Brits' top news moments of 2021 revealed


Britain’s favourite news moments of 2021 include Marcus Rashford’s school dinner campaigning, Donald Trump being banned from social media and Tom Daley knitting at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, the single best piece of news of the year was the England men’s football team reaching the final of Euro 2020, as voted for by 21 percent of people in the research of 2,000 adults commissioned by digital magazine and newspaper app Readly.

Emma Raducanu winning the US Open (20 percent) was also popular, as was Piers Morgan storming off the set of Good Morning Britain (13 percent).

Other top moments of the year include Adele’s comeback, Cristiano Ronaldo going back to Manchester United, and the infamous Zoom meeting with Jackie Weaver and Handforth Parish Council, which made headlines and saw many tuning in.


And you can test your knowledge of the big events of 2021 by taking part in the ‘Readly Quiz of the Year’ here.

Behavioural Psychologist, Jo Hemmings said: “2021 has been a year of great sporting moments which has united the nation, yet continued public health issues, bizarre events and uncertainty has led to many of us experiencing highs and lows and worries about what might be coming next.

Challenges such as working from home, limited social events and fewer connections with friends and family have been evident again this year, but one thing many of us have learned is to take our fast-changing news in ‘worry windows’, on a need-to-know basis, rather than watching rolling news or being on social media all day.


We can decrease our levels of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, by listening to soothing music and immersing ourselves in a magazine or newspaper of our choice which gives us balance as well as pleasure, releasing our reward hormone, dopamine. It’s all about self-care and indulgence in difficult times.”

The One Poll study for Readly also found that eight in 10 Brits like to consider themselves up to date when it comes to current events.

And 37 percent of those working from home admit to missing the ‘water-cooler’ moments to chat to co-workers about items in the news.

Hero of the year

Marcus Rashford was named ‘hero of the year’ in the poll, picking up 31 percent of votes. He was followed closely in second place by campaigner and environmentalist David Attenborough, with tennis ace Emma Raducanu placing third.

Musicians Adele and Ed Sheeran also came in the top 10, as did Sky Brown, the 13-year-old Olympic skateboarder.

Top villains and more doom scrolling

The villain of the year, meanwhile, was former US President Donald Trump, chosen by a huge 44 per cent of adults.

Second place in that poll went to Matt Hancock AND Meghan Markle – both chosen by 33 percent of respondents, while 31 percent opted for current Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Brits estimate they have five conversations per month about big-ticket items in the news, and just under a quarter (23 percent) were moved to share a big news moment on social media.

Readly - the all-you-can-read subscription service providing unlimited access to 6300 digital magazines and newspapers in one app has reported 210,000 issues being read 120 million times in 2021. Research shows that reading makes people feel educated and informed (44%), entertained (38%) and relaxed (32%). 

However, more than half (51 percent) admit they spent more time ‘doom scrolling’ this year – reading endless negative social media comments – than they should have in 2021.

When a big piece of news does happen – for example, comedian Sean Lock passing away in August – 12 percent got that news from a broadcast on TV. Eleven percent found out through social media, seven percent read about it in a digital newspaper, magazine or on the radio and just three percent heard about it during an in-person conversation.

When it comes to topics Brits simply don’t want to hear about anymore, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle topped the list – joint with hearing about Love Island.

Four in ten of those polled are fed up with hearing about YouTube personalities – and another third don’t want to read anything else about cryptocurrencies.

Chris Crouchman, Head of Content at Readly added: There has been much appetite for news this year across our portfolio of digital magazines and newspapers.

Insights from the app show that people are also seeking inspiration and wanting to read about categories such as running, cycling and fitness, home & renovation and TV, film & cinema, however celebrity & entertainment remains the most read category among Brits this year.

Whilst there are many topics our readers want to read more on, there are certainly some we’re all pretty ready to leave behind as we look forward to a fresh start in 2022!”


1.     England getting to the final in the Euro 2020

2.     Emma Raducanu winning the US Open (tennis)

3.     Marcus Rashford's school dinner campaigning

4.     Piers Morgan walking off the Good Morning Britain set

5.     Facebook and Twitter banning Donald Trump

6.     “No Time to Die” James Bond film finally coming out

7.     Tom Daley knitting at the Olympics

8.     That Prince Harry and Meghan Markle interview with Oprah

9.     Jackie Weaver and the Handforth Parish Council

10.   Matt Hancock’s affair revelations

11.   Cristiano Ronaldo going back to Manchester United

12.   The Ever Given container ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal

13.   Adele’s comeback

14.   The #FreeBritney campaign

15.   When Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp all broke at the same time

16.   Sky Brown winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympics

17.   The “Friends” (TV show) reunion

18.   The big run up for 21st June ‘Freedom Day’ - that never happened

19.   The meme of Bernie Sanders in his mittens at Joe Biden’s inauguration

20.   Paul Rudd being named Sexiest Man Alive

21.   The rise of the sea shanties

22.   Keeping up with the Kardashians finally coming to an end

23.   The “Sex and the City” reboot

24.   Kourtney Kardashian dating Travis Barker

25.   Facebook changing its name to Meta

26.   Boris Johnson getting married

27.   GamesMaster being revived

28.   Kim and Kanye splitting up

29.   The return of the Met Gala – and Kim Kardashian’s incredible outfit

30.   The anti sex beds at the Olympics

Readly is a great way to keep up to date on the latest news and events of the year and with Christmas gift cards available, it makes the perfect xmas gift. For more information visit:


Notes to Editors:
The survey was carried out by OnePoll Panel during 6-8 December 2021 with a sample of 2000 UK adults over aged 18.

For media enquiries:
Kate Tegelaars, press contact at Readly UK
+44 (0)7879 818 711,  


About Readly

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