TV Licensing survey reveals over 100 names for the TV remote, with viewers wielding the ‘Panic Button’, ‘Fat Enhancer’ and ‘Ronnie Remote’

In living rooms across the nation people use an extensive list of words to describe the remote control, a survey carried out by TV Licensing1 reveals.

The top moniker for remote control is simply ‘Remote’, with ‘Doofer’ or ‘Doofah’ in second place and ‘Zapper’ in third place. The survey also shows a marked increase in slang used across the country, with more than 100 regional variations identified. Names favoured in Scotland were ‘Gizmo’, the ‘Whatcha-ma-call–it’ in Wales and the ‘Zapper’ in Northern Ireland.

Spokesperson for TV Licensing Jason Hill suggested the broad array of terms reflected the diversity of UK communities and the change in the way people are watching TV.

Three years ago, research identified around 50 pet names for the remote control2, but as the way we watch TV diversifies, it’s natural our language will adapt according to new behaviours and ways of watching.
 
You need to be covered by a licence if you watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. This applies to any device you use.
 
With TV companies looking to pioneer smartphone controlled apps, we’re likely to see the “remote” evolve even further over the coming years, he said.
 

People are struggling to keep tabs on the location of their remotes, with one in three households now boasting at least four channel changers. Viewers in Northern Ireland are the most absent-minded in the United Kingdom, with over half of those surveyed misplacing it at least four times a year. Adults in the East Midlands, by contrast, are the UK’s most careful with over half claiming they haven’t lost their remote in the past 12 months3.

As so many programmes are available on demand, it certainly can be difficult to agree on what to watch. Everyone in a household will have their own favourite programmes, and it is all about compromise.
 
We would always prefer people to pay than risk a fine or prosecution. We offer a wide range of payment methods and options to help spread the cost and suit people’s needs. These can all be set up quickly and easily online on the TV Licensing site or by phone on 0300 790 6113.

 

The top 20 names for the remote control in 2016:

  • 1. Remote (or The Remote)
  • 2. Doofah (Doofer)
  • 3. Zapper
  • 4. Clicker
  • 5. Flicker
  • 6. Thing-a-ma-jig
  • 7. Switcher
  • 8. Whatcha-ma-call-it
  • 9. The Controller (or The Controls)
  • 10. Gizmo
  • 11. Button (or Buttons)
  • 12. Gadget
  • 13. The Box (or TV Box)
  • 14. The Changer
  • 15. Dibber
  • 16. Bleeper
  • 17. Blipper (or Bleeper)
  • 18. Doodah
  • 19. Flipper
  • 20. Plonker

And the other 80-plus names from across the UK…

 
80 most used names for TV remote by city and region
Name
City
Region
Bat
Plymouth
South West
Beep Beeps
Oxford
South East
Blaster
Bristol
South West
Blodger
Hull
Yorkshire and the Humber
Bopper
Wolverhampton
West Midlands
Calc
Newcastle
North East
Calculator
Belfast
Northern Ireland
Chaneller
Portsmouth
South East
Channel Changer
Swansea
Wales
Chopper
Southampton
South East
Click Clack
Newcastle
North East
Clicky
Inverness
Scotland
Cloncker
Birmingham
West Midlands
Control Panel
Stoke
West Midlands
Control Stick
Cambridge
East of England
Dib Dob
Peterborough
East of England
Diba Dabba
Brighton
South East
Dicker Docker
Leicester
East Midlands
Diddler
Plymouth
South West
Diddly Do
Southampton
South East
Didgey
Wrexham
North West
Dinger
Inverness
Scotland
Dip Dap
Portsmouth
South East
Ditter
Aberdeen
Scotland
Ditty
Wrexham
Wales
DoDe
Plymouth
South West
Doflicker
Portsmouth
South East
Donker
Leicester
East Midlands
Donker
Ipswich
East of England
Doobry
Cambridge
East of England
Doobry
Norwich
East of England
Doobry
Edinburgh
Scotland
Doodlestick
Craigavon
Northern Ireland
Doof
Southampton
South East
Doofar
Peterborough
East of England
Doofrey
Wolverhampton
West Midlands
Doosher
Stirling
Scotland
Doot-doot
Derry/ Londonderry
Northern Ireland
Doo-ve-whacker
Newcastle
North East
Fat Controller
Southampton
South West
Fat Enhancer
Edinburgh
Scotland
Flicker Dicker
Derry/ Londonderry
Northern Ireland
Flicky
Dundee
Scotland
Flickybox
Manchester
North West
Frank
Peterborough
East of England
Gun
Manchester
North West
Hamburger
Dundee
Scotland
Hoofah Doofer
Peterborough
East Midlands
Hoofer Doofer
Cambridge
East of England
Hurdy Gurdy
Plymouth
South West
Husband's Toy
Lincoln
East Midlands
Jigger
Brighton
South East
Jigger
Cardiff
Wales
Jobber
Nottingham
East Midlands
Jobber
Swansea
Wales
Knobs
Bristol
South West
Mote
Derry/ Londonderry
Northern Ireland
Mote
Portsmouth
South East
Mote
Worcester
West Midlands
Note
Cardiff
Wales
Oobrie doobie
Derby
East Midlands
Oofa Doofa
Ipswich
East of England
Panic Button
Cardiff
Wales
Plinker
Edinburgh
Scotland
Plinker
Oxford
South East
Pointything
Ipswich
East of England
Presser
Peterborough
East Midlands
Presser
Cardiff
Wales
Rem Rom
Derby
East Midlands
Remington
Norwich
East of England
Remoter
Derry/ Londonderry
Northern Ireland
Romo
Aberdeen
Scotland
Ronnie Remote
Stoke
North West
Sky Box
Craigavon
Northern Ireland
Stick
Leeds
Yorkshire and the Humber
Telly Commander
Belfast
Northern Ireland
Telly Control
Sheffield
Yorkshire and the Humber
Telly-mote
Lincoln
East Midlands
Tellything
Cardiff
Wales
The Black Box
Brighton
South East
The Mote
Belfast
Northern Ireland
The Stick
Southampton
South East
The Thing
Oxford
South East
The Wizard Stick
Dundee
Scotland
Thing
Sheffield
Yorkshire and the Humber
Thingy
Bristol
South West
Thingy
Bristol
South West
Thingy
Worcester
West Midlands
Thingy
Sheffield
Yorkshire and the Humber
Turny-over Machine
Wolverhampton
West Midlands
TV Gun
Aberdeen
Scotland
TV Thing
Lincoln
East Midlands
Wand
Inverness
Scotland
Widger
Lincoln
East Midlands
Widget
Derby
East Midlands
Wotsit
Bristol
South West
Wotsit
Swansea
Wales
  1. Online survey carried out by One Poll on behalf of TV Licensing, 3,800 online participants, September-October 2016
  2. According to a survey of 1,000 people conducted by netvouchercodes.co.uk, published in September 2013
  3. Online survey of 1000 UK adults, carried out 8-12 October 2016

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