% are daunted by the return to 'normality' and resuming work and social lives
  • Top 10 social situations we are dreading include returning to the office, visiting the in-laws and dating in the real world
  • Being able to wear what we want, slower pace of everyday life, and time spent as a family unit are what we will miss most from lockdown
  • In response to the findings, TV Channel Dave have partnered with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and created conversational cue cards to aid social situations during Mental Health Awareness Week
  • Comics from the channel including Darren Harriott, Stevie Martin, Ahir Shah, Ania Magliano and Seann Walsh have also created self-help style videos about returning to normality

Four-in-five (81%) of British adults are feeling socially apprehensive as lockdown ends according to a new study released today.

The nation's social worry is set to peak this week and next, as we can start seeing people inside, stay over at friends and families' houses, go to restaurants and pubs properly and meet up in large groups outside.

The research, commissioned by UKTV's leading comedy entertainment channel Dave, reveals that many of us are exhibiting symptoms of 'post lockdown anxiety' as we become increasingly apprehensive about re-entering real life social situations following a year spent confined and communicating via phones and screens.

Over three-quarters (76%) of Brits admit to being nervous about interacting with people in real life once lockdown ends. Our nerves are further accentuated by the prospect of attending larger social and sporting events, with all restrictions being fully eased in just over a month's time

The study pinpoints the ten social situations that are giving rise to the most anxiety and has led a series of self-help style videos from some of Dave's comedy friends to help people reintegrate into society which leverage humour to get the message across.

Top social situations Brits are dreading:

  1. Greeting etiquette (wave? shake hands? elbow bump?) - 44%
  2. Going to a party of more than six people - 32%
  3. Interaction with staff and fellow diners in restaurants - 28%
  4. Work meetings and presentations in real life (and not via a screen) - 26%
  5. Trying clothes on in a shop - 25%
  6. Going back to the dentist - 24%
  7. Long overdue visit with the in-laws - 23%
  8. Mixing with randomers at a festival or a gig - 20%
  9. Making small talk with a hairdresser - 19%
  10. Dating... in person! - 16%

Sheer uncertainty as to how to greet people in person topped the list following a year of family zooms and work teams calls, closely followed by partying with more than six people and how we interact with staff and fellow diners when enjoying a meal out. Tellingly, almost two-thirds (65%) of us admit that we are going to miss having the 'mute' button in real life situations.

The study also shows at least half (51%) of us plan on adding some embellishments to our stories when asked 'so what have you been up to?' to try and make our past year seem more interesting.

We're also set to struggle to know what to talk about, with well over four-in-ten (42%) of us not knowing what to say each other when meeting in-person. Shockingly, almost half of us (47%) won't know what to say to extended family after over a year of not seeing them properly.

In true British fashion, three-quarters (76%) of us admit that we will revert to talking about the weather if we're unsure what to say when we're back out in social situations.

In response, Dave has teamed up with suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and a host of comedians to create five witty video tutorials giving top tips for how to successfully navigate these social interactions without trepidation.

The videos, which feature Darren Harriott; Stevie Martin, Ania Magliano, Ahir Shah, and Seann Walsh deal with everything from work meetings in person; to remembering how to dance in public; to tips on how to quietly leave a social situation without being noticed.

The short films form part of Dave and CALM's reintegration guide for people that are worried about having to interact with other humans after a year of screen time. The guide also includes a unique set of conversational cue cards, which give tips on conversation starters in real life, and are deigned to help break the ice as we emerge from lockdown.

Top Tips from the videos include: Pub etiquette, how to adapt back to the commute and how to talk to strangers

Dave's Guide to Coming Out Of Lockdown | Dave and CALM

Furthermore, the research also revealed the things we really enjoyed about lockdown, further emphasising how we may struggle with life returning to normality.

We've loved being able to wear what we want at home, with no worries about dressing up for social occasions. Additionally, Brits have savoured the slower pace of everyday life at home, along with being able to save money and spending time alone as a family unit.

In fact a whopping two-thirds (67%) of Brits have found themselves at times grateful for not having to see friends or family.

Top best things about lockdown:

  1. Being able to wear whatever you want at home and for work - 35%
  2. Slower pace of everyday life - 33%
  3. Saving money - 32%
  4. Time spent alone as a family unit - 32%
  5. Working from home - 25%
  6. Taking up new hobbies - 21%
  7. Discovering more about one's local area via daily walks - 20%
  8. Not having to make small talk with people throughout the day - 20%
  9. Improving cookery skills - 16%
  10. Being able to mute irritating people on video calls - 14%

The conversational cue cards will also cover the best things about lockdown, to help people find common ground after a year of video chat and time spent with just immediate family.

Steve North, UKTV's genre general manager said,

Coming out of lockdown is stressful for the best of us. We've been talking into a screen for the better part of a year and many are worried about having to interact in real life. Gone are the days of being able to mute someone on Zoom or blame bad internet when you want to sneak out of an event. Dave is all about bringing people together to have a laugh - and we're thrilled to be working with CALM to help encourage people to start having real life conversations again following an extraordinary year of lockdown.

Simon Gunning, CEO, CALM said,

There's no denying lockdown has had an huge impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. In the 365 days following the first lockdown the CALM helpline has answered over 147,000 calls and chats. That is a call for help every 62 seconds, with chats and messages exchanged around topics such as isolation, anxiety, relationship concerns, health worries, financial stress and suicidal thoughts. After being stuck indoors for so long, having the ability to see your mates at the pub, visit our families and get out of the house is great. But understandably for many it might be uncomfortable getting back into the swing of things. We're all on different timeframes, so It's important not to expect too much. Humour is a great way to make people feel at ease and we're delighted to be partnering with Dave to raise awareness, encourage people to talk more, and accept its ok not to be ok.



For more information, please contact:

Alex Butler at Taylor Herring / 07584163875

Images can be downloaded HERE

About Dave

Freeview 19, Sky 111, Virgin 127, YouView 19, Freesat 157, BT & TalkTalk 19 On demand on UKTVPlay Ever since it was knee high to a TV remote, Dave had an idea. It wanted to be the first place viewers would come for brand-new, award-winning entertainment from the biggest and brightest stars and production companies in the UK. And in the years since, it has launched some of the most exciting and best-loved titles on TV.

There are names like BAFTA and Emmy-nominated Taskmaster, Judge Romesh, Hypothetical, Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier and Comedians Giving Lectures. And of course there's Dave Gorman, whose inquisitive mind is returning to the channel for Terms and Conditions Apply. It's not just in front of the camera where the comic genius lies either, with a wealth of scripted treasure such as Sliced, Porters and the globally popular Red Dwarf.

Dave's not content just to make you laugh and share gags with your mates though. Expedition with Steve Backshall and Hurricane Man are showing you regions and aspects of the earth never before seen on TV. Red Bull Soapbox continues to delight with its boundless capacity for invention. And stepping away from the TV entirely, Dave's partnered with CALM to launch the "Be The Mate You'd Want" campaign and the "Conversations Against Living Miserably" podcast.

Reaching 20million viewers a month, Dave's come a long way, but it's only just getting warmed up. / @davechannel

About UKTV

UKTV has been at the forefront of branded television for over 25 years, entertaining the nation with programmes they love. Its leading brands - Dave, Gold, W, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday - span comedy, entertainment, natural history, factual and drama, and are delivered to audiences through UKTV Play, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat and Amazon Fire. The broadcaster is a significant investor in British creativity and is committed to working with new and established writers, directors and programme-makers.

UKTV is part of BBC Studios, the UK's most-awarded production company, a world-class distributor with international branded services, and a commercial subsidiary of the world's leading public service broadcaster, the BBC. | | @uktvpress


Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide through vital, life-saving support and collective action. If you're struggling, talk to CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (UK) or through their webchat. Their trained support workers are available from 5pm to midnight every day to provide practical support and advice, whatever you're going through.

To find out more visit