Realise or Realize S or Z?

Question:I'm English and I was taught to spell words like emphasise and realise with an s. I wonder why this is and whether it is a firm rule in British English. Something tells me it isn't - Colin Dexter in the Inspector Morse books uses Z.

Can anyone point me at a ruling or should I should spell them anyway I like.

I emphasise and realise too! The spell checker on here is American and it really annoys me when it stops on words I know I have spelt correctly.
I would spell them with an S as the Z is an american way of spelling. Keep British and spell them with an S!
If you are British, use an "s;" that way we can tell you are not from the USA.
SSSSSSSSSSS - Z is American!!
Z is a bit American for my liking. I was taught to use an S like you but nowadays it doesn't matter - considering my version of MS word accepts both.

Have you noticed when choosing languages for some computer programs it says English (US) - there's loads of americanisms in todays British culture. Carry on using an S and together we'll fight back!
Z is not American. As Colin Dexter has said on a number of occasions, it is the Oxford - preferred method of spelling.
realize did spell check and it is spell correctly. realise spelled checked and it corrects it to be spelled realize.
use the z in the us, u dont see us americans spelling defense with a c, do u? lol
I went to an American school where i was taught to spell realize with a "z"

I then moved to an English school were they taught me to write it with an "s".

There is no rule. . just one is American, and one is English. I write both, depending on who i'm writing it for.

Its similar with these words too:
Colour (Eng) and Color (US)
Centre (Eng) and Center (US)
Litre (Eng) and Liter (US)
Favourite (Eng) and Favorite (US)
I prefer s myself, but it's a myth that z is American. The Times newspaper, for example, has always used z - for over 200 years - and in many ways it's always been seen as one of the arbiters of the English language.

I seem to recall that the OED allows both. I think both are completely acceptable, and you should use whichever seems better to you - or adopt the style of the publication you are writing for.
I was taught that I could use either the s or the z as I preferred. I use the z for emphasise and the s or realise. Educated in England and I do not agree to changing the s[pelling of colour to color or using american English. English is the languageof the English people and it has been corrupted in the USA
It is realize. English spelling became incompatible with its spelling during the Great Vowel Change and formation of Early Modern English around the 14th and 15th centuries; however, S rarely makes a "Z" sound in English. Also, American spelling and British spelling sometimes differ a(i.e.color, colour) due to separate standardization in 1755 and 1828 of spelling in America and England respectively.
I'm English but use Z
s. I've only seen it spelled with a 'z' in North America.
The English spelling is "-ise".

"-ize" is American spelling.
Current practice is for UK English to use -ise and American to use -ize.

It's quite fun to see so many harumphs from contributors tha -ise is the correct way because it's the British way. Actually, -ize was almost universally used in England until, for whatever reason -ise entered the game. The ones holding true to traditional spelling in this case are the Americans.

Another fun example is aluminium. The Americans use aluminum. When Humphrey Davy discovered and named the metal he called it aluminum; the Royal Society changed this to aluminium to conform to the currently known elements. English snobbery against truth and common sense again.

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