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:


TV shows and films about politics and the monarchy

The following TV shows and films deal with aspects of British and American politics, as well as general views on political systems. They can help you gain insight into the history and traditions of those countries, as well as increase your vocabulary on the subject.

UK politics: 

Yes, Minister (1980-1984)/Yes, Prime Minister (1986-1988)- (C2)

The Thick of It (2005-2012) [includes lots of profanity and swearwords]

Love Actually (2003)

One of the many subplots the film deals with involves the British Prime Minister:

The Iron Lady (2011):

Would you like to watch the sessions of the British Parliament live? Click here for BBC Parliament.

British Monarchy: 

The Queen (2006) [B2 and upwards, fairly clear British accents]

The King’s Speech (2010) [B2 and upwards, fairly clear British accents]

The Crown (2016-) [B2 and upwards, fairly clear British accents]

A Very English Scandal (2018) [B2 and upwards, fairly clear British accents]

Years and Years (2019) [show set in Manchester, some Northern accents are noticeable]

US politics: 

All the President’s Men (1976)

The West Wing (1999-2006)

(from 1’30”)

House of Cards (2013-2018)

Veep (2012-2019)

General views on politics: 

The Great Dictator (1940):

V for Vendetta (2005) [B2 and upwards- international cast, but most of them use British English RP pronunciations, regardless of their original accents]

The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-)

Inversions after negative or restricting adverbs and for conditional clauses- examples in real language use

If you want to know how to use these expressions-typically used for emphasis-you can watch the video below:

  • No sooner had I …than
  • Seldom have I seen…
  • Little did she know…
  • Should you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact me again.
  • Had I known …I wouldn’t have…

You can find examples of these inversions in such TV shows as The Crown, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, or State of the Union:

Not only will I drive you there

Nowhere is it specified that…

Under no circumstance will you give her that engagement ring.


Never again do I want to meet anyone who’s trekked through the Andes on her own:

I wouldn’t have, had I known that complaining about the wet paper…

  • You can also find plenty of examples in the news:

Not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind. 

Only when the capsule has survived that (…) will people talk about success. 

Only then will they be able to agree to an extension. 

Never before has the Security State of Army, Police, intelligence and militias been forced to concede to the will of the people. 

Scientists (…) were prepared to cool the brains, should they show (=in case they showed) any signs of consciousness. Had they done, it would have been hugely significant. (=If they had done, …)

Rarely (in one night) can both main parties have suffered such a grim set of results. [Both the Conservatives and Labour have just lost a significant amount of votes in the recent local elections, in all likelihood as a consequence of the Brexit deadlock].

(On Theresa May standing down as Prime Minister) Perhaps, had she sought compromise much, much earlier (=if she had sought/ looked for compromise…), then Mrs May’s time in Downing Street need not have ended in such disarray and failure. 


Mary P. says she was forced into poverty when she became a full-time carer for her 30 year old son. She used to work to help people with autism before her son was diagnosed with the condition.

Nobody is going to employ me because at a moment’s notice I would have to go and deal with Adriano. And besides which, I’m exhausted. Had I been able to work to my qualifications, I would have been doing very well, thank you. I have more than enough qualifications to head a school, to be a headteacher in special education. But I will never be able to use my skills, I have to give them for free.

(Published 10.02.2019, updated 09.02.2020)

Sesión: uso eficaz de recursos audiovisuales para el aprendizaje de idiomas

El próximo miércoles, 7 de Noviembre de 2018, daré una charla en la EOI 1 de Zaragoza sobre el uso eficaz de recursos audiovisuales en el aprendizaje de idiomas. La sesión está organizada por el Departamento de actividades extraescolares de la EOI, y tendrá lugar a las 18.00 en el salón de actos.

Enlace al blog de extraescolares de la EOI

I love British TV at Christmas

Los fans de las series británicas no vamos a dar abasto estas vacaciones:

25 Diciembre: capítulo especial de Navidad de “Call the Midwife“. Imagino que al día siguiente se podrá ver en (legal, gratuito)

25 Diciembre: capítulo especial de Navidad (y, aparentemente, el último de la serie), de “Downton Abbey“. También estará disponible en

1 de Enero: capítulo especial de “Sherlock”, ambientado en el Londres victoriano de las novelas originales. (“The Abominable Bride”). Más difícil de conseguir, pero…

Además, tengo unas cuantas recomendaciones de series que me van haciendo, a ver si me da tiempo de engancharme a alguna.

Series para aprender inglés

Why I love Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig ya se emite subtitulado en español y en inglés:

Más sobre Peppa Pig: Why I love Peppa Pig.

European Survey on Language Competences (ESLC)

Lots of food for thought in this survey…

European Survey on Language Competences (ESLC)

Within the framework of the Special Eurobarometer 243 (64.3), Europeans and their languages (2006), 28,694 citizens of EU member states were asked about their experiences of and views on multilingualism. As for the everyday situation of following foreign programmes or films in their original version the data of this Eurobarometer show that in countries where subtitles are commonly used the vast majority of those polled prefer to watch foreign films and programmes in the original language. This is how 94% of Swedish and Danish and 93% of Finnish respondents answered. The Spanish, together with the French, Germans and Czechs, are among those who reject, with the highest average percentage (73%), the option of following foreign programmes and films in their original version with the help of subtitles. The study suggests that the use of subtitles can encourage and facilitate language learning.

Spanish students, who make up a sample of 2,950 individuals, are those who least practice English outside the classroom when talking with their families, listening to the radio, watching TV shows or movies in this language, or reading magazines, newspapers or books in English, and when travelling abroad.

Study on the Use of Subtitling (2011)