British TV shows I’ve been watching lately

These are some recent British/Irish TV shows I have been watching/re-watching lately, and which I thought were worth recommending:

You may also like these comedies:

You may also be  interested in this:

Further ideas:

(Updated 15.3.20)

Christmas ads 2019

Christmas is around the corner. In the run-up to Christmas, businesses and brands release their very best ads, typically tearjerkers, to catch consumers off-guard and lure them to shop till they drop. I’m well aware of their persuasion strategies, of course. And yet, every year I find myself having a look at British Christmas ads, as they tend to be longer, and usually tell a story, which will allow me to exploit them in the classroom even further than ordinary ads. This is a selection of the ones I liked the most this year:

VISA

a rendition of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ by real shopkeepers struggling to survive in the high street.

Extended version

Alternative version- shopkeepers singing All I Want for Xmas is you

Sainsbury’s– Nicholas the Sweep

Set in Dickensian London, it showcases the story of a waif-an orphan child and chimney sweep, unfairly accused of stealing.

Resources: the ad is set in Victorian England/Dickensian London. Some related vocabulary may be useful to start with:

Click on the image to open the word cloud. Links to definitions can be found by clicking on each word.

  • What do you mean when you say that somebody is ‘rotten to the core’?
  • The story is told by a 3rd-person narrator. How would you narrate the story using 1st-person narrative…
          • a. from Mrs Sainsbury’s point of view? 
          • b. from Nicholas the sweep’s point of view?
  • Imagine the story were to be published as a book. How would you retell it?

John Lewis & Waitrose– Excitable Edgar

Resources to use the ad in the classroom:

Fortnum and Mason– What’s in a Fortnum and Mason hamper? (list of traditional Christmas foods and elements in Britain)

Watch the ad and write down as many foods, gifts and Christmas traditions as you can.

Aldi-Kevin the Carrot #4 (Let Me Entertain You):

Resources to use the ad in the classroom: The Literacy Shed

Sky– ET came home for Christmas

Joules– Wallace and Gromit

Iceland supermarkets– Frozen II

Lidl

M&S Christmas Food (Christmas market)

Smyths toys– If I Were a Toy

Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day– You may want to take part in this…

Further resources:

Queen landmarks in London

You can find below a map with London areas related to the rock band Queen. It includes some of their former homes, as well as landmarks in their career (for example, the venue where they played their first ever gig).

Red Nose Day 2019- its ups and downs

Last Friday 15th March it was Red Nose Day (RND) in the UK, this massive BBC telethon aimed at raising funds for the charity Comic Relief. (More about it here).

In the run-up to RND sponsors and partners filled supermarkets and British high streets with merchandise…

…and I was only too happy to oblige, by acquiring yet another red nose, and a ceramic travel mug.

So I felt terribly guilty when, first thing in the morning on RND, I woke up to this news:

There were also reactions on Twitter about the issue:


To make matters worse, RND fell on a Friday, coinciding with a Fridays for Future strike.

Anyway, I still sat down in the evening to watch the telethon live online. Needless to say, the spotlight of the evening was the sequel to Four Weddings and a Funeral, 25 years after its release. The cast includes most of the original actors and actresses, as well as Lily James and Alicia Vikander.

‘One Red Nose and a Wedding’:

Other sketches of the evening included a spoof of Mamma Mia- Here We Go Again, featuring Jennifer Saunders, Carey Mulligan (Suffragette) and comedian Miranda Hart.

 

Listening- David Bowie dismissed by the BBC

Listen to this report about David Bowie’s early years as an artist, and then fill in the gaps with up to four words. You can listen to it twice.

Open form in a new window 

After submitting your answers, you can self-check whether you were right or not.

Then, you can also listen again and read the transcript, paying attention to interesting vocabulary.

 

Bowie’s birth home in Brixton, London

Mural outside Morley’s, opposite Brixton tube station, which became a sort of shrine to Bowie after his death.

WAGOLL- film review: Mary Poppins Returns

To model writing a film review, I wanted to show my students ‘what a good one looks like’ (WAGOLL). I decided to use this review for Mary Poppins Returns.  In this case, it may not have been the best review I could find, but it served the purpose of illustrating the typical structure of a review.

I also wanted to provide students with the same explanations I would give them if I was explaining the positive points of the review in class. Even if I did go through them during classroom instruction, having an online document allowed them to access the information again, or for the first time if they had been unable to attend that particular session.

That is why I decided to create a Pages document on my iPad. First, I annotated it (highlighting relevant keywords, or underlining structural elements); then, I took a screenshot of the document, to get an image file, and uploaded it to Thinglink (open link in new tab here). Thinglink allows you to create interactive, media-rich images and videos, by adding text, audio, video, and/or links to specific parts of the image.

On the left-hand side of the document, headings to the paragraphs were added: that way, students can check the structure of the review. On the right-hand side, audio comments for each of the paragraphs were included, with a view to providing further clarification, or the reasons why some language resources and expressions had been/can be used.

This was the annotated/enhanced review (click on the picture to access all the interactive features):

Writing reviews- examples in real contexts

In this video you can find real examples of positive comments and adjectives to describe theatre plays and musicals. Many of these adjectives could be used as well to describe films or even books.

The pictures of the billboards were taken in London’s West End only some days ago to illustrate the language related to this topic in real use. Bear in mind, however, that these are all examples of rave reviews (extremely positive reviews), as they want to attract potential audiences.

pdf file of the slides here.

Some of the flyers we’ve used:

Remember you can use some of these tips to improve your writing tasks: