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Very British Problems - Rob Temple

Published date: 10 October 2023

Back to Article Listing 25 Years of Calendar Club

In December 2012, the Christmas lights illuminating bedroom windows dangled from rooftop gutters have elapsed their timers and fallen dark. One window remains bright however. A computer screen lights up a room displaying a newly created Twitter page adorned with an umbrella logo, marking the birth of one of the nation's most beloved social media accounts.

Fast forward 11 years, and we found ourselves on a video call with Rob Temple, the creative genius behind the Very British Problems brand. During the melting heat of British summertime, we chatted about his childhood dreams, his meteoric rise in the world of social media, and what constitutes his idea of a 'perfect' Sunday.


Ten Things British People Do

Rob's childhood dream was rather unique. He aspired to be an author of what he called a "toilet book." To him, this was the ultimate dream job. He was always drawn to writing and humour and envisioned himself as a writer, crafting joke books and amusing anecdotes. As he put it, "Weirdly enough, my ambition was always to write what you call a toilet book. That was actually my ambition when I was little. I thought that would be kind of the dream job. I was always interested in writing and jokes. I wanted to write a joke book and just be a writer."

Throughout his school years, Rob's passion for English literature remained steadfast, ultimately leading to his pursuit of an English Literature degree at Nottingham University. After graduating, he wasted no time and dove headfirst into journalism, landing his first job at 'Your Dog' magazine, focusing on practical pet care. Rob said, "I got a job at a magazine called ‘Your Dog’ magazine, talking about practical pet care. And I worked there for three years."

Rob's career trajectory shifted when he became a features editor at 'T3,' a technology magazine. It was during this time that the idea of running a social media page first crossed his mind. Inspiration struck when he stumbled upon a post titled 'Ten Things British People Do,' shared by a friend.

“When I read it, it was funny, and I thought, ‘Well, there's far more than 10 In my mind, so I'll start writing as many as I can’”, Rob recalled.

So, a week before Christmas, armed with a desktop computer and internet access, Rob created the Very British Problems Twitter account, complete with the iconic umbrella profile picture. He remembered, "I was staying for Christmas at my parents. I was sat in my dad's office, and I was just really bored. I [didn’t] really want to post as me because it just seemed alien to me, so I'll post as this umbrella and just kind of write about my awkward situations.

"My dad [came] in, it was about midnight, and he said, 'Come on, get off the computer. Get to bed I want to shut the house down,' which basically just means locking the front door. I finished making this Twitter page. And then I posted the first joke and went to bed."

In just six weeks, the Very British Problems Twitter account had amassed over 100,000 followers, marking the beginning of a sensational journey. In Rob's own words, "It just went bananas very quickly." 


A Very British Journey

From 100,000 followers in a month to four million across his social channels in just over a decade, Rob Temple has built a brand that has captured the quintessential essence of being British.

Now with over ten years of experience writing Very British Problems, we wondered if Rob ever had to change or adapt his style of writing or the way he generates ideas.

Rob told us, “I haven't really changed anything in that respect, but lots of opportunities have popped up around it, including lovely calendars!"

Beyond Very British Problems, Rob's success in the online sphere has made him a sought-after expert in content creation. He emphasises the importance of prioritising quality content, asserting that strategies and marketing should revolve around it. As he shared, "So many people forget that the content is the most important thing. They’ve got all these strategies and marketing, and someone even said to me, we want you to help with the overall vision. We won’t get you to write the actual jokes because anyone can write the jokes, and I thought they’ve got that the wrong way around."

Rob's humour is driven by a simple goal – making people laugh. He often has his parents, wife, and himself in mind when crafting jokes. His mum's imaginative and quirky way of speaking and his dad's straightforward demeanour both contribute to the mix of British humour that defines his work. As he explained, "I'm trying to make my mom and dad laugh. And you know, quite a few are based around their sort of habits and behaviour. I've learned a lot from trying to try and make my wife laugh, always. And she gives me lots of ideas for tweets and, you know, she kind of monitors our social situations as well and picks up on a lot of stuff."

Reflecting on his career, Rob identifies the creation of the Very British Problems Twitter feed as a pivotal moment. He also acknowledges the significant impact of giving up alcohol two years ago, a decision that has positively affected his life. He said, "I suppose it would be starting the Twitter feed. And giving up alcohol two years ago, that was a turning point as well. I can't recommend it enough. Two years ago, I gave up and I was 38 at the time. But you know, I always look at it with regards to how much I did go out and drink in my 20s and 30s. And I just think well I've had my allocation."

You can read more about Rob's journey with sobriety in his interview with The Telegraph.

Rob Temple's 'Very British Problems' captures the essence of British culture in 120 characters or less, providing daily comfort and relatability for people across the nation. His opportunistic approach and observant style of comedy have become a daily comfort for British people, like a cup of tea or a good sit down.

It's no surprise that his perfect Sunday is a quintessentially British affair, “My perfect Sunday is waking up around 11 am, getting the Sunday papers, sitting on the sofa with some biscuits and some tea until about 11 pm, and then going to bed.”

For more doses of British humour, you can explore Rob's Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, where he continues to share the quirks and charms of everyday British life.


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