One in five Brits pulls sickies to keep up with binge-watch TV

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer star in spy thriller TV series 'Killing Eve'. (Credit: BBC)

A fifth of Brits have called in sick to work just so they can binge a TV show, while 80% confess to losing sleep in order to keep watching.

In a world of streaming services that churn out dozens of hours of content every week, audiences are clearly struggling to keep on top of every ‘must-see’ show on offer.

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According to a survey of 5,500 British TV viewers carried out by Radio Times, 18% of us have actually pulled a sickie specifically to indulge in an illicit streaming binge.

Netflix has become the spiritual home of the box set binge thanks to popular series like Stranger Things and House of Cards, up-ending the weekly release model that has been considered standard for decades.

Nostalgic sci-fi tale 'Stranger Things' will return for its third season on Netflix in July 2019. (Credit: Netflix)

Now, the binge-watch is so ingrained in the attitudes of culture obsessives that half of TV viewers admit to watching more than eight hours of a show in a single sitting.

The percentage rises to 75% who admit to having watched more than four hours in one go.

So intense, in fact, is the pressure to keep up with the latest shows that almost a quarter (23%) of respondents to the survey admitted they have lied about having seen a TV show just to fit in.

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The second season of the BBC’s hit thriller series Killing Eve was released in the UK over the weekend, with all eight episodes available on BBC iPlayer, so there may well be a handful of suspicious sickies this week.

Tim Glanfield, editorial director of Radio Times, said: “For many, the idea of waiting a week for a new episode or a year for a new series is the exception rather than the rule in 2019.

“Being able to discover and then devour hours (if not days) worth of one show all at once is the new norm.”