This is almost literally true, if you compare the washed-out colour tones on, I dunno, The Bill or something to pretty much any American TV. The Aussie soaps are the same (edit: bright and saturated like American TV, I mean) - I remember channel-surfing as a kid and realizing I could instantly tell if I'd happened across Neighbours, even without recognising any of the cast or hearing anyone speak.Ballard said something in an interview I don't have to hand about how for a British person visiting America is like going from black and white to technicolour or something. This was decades ago and obviously our society is much more Americanised now but I wouldn't be surprised if it still applies to some extent. Everything seems turned up in America. That might be the distorting lens of the media, but that lens has probably distorted reality itself.
I think things were a lot more relaxed a long time ago, but the story I heard was that modern opening hours legislation was brought in during WWI, so that the women and the non-fighting men in the munitions factories would be at work on time the next morning, and not hung-over. And it just never got fully repealed in the 100+ years since the war ended.why is it everything closes so early?
The thing is, in London you can always go out late if you want to. But yeah, you need to plan it a bit more than you do here (for instance). Although there was a movement in the right direction for a while.