A Christmas Courtyard

British culture is influenced by the combined nations' history; its historically Christian religious life, its interaction with the cultures of Europe, the traditions of England, Wales and Scotland, and the impact of the British Empire. Although British culture is a distinct entity, the individual cultures of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are diverse and have varying degrees of overlap and distinctiveness.British literature is particularly esteemed. The novel was invented in Britain, and playwrights, poets, and authors are among its most prominent cultural figures. Britain has also made notable contributions to music, cinema, art, architecture and television. The UK is also the home of the Church of England, the state church and mother church of the Anglican Communion, the third-largest Christian denomination. Britain contains some of the world's oldest universities, has made many contributions to philosophy, science and technology, and is the birthplace of many prominent scientists and inventions. The Industrial Revolution began in the UK and had a profound effect on the family socio-economic and cultural conditions of the world. As a result of the British Empire significant British influence can be observed in the language, law, culture and institutions of its former colonies, most of which are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. A subset of these states form the Anglosphere, and are among Britain's closest allies. British colonies and dominions influenced British culture in turn, particularly British cuisine. Sport is an important part of British culture, and numerous sports originated in the country including football. The UK has been described as a "cultural superpower", and London has been described as a world cultural capital. A global opinion poll for the BBC saw the UK ranked the third most positively viewed nation in the world (behind Germany and Canada) in 2013 and 2014.