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Lesson Transcript

Kellie: The top five most influential People in British media and entertainment. We’ll talk about all of the important people that influenced and shaped media and entertainment in Britain over the years.
Kellie: I think that everyone on our list today has had an impact on a global scale too.
Gina: Oh yeah? Let’s see!

Lesson focus

Kellie: First, let’s start with number 5 and JK Rowling.
Gina: If you haven’t guessed, she is famous for, of course, writing the Harry Potter series.
Kellie: I love those books!
Gina: Me too! Her story is a real rags to riches story as she was an out of work and living on benefits single mother when she wrote the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When she finally found a publisher for it she was given only a £1,500 advance and told she would never be a success.
Kellie: That was a bargain for such a successful book.
Gina: Yeah, the American rights to the first book were later sold for £65,000 and Warner Bros soon picked up the film rights.
Kellie: The success of the Harry Potter books really kickstarted reading again with children and young adults and paved the way for other books aimed at those demographics to be successful.
Gina: That’s right. Rowling has been immensely successful and in 2010 she was named the most influential woman in Britain. Forbes magazine proclaimed her as the first author to earn one billion US dollars purely from writing books.
Kellie: And at that point she’d only written the Harry Potter books. Some highly successful authors have written for decades and not achieved that.
Gina: She gives a lot of money to charity so she doesn’t have a billion dollars now and that’s just one other way that she is influential outside of media and entertainment.
Kellie: Next is number 4, Mr. Nasty, Simon Cowell.
Gina: Cowell has become such a big personality on television that it’s easy to forget that he actually has experience and knowledge in the field of media and entertainment. He was with A and R at BMG for several years and discovered many successful pop artists such as Westlife and Five.
Kellie: He is most well known for his TV exploits though.
Gina: Yeah, he became famous in 2001 when he was appointed as one of the judges on Pop Idol.
Kellie: His mean and cutting opinions certainly made him famous. From Pop Idol he moved onto the X Factor, right?
Gina: Yes, his production company created and developed that show and it replaced Pop Idol. The show’s format has been sold to many TV companies around the world.
Kellie: His production company also produces and owns the format to Britain’s Got Talent.
Gina: Yeah, another talent show that’s taken over the world. His production company has produced many successful TV shows and his record label have promoted many successful artists. He’s been named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Forbes magazine on two separate occasions.
Kellie: Enough of Simon Cowell, let’s move onto number three. Alfred Hitchcock.
Gina: He started his career in films by designing titles for silent movies. He moved from that into directing and his first real success was with his first thriller, the movie The Lodger - A Story of the London Fog.
Kellie: Great title.
Gina: I think so too! His tenth film, Blackmail, is a landmark movie as it is one of the first British movies to use sound.
Kellie: That movie also saw Hitchcock’s trademarks become very pronounced as he had a lengthy cameo and one of the most dramatic scenes happened before a major landmark.
Gina: Yep, both of those things are very Hitchcock. The success of his early British movies saw him move to Hollywood.
Kellie: He had a lot of success there, didn’t he?
Gina: His first American movie, Rebecca, won the Oscar for best picture in 1940. He soon made his name as a director and devised many techniques in his movies that are still used today.
Kellie: Ah, like that perspective trick in Vertigo that made the image seemed stretched.
Gina: That’s just one of many examples. Two of his most famous and copied works are the horror movies Psycho and The Birds.
Kellie: His skill at creating suspense and foreboding has been imitated many times, even now in modern cinema.
Gina: Yes, his influence is still strongly felt even today.
Kellie: Okay, number two is William Shakespeare. Ah, “to be or not to be, that is the question.”
Gina: Do you know the rest of the quote?
Kellie: I do actually but I’d better not carry on otherwise I’ll quote the whole play!
Gina: Everyone knows Shakespeare, right? He wrote many plays, sonnets and poems and his works have been translated into every major language in the world. They’ve been performed more times than the works of any other playwright.
Kellie: His works are iconic. They’re still regularly performed and studied today and he’s arguably the greatest writer in the English language.
Gina: Part of his success comes from his inventiveness. Before Romeo and Juliet, for example, romance hadn’t been used as the backdrop for a tragedy before.
Kellie: Now, romance always seems to end in tragedy.
Gina: Hmm, yes. Plus, Shakespeare was one of the first writers to use soliloquies as tools to explore a character, and he created many words and phrases that are now in our regular vocabularies.
Kellie: And Shakespearian insults have become legendary!
Gina: They have. We cannot underestimate how much influence he has had on modern language and writing.
Kellie: And our number one has also had a great and long lasting influence… it’s The Beatles.
Gina: Everyone knows The Beatles so we can just quickly cover their history. They were a pop/rock band from Liverpool in England that managed to take over the music industry throughout the 60s and 70s.
Kellie: They broke so many records and influence so many artists.
Gina: They made movies, had sell out tours and some of their songs and performances are just as well loved today as they were when they happened. Their Ed Sullivan show appearance when they first cracked America is iconic.
Kellie: They’re the best selling band in history, right?
Gina: Yes, they are. The greatest hits compilation “1” that was released in 2000 became the fastest selling album of all time and sold 13 million copies within the first month of release. EMI state they have sold over one billion units worldwide.
Kellie: They’ve influenced practically every band that followed them.
Gina: Directly or indirectly, yes. The way they changed their sound and style has also influenced many artists and they are cited as influential by so many.
Kellie: And that’s why they’re number 1 – for their lasting legacy.
Gina: That’s right.


Kellie: That’s all for this lesson, so we’ll see you next time.
Gina: See you!