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Lesson Transcript

Gabriella: Hi, I’m Gabriella.
Gina: And I’m Gina. Top Five Things You Need to Know About British Pop Culture.
Gabriella: British pop culture…. this is my specialist subject!
Gina: Is it? I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say then!
Gabriella: It’s such a big topic that is always changing though, so I think we should point out that we’re recording this lesson in June 2013.
Gina: Yeah, so if you listen to this in the future and wonder who we’re talking about or why someone obvious is missing, it’s probably due to when it was recorded.
Gabriella: Yes. But, let’s move on. I think we should talk about popular TV first.
Gina: Okay. What is British TV like? I think that the BBC are pretty well known world wide…
Gabriella: Yeah, the BBC broadcasts several TV and radio stations, but there are also commercial competitors and also satellite and cable operators that have some great technology.
Gina: Like what?
Gabriella: They’ve been broadcasting in HD and 3D for several years now. There are many interactive services too, so you can play quizzes or change camera angle, for example.
Gina: Wow. What about popular TV shows?
Gabriella: The most popular shows are typically long-running soap operas that are broadcast several times a week, like Coronation Street and Eastenders. Other popular shows are dramas, such as the detective show Sherlock or sci fi show Doctor Who.
Gina: Reality TV and talent shows are popular too, aren’t they?
Gabriella: Yeah, things like the X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing always get high viewing figures. The first two I mentioned are public talent shows, whereas the third has celebrities doing ballroom dancing.
Gina: And if you happen to miss these shows when they are broadcast live, it’s easy to catch up, right?
Gabriella: There are many On Demand services so you can watch the shows whenever you like, either online or via the cable and satellite services. It’s very convenient.
Gina: Sounds it! I think we should discuss music next.
Gabriella: Britain has such a rich music history that is continuing today. There are classical composers like Elgar, some of the most popular rock bands the world has ever seen like the Beatles and Queen, and also highly successful pop groups like the Spice Girls.
Gina: Who are the most popular artists at the moment?
Gabriella: The highest selling album in the world last year, by far, was by the British singer Adele. She’s arguably the biggest artist in the world right now and has recently added an Oscar to her list of achievements.
Gina: Yeah, she’s very popular everywhere! Who else?
Gabriella: The boyband One Direction are having a lot of success across the world too. They came together as part of the X Factor, which we mentioned earlier.
Gina: Pop music is very popular in the UK but so is rock, dance, hip hop and many other genres. There is something for everyone!
Gabriella: There is. Next, let’s talk about sports.
Gina: I think the sport most closely associated with the UK is football.
Gabriella: As it should be, because it’s the most popular sport in the UK, and modern football was invented in England after all!
Gina: We should point out to our listeners that although soccer is a perfectly valid name for this type of football, it’s best not to call it that in the UK. At least not to people who are football fans!
Gabriella: No, it’s not a popular word! Some of the best, richest and oldest football clubs in the world are in England, as are some of the best players.
Gina: It’s not just football that is popular though, is it?
Gabriella: No. Cricket and rugby, amongst others, are also very popular. In rugby, the Six Nations Tournament that happens every year between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy is a big TV event that gets good ratings.
Gina: And for cricket, the Ashes series between England and Australia that happens every two years gets very heated, and is very popular.
Gabriella: That series has been running since 1882 and is always fun to watch!
Gina: So now that we’ve covered sport, let’s look at films.
Gabriella: The UK has produced many films over the years. The most famous are probably the James Bond films, I think. British films tend to be light hearted comedies like Love Actually, or grittier films such as Trainspotting.
Gina: A lot of foreign films also get shot in the UK, don’t they?
Gabriella: Yeah. The UK has a lot of great landscapes and scenery to film movies against, and also some of the best film studios in the world, in places like Elstree Studios and Pinewood Studios.
Gina: What films have been shot there?
Gabriella: Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the recent Sherlock Holmes series immediately spring to mind!
Gina: And what about actually watching films in the UK?
Gabriella: Of course there is the option to watch them in cinema in 2D, 3D or Imax, or wait until they become available on TV. There are dedicated film channels that will screen them first, or they can be viewed on a pay per view basis first.
Gina: There are also streaming rental services, such as Netflix or Lovefilm where you pay a monthly subscription and then have access to a catalogue of thousands of films on your TV, computer or even your Xbox or Playstation.
Gabriella: That’s right. And our final category should be books, I think!
Gina: I think so too! Again, there are many classic British authors such as Shakespeare, Dickens and Austen. There books are still used for modern adaptations now.
Gabriella: We mentioned Sherlock Holmes earlier and not only is that a successful blockbuster film franchise, but also has two successful TV adaptations currently running – one British and one American.
Gina: How about some more modern authors?
Gabriella: I guess we can’t discuss this topic without mentioning some of the biggest names, such as J. R. R Tolkien, Lewis Carroll and J. K. Rowling.
Gina: Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter have been some of the most successful books and films of the last few years.
Gabriella: And the next two instalments in The Hobbit trilogy will probably rule the cinema box office for the next few years too!
Gina: I think so too! Wow, that’s a lot of pop culture.
Gabriella: And we’ve only scratched the surface!


Gina: Ok, everyone. I think that’s all for this lesson.
Gabriella: Thank you for listening everyone. See you next time!