The IT Crowd (Channel 4, UK), Series 1, Episode 1

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The Video

The IT Crowd is a British-Irish sitcom centred around the IT department of a big business. The comedy is a perfect bridge between old-style classic British comedy and modern tastes. Despite the odd reference to sex and mild cursing it would be suitable for teens and adults with the official age-rating being 15. A feel-good geeky comedy for a general audience, this video contains little material that could be seen as offensive.

In this episode, new employee Jen is sent to manage the IT department after writing on her CV that she has expertise in the area. It transpires that the extent to said expertise really goes no further than “sending emails…receiving emails…I could go on…” and the boys in the IT department are none too pleased at her arrival.

Level and Language Focus

The worksheet below concentrates on the Phrasal Verbs littered around the script ranging from the most common in usage (come in, shut up, get out) to more juicy examples for the vocabulary experts (size him up). If you are planning to use the worksheet, make sure you plan for enough time; it could take up an entire 90 minute lesson or two hour-long lessons. You may consider setting some parts for homework so you can watch the episode without pausing for too long.

The language used would definitely suit upper intermediate to advanced learners. You may consider using the video with especially eager intermediate students or those that work in the IT industry.

Worksheet

thumb A worksheet featuring vocabulary and phrasal verbs is available here (right click, save as…) The IT Crowd

Availability

Watch the episode on Vimeo. You can also watch the video via the Channel 4 website but you will need to complete a short registration process (free) and be navigating from the UK. If you access the video through Channel 4 you have the added bonus of subtitles.

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Jamie’s Dream School (Channel 4, UK), “Cherie Blair’s Guide to Prison”

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The Video

This clip is taken from the documentary series, Jamie’s Dream School, in which celebrity chef Jamie Oliver enrols a group of struggling teenagers into a school in which all the lessons are taught by celebrity “specialists”, all of which are leaders in their field. Jamie has selected Human Rights lawyer and wife of ex-PM Tony Blair, Cherie, to open a debate on whether prisoners in the UK should have the right to vote.

Level and Language Focus

The video provides a range of different comprehension challenges. Cherie Blair, a professional speaker, is easy to understand, the pupils however prove a little more difficult. The worksheet below provides quite a good deal of transcript which could make the video more accessible to a good intermediate class. The video can also be used with upper intermediate and pre advanced classes.

The video is great for setting up a class debate. You could take the subject in the video or choose a different one. The grammar focus of the worksheet below is zero and first conditional in debates.

Since this debate is conducted in a high school with a group of teenagers, the video would work especially well in a young-learners class, but not exclusively.

Worksheet

worksheet thumb.JPG Download the free worksheet: Cherie Blair Human Rights Worksheet (right click, save as…)

Availability

You can watch the video on YouTube.

 

Father Ted (Channel 4, UK) – Going to America (Series 3, Episode 8)

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The Episode

Three catholic priests live together on a remote Irish island. A flashy American priest turns up in their parish and promises the title character, Ted, a new life full of riches in the States. The comedy arises from the fact that Ted’s two fellow priests and excitable house keeper presume they are invited on the adventure and Ted forever searching for the right moment to break the unhappy news.

The episode is especially useful if you have any students who are about to emigrate or even just go on holiday. The language focuses around future plans, preparations and includes a scene in the airport.

Level and Language Focus

The comedy is set in Ireland, an accent that could prove interesting to students who have never been exposed to it. There is also the American character, handy for giving some variety in terms of accent.

Some of the dialogue is quite fast and so recommended for Upper Intermediate classes and above. If you sign up to the free 4OD service you have the option of English subtitles.

An obvious language extension would be future tenses (going to vs. will).

Worksheet

A worksheet dealing with the tricky vocabulary in this episode is available here: Father Ted Going to America Worksheet (Right click, Save Target As…)

Availability

The episode can be viewed via the Channel Four 4OD service here (with optional subtitles).

It can also be found on YouTube and Daily Motion.

If you have access to Netflix, you may also find this episode is available through the service in certain countries.