At the end of each lesson, students are given a taste of anglophone culture. Including iconic songs, funny film extracts and more, these clips are a diverse collection displaying the best of English-language entertainment.
The Police, So Lonely, 1978
Today’s dessert comes from the song So Lonely
by English rock band The Police
(Message in a Bottle, Every Breath You Take
) for their 1978 debut album Outlandos d’Amour
Consisting of Sting
), Andy Summers
, and Stewart Copeland
, The Police formed in London in 1977. They became known as a new-wave band, playing a style of rock influenced by reggae, jazz, and even punk. During their 9-year career, the band won six Grammys. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want, The Rolling Stones, 1969
Today’s dessert comes from the 1969 song You Can’t Always Get What You Want
, written by British rockers Mick Jagger
and Keith Richards
for The Rolling Stones
from the album Let It Bleed.
The first of five consecutive No. 1 albums in the U.K., the song addresses major themes of the 1960’s: love, politics, and drugs, reflects the end of the ‘Swinging London’ era.
This performance comes from The David Frost Show
in 1969. The host, David Frost
, would go on to become celebrated for his interview of US President Richard Nixon
on live US television, an event dramatized in the 2008 film Frost / Nixon
Richards and Jagger were childhood friends in Kent, England. The Rolling Stones rose to fame as part of British Invasion in 1964. Their hits include Beast of Burden
(1978) and Paint it Black
Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, 2007-2015
Today’s dessert comes from the episode ‘Babylon’ from the first season of American TV drama Mad Men (2007-2015).
In this episode, head secretary Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) gathers the secretaries of ad agency Sterling Cooper for a focus group for the lipstick company, Belle Jolie.
Mad Men is considered one of the best period dramas in American television, known for its dialogue, visual style, and the fashion of its cast.
The Simpsons, Matt Groening, 1989-
Today's dessert comes from animated television comedy The Simpsons (1989-), created by Matt Groening (Futurama).
The opening sequence of the show, known as the ‘couch gag’, often changes, and involves the members of the Simpson family (Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie), as they take their place on the couch, in front of the television.
This couch gag was created by Banksy, renowned anonymous English graffiti artist, political activist and film director (Exit Through the Gift Shop) known for his political street art. Banksy was influenced by The Simpsons’ use of animation studios in South Korea for this opening sequence, which addresses concerns for outsourcing low wage labor.
Flight of the Conchords,Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, 2007-2009
Today’s dessert comes from the British-American-New Zealand television comedy series Flight of the Conchords, airing on HBO from 2007-2009. Created by James Bobin (Da Ali G Show) and real-life musical duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, the two musicians play fictionalized versions of themselves.
This episode from season 1 depicts a rude fruit vendor, played by Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation, Master of None), who refuses to serve Bret and Jemaine, thinking they are Australian. When he finds out they are New Zealanders, he apologizes profusely. The New Zealand vs Australia rivalry is present throughout the series.
Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle, 2008
Today’s dessert comes from the British drama Slumdog Millionaire (2008), directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Steve Jobs), and starring Dev Patel (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lion) and Freida Pinto (Trishna, Desert Dancer). Based on the novel Q & A (2005) by Indian author Vikas Swarup, it tells the story of a teen from the slums of Mumbai accused of cheating on a game show. The film won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture.
English actor Dev Patel made his first appearance on television as a teenager in the first two seasons of the British drama series Skins (2007-2008), later appearing in films like the hugely successful 2016 biopic, Lion. Indian actress Pinto did not rise to fame until Slumdog Millionaire, but later starred in acclaimed films such as Trishna (2011) and Desert Dancer (2014).
Role Models, David Wain, 2008
Today’s dessert comes from American comedy, Role Models, (2008), starring Seann William Scott (1976-) and Paul Rudd (1969-) as two men who enroll in a program designed to pair kids with adult role models for community service.
Rudd is an American actor, comedian, producer and writer, and was co-writer for Role Models. His successful career includes the films Clueless (1995) and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004). He also co-wrote and starred in the Marvel film, Ant-Man (2015).
Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright, 2007
Today’s dessert comes from the British action comedy Hot Fuzz (2007) written by director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead, Spaced) and actor Simon Pegg (Spaced, Star Trek), and starring Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Paul). It focuses on two English police officers trying to solve a case of mysterious deaths in a small village.
From 2004 to 2013, Wright, Pegg, and Frost all collaborated on the comedic 'Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy' (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End), directed by Wright, written by Wright and Pegg, and starring Pegg and Frost.
Play it Again, Sam, Woody Allen, 1972
Today's dessert comes from Woody Allen's (1935-) Play it Again, Sam (1972), based on his 1969 broadway play. Unusually, it was not directed by Allen, but by Herbert Ross (Footloose) because Allen did not want to direct a play to film production.
Allen does, however, star as the lead who is obsessed with the film Casablanca (1942), in particular the character Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart (The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep). Scenes from Casablanca, and appearances of Bogart, as a ghost are played by Jerry Lacy (Dark Shadows), and guide Allen’s character on how to treat women.
The film is a parody of American film noir, notably detective films from the 1940s by authors such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
Sideways, Alexander Payne, 2004
Today's dessert comes from the American dramatic comedy Sideways (2004), starring Paul Giamatti (1967-) and Thomas Haden Church (1960-). The screenplay was adapted by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor from the novel by Rex Pickett, and won an Academy Award for the adaptation.
Giamatti has worked steadily as an actor for the past twenty years, with lead roles in American Splendor (2003) and Barney’s Version (2010), for which he won his second Golden Globe.
Church started his career as a radio dj and a voice-over announcer before pursuing acting.
Little Britain USA, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, 2008
Today’s dessert comes from Little Britain USA
(2008), the American version of the British sketch comedy show Little Britain
(2003-2006), originally created as a BBC radio show in 2000.
The series stars Matt Lucas
) and David Walliams
(Partners in Crime
), creators of the original series, playing old and new characters in sketches parodying American culture.
London natives Lucas and Walliams first met in the 90s at National Youth Theatre, later appearing together in various sketches, series, and music videos
before Little Britain
. Following the show, both went on the appear in television, film, and work as screenwriters for British and American productions.
Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, Rowan Atkinson, 1997
Today’s dessert comes from the 1997 British-American comedy Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie starring Rowan Atkinson (Johnny English, Blackadder). It’s based on the British television series Mr. Bean (1990-1995), co-created and starring Atkinson.
Atkinson developed the character of Mr. Bean while studying for his master’s degree at Oxford University. Described by Atkinson as “a child in a grown man’s body”, Mr. Bean rarely speaks, seems socially naïve, and has unusual or absurd solutions to everyday problems.
In the film, Mr. Bean travels to America where he experiences a series of clumsy misadventures. Despite criticism for straying from signature elements of the TV series, the movie grossed over US$250 million globally on a budget of US$18 million.
Diamonds Are Forever, Guy Hamilton, 1971
Today’s dessert comes from Diamonds Are Forever (1971), the seventh film in the James Bond series, and the final starring Sean Connery (The Untouchables) as James Bond. The film is based on English author Ian Fleming’s (Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, Casino Royale) 1956 novel of the same name.
Fleming (1908-1964) worked for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during World War II. His wartime service and career as a journalist provided much of the background for the James Bond series.
The Bond series ranks among the best-selling fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming’s creation has appeared in film 26 times to date, portrayed by seven actors, most recently by English actor Daniel Craig.
When You Gonna Learn, Jamiroquai, 1993
Today’s dessert comes from the 1993 song When You Gonna Learn
by British funk/acid jazz band Jamiroquai
, from their debut studio album, Emergency on Planet Earth
Like many of Jamiroquai’s early records, When You Gonna Learn
deals with environmental issues. The song’s music video shows stock footage of whaling activities and animal experimentation – deemed graphic content by MTV, who replaced the original version with a 'cleaner' edit.
Fronted by lead singer Jay Kay
, Jamiroquai is best known for their hit song Virtual Insanity
(1996), which won four MTV Video Music Awards and a Grammy.
The Office, Ricky Gervais, 2001
Today’s dessert comes from an episode of the British mockumentary sitcom series The Office. The show, which first aired in 2001, was created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais (Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show) and Stephen Merchant (Cemetery Junction, The Ricky Gervais Show).
The program is about the day-to-day lives of office employees in a fictitious paper company. Gervais also stars in the series as the main character and office manager, David Brent.
The success of the show led to a number of adaptations internationally, leading to an Office franchise, including the Emmy-award winning American version.
Snatch, Guy Ritchie, 2001
Today’s dessert comes from the British crime comedy Snatch, written and directed by Guy Ritchie (Revolver, Sherlock Holmes). It has an ensemble cast that includes Jason Statham (The Transporter), Brad Pitt (Fight Club), and Alan Ford (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).
Snatch intertwines two stories: one about searching for a stolen diamond, the other about a boxing promoter navigating a sticky situation with a brutal gangster.
Reportedly, Brad Pitt approached Guy Ritchie for a role in the film. When Pitt couldn’t master a London accent, he instead got the role of Mickey, an incomprehensible Irish gypsy.