Bitesize Episode 16 - Pt. 2 of Top Ten Most Popular All-time British TV Shows for Baby Boomers

Charlie Baxter

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In this episode, Charlie continues to take a look at the most well known TV Shows in the UK for non-native to better understand pop culture and casual TV references that are likely to appear in conversation amongst baby boomers. We hope you enjoy the conversation!

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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 16 Transcript

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to today's Bitesize Episode, which is a continuation of the top 10 most popular All-Time TV shows in the UK for baby boomers. This is part two, if you'd like to listen to part one. That was Bitesize Episode 15. You don't have to have listened to that to enjoy this episode. But if you're anything like me, then I would suggest doing so very quickly, though, to either remind you as to why I'm going through this list or if you haven't heard Bitesize Episode 15, then let me explain. So cultural differences around TV are super common, in my humble opinion. And when I speak with a British person, I've started to notice that I feel a certain ease about being able to reference a lot more that I've experienced in my life, as I can trust that they will know what I'm talking about. And it could be anything, you know, like referencing a food brand or a shop we all know is overly priced or a quote from a popular TV show. So my aim here is to give you a cheat sheet of well-known TV shows that the general population in the UK will know of and might reference in casual conversation. And through doing so, I offer you a suggestion of programmes to watch to better understand British, English and British culture, because after all, that is what the British English podcast is all about. And talking of helping you learn British English, make sure you utilise the free worksheet that I have made for you for this episode.

And to get that, you can go to the British English podcast dot com forward slash freebies as in F R E E B I E S. You can find all of the free resources there or find the link in the show notes of this podcast episode. So let's get stuck into the next most popular all time TV show in the UK for baby boomers, meaning people born in the mid 40s to mid 60s. And just in case you didn't know, their name comes from the sudden increase in population after the Second World War. You know, when the soldiers came back and celebrated the return to home with a good old bit of coitus. So in the previous episode, we went through number ten, number nine and number eight. So coming in at number seven is Antiques Roadshow, Antiques Roadshow. Now, I just had a conversation with an Aussie and a Brit about this show. And it seems this British show went down very well in Australia as well as back at home and looking into it. It's actually been very influential in TV as the pilot, meaning the trial episode aired in the late 70s and it's still going. It's on its 43rd series. Can you believe it? Oh, and I also just saw that the pilot was filmed in Herefordshire, which is where my partner Stacey is from, Herefordshire, which is an English county that borders Wales.

And since that pilot, there have been a load of other programmes that were heavily influenced by the success of this show's format. There's been a bunch of spinoffs, even more specials, and it's also spawned versions in other countries like in the US, Australia, Canada and also non English speaking countries like Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. So it's impacted the world of TV and those watching it heavily. And let me explain why. But before I do, I'll briefly cover the format because it's completely different to the other shows on this top 10 list. It's not a sitcom nor a scripted show, really. It's a reality TV show. And as it says, it's a road show, which means each episode is in a different location. And the original Antiques Roadshow travels around the country inviting the public, usually from the local area, to bring along their prized possessions and sometimes just random shit that's been stashed away in the attic for decades but looks like an antique. So locals bring their stuff in and have it evaluated by professionals and then maybe even checked for its authenticity, if it's something like a painting and they're claiming it to be an original of a famous painter who happened to be their great uncle. And then the fun starts when the evaluator starts to estimate its worth at auction and the camera dials in on the owner for a dramatic reaction. And you'll see how Brits react on camera to the realisation that they have just come into more money than they know what to do with.

I'd imagine a good way to help understand the differences between British and American people would be to watch an episode of the British one and then the American one back to back and and hey, even the Australian one and Canadian one, if you wanted to.

Honestly, though, there are so many reasons why this show is good for you as a non-native. Firstly, it's a reality TV show, meaning the language they use is not scripted and therefore very natural. Secondly, as I mentioned, it being a road show, you'll be exposed to a really wide range of accents and dialects, which is amazing for advanced listening practise. And then the professional evaluators give a rather in-depth historical or craft or artistic context to the item in question, adding a very strong cultural element to the show. So if you're a history buff or you know your art or you're a collector of some kind, then this show might be amazing for you. But really, for the layman like me, we're in it to watch the interplay between the owner and the evaluator. The reaction. It's fun to see modest and unexpected people be positively shocked out of their skin and then in a slightly evil way to see overly cocky people's dreams crushed when they think they're sitting on a goldmine and in reality is just some worthless junk.

So if this show sounds like it might tickle your fancy, then you've got 43 series of this. And I think that's excluding all of the extra special spin offs, etc.. So, yeah, there's a huge amount to enjoy. So be my guest in watching Antiques Roadshow.

Promotional Charlie:
Now, before we move on to the next most popular show, I wanted to tell you about an ebook and audio book that Harry and I have done for anyone preparing for the IELTS exam. But this isn't just any old e-book slash audio book. It is a highly intelligent and incredibly thorough one. You see, we noticed how many of our exam preparation students were stressing themselves out over studying long lists of idioms and phrasal verbs, before Exam Day came. And then they didn't even get a chance to use 10 percent of what they had learnt in the exam. And after studying the marking criteria and really thinking about how often our students should be using idiomatic language in the exam, we took a step back and thought if the examiner is only really wanting to hear a handful of idioms in the learners answers as any more would in fact be unnatural or overkill, meaning too much if we curated a very short list of idioms that could be used to answer pretty much any IELTS question. Well, that way the student is able to go into the exam with these select idioms ready to use in whatever question that comes up.

Promotional Charlie:
And you know what, it's really working. I won't go on about it any more now, but if you did want to get your hands on these 10 idioms that Harry and I have curated specifically for anyone preparing for an English exam like the IELTS test, arm yourself with these 10 phrases that can be used in so many ways, really easily, and be given an incredibly thorough teaching process for each one to ensure you not only remember the phrase, but you know exactly how to use them like a native would, then, hey, today is your lucky day, because we are giving it away for free and all you need to do is find it in the show notes of this episode head over to and find it in the homepage. Or just like the free worksheet for this episode, go to that is F R E E B I E S. Okay, enough about the ebook and audio book, but I really hope you like it. And let's get back to the next most popular TV show of all time in the UK for baby boomers.

So coming in at number six is Rising Damp, Rising Damp, and as I didn't have the foggiest idea about this one, I reached out to my father and he managed to do the job for me. So, Dad, over to you. What is the TV show rising damp about?

Rising damp is about a rather cantankerous landlord living in a Victorian building, which he doesn't really look after terribly well, and his tenants are somewhat cheated by him in some ways, though, they obviously don't pay a huge amount of rent. But he the landlord is Leonard Rossiter, who is a very amusing character, is constantly falling in and out of love with the lady who lives in one of the rooms. There's a very well educated black man in one of the other rooms and a young guy who is sort of slightly student like- very student like. And of course, Leonard Rossiter is very conservative in his attitudes. So the the script is very non PC for nowadays, but terribly amusing. And it has generated a lot of different witty lines. Anyway, it was a very, very, very popular programme in in the UK in the 70s, I guess.

Wonderful. That was easier than researching it myself and you also exampled, a rather advanced adjective, cantankerous meaning, arguing and complaining a lot. Cantankerous. Oh and before you go, are there any obvious references that people might make about this show in day to day life, in your opinion?

I suppose with regards to the main character called Rigsby, that was Leonard Rossiter's name in the programme, you would be looking at a character who was, I suppose, slightly slimy landlord, always looking for a good deal and occasionally having to say to his tenants, well, I have to raise the rent, but there would be no benefit for the tenants in terms of any better housing or anything like that. But he's always slightly looking for the better financial angle that he could say. So I suppose you could reference that in terms of the lady of the House. It was Ruth Jones, Miss Ruth Jones, who was always slightly flattered by anyone's attention. She was slightly prim and proper, but quite an attractive girl in her, I suppose, in her thirties. And Rigsby was always trying to charm her. And and she never sort of really gave in to his charms, but was always flattered by them. And then the black guy was called Philip Smith, extremely well-spoken. So I suppose you could say, well, you would reference someone from a black culture who'd obviously grown up in England. And Rigsby was always accusing him of being a prince or something like that. But of course, Philip was always way to listen to man to to rise to that sort of jibe. And then Richard Beckinsale, who was the fourth character, his character, Alan, was very much a student and Rossiter or Rigsby was always decrying his low morals and his drinking behaviour and generally being terribly ultraconservative towards the youth of the day.

Okay, there we go. Nicely done. And that is number six in the top ten, most popular all time TV shows in the UK for baby boomers.

Coming in at number five is The Good Life, The Good Life. This is another sitcom produced by the BBC that ran for several years in the mid 70s. And the short synopsis I'd give this show is that it's following the ups and downs of a couple called Tom and Barbara Good who try to escape the rat race, which is a phrase that describes a way of life in modern society in which people compete with each other for power and money. The rat race. Before I checked that definition, I would have said that we use that phrase interchangeably with a city job. But I guess it is more specifically about white collar jobs that make you hungry for power and money and therefore sometimes forced to do long hours and come home exhausted and you end up feeling that all you're doing is working so, you know, constantly on the hamster wheel. And I assume rats also have an exercise wheel. I never had a rat when I was younger. Just a hamster. But yeah, sure, it's an exercise wheel. Yeah, a rat has an exercise, get over it Charlie.

Actually I've never appreciated how mad that is that hamsters use an exercise wheel so comfortably. I can't really think of another animal that works out for the sake of working out. And it's pretty luxurious to have a home gym like that isn't it? We're currently in lockdown over here in Sydney or we have stay-at-home orders from the government and yeah, my partner would love to have a treadmill in the apartment. I mean, I've seen these walking pads that people put under their standing desks, and it's quite hilarious how we're developing these apparently acceptable behaviours that, you know, if an alien came to see us, they'd be like "what are you doing? You're you're walking whilst using that electrical device, you're crazy. Just get outside." But, um, yeah. Maybe instead of a treadmill, I could get my girlfriend a hamster wheel, you know, a human sized one. Of course I'm not I'm not that mean, but, uh, just imagining her scrambling around on an exercise wheel mounted to the wall now. But I'm not as crazy as I might seem. We already do this kind of behaviour. Mimicking hamsters exercising it's called Zorbing. Yeah, there you go that's a hamster ball, isn't it? You put the hamster in the ball outside of the cage and it can roam around knocking into the skirting boards. Skirting boards there's a word you probably don't use or know of. Skirting board is the the wooden three or four inches connecting the floor to the wall anyway to stop even more thoughts from tumbling out into blurted sentences. Let's bring it back to the good life.

So Tom and Barbara Good decide to go off grid and become self-sufficient. So no longer requiring electricity from the government. And they also grow their own food and have their own livestock and this is all in greater London, in Surbiton, in fact. And then their neighbours are the antithesis of this, meaning the complete opposite, because the husband is totally focussed on climbing the career ladder and thinks this idea of going-off-grid is destined to fail. And his wife, Margot, cannot understand the Good's life choice because social status is very important to her. I haven't watched enough of the show to know that this is true. But according to Wikipedia, it says she was bullied at school for having no sense of humour. But what I can remember is that her character would be described as being insanely stuffy and posh, and she focuses on materialistic things which coming to think of it, is part of why this show is worth your attention. This show really paints a picture for me, in my opinion, of what the seventies might have been like living in and around Greater London. The norm was very clearly assuming that the woman would stay at home and the man would go to work. And also about the class based system. I mean, obviously, we've got to remember, it's a TV show that was exaggerating everything for comic value, but it might help you understand a fundamental our society has been built upon. The class based system in this show is really highlighted like the middle class, white collar families. You know the wi- the stay-at-home wife and in this case, Margot Ledbetter, she seems to talk down to the blue collar workers in her life.

I just watched a clip where she told her gardener off for being stupid and uneducated and from my perspective, from what I saw, the gardener was happy to confront her and not wanting to lose the argument, but he was still comfortable with the status of working class. It wasn't like he was offended by her suggesting that he was blue collar and she was white collar. And again, only my opinion, but I'd say nowadays that has changed significantly. We don't use this class based system. So obviously and people don't like to be categorised so easily, and yet it still remains part of our culture, which I imagine I mean, it's confusing for us. So I imagine it would be very confusing for a non-native to step into and to try to embrace. There's this like underlying class based system that we're all super aware of, but we don't acknowledge it anymore. We don't want to a lot of us, me personally, don't want it to be part of our identity wherever we stand in that class based system. I'm using air quotes here, class based system. We want to identify as an individual. We don't want to be pinned down by that one category. But from what I saw in that clip, it felt like they were comfortable with their labels. And that was in the 70s. So, yeah, I highly recommend watching The Good Life as it might help you better understand what we thought defined social status back in the 70s. And I say that not because I lived through it because I was born in the 90s. So I don't know. It's just when I watched this show, it resembles what I imagine my parents might have experienced.

And if you do search this show, don't be confused with The Good Place. That was a recent American TV show. So it's The Good Life in 1975.

Ahh, so there we have the top half of the list for baby boomers complete. So if you remember from part one, we had Fawlty Towers coming in number 10 for the most popular All-Time TV show for baby boomers in the UK. Then Morecambe and Wise was number nine. Then we had Open All Hours as number eight, then Antiques Roadshow number seven, Rising Damp as number six and well, I suppose starting the top five countdown now we have The Good Life. We will continue the list soon and hopefully manage to finish it in the next episode. But actually yeah lookin- looking at those top four we might need a bit more time than a bitesized episode. Yeah, I think the next one to finish this list will be a bonus episode, as we'll have a bit more time to explain the cultural references for the top four of this list. OK, so thanks for stopping by today. Remember to check out the free sample of the premium podcast if you wanted transcripts and access to all parts of every single episode or try the free sample of the academy if you wanted exclusive video lessons, audio tracks going over the vocabulary used in the episodes and helping you improve your British pronunciation with drilling exercises and the weekly speaking classes, that's all over at my name's Charlie and your your name is. Well, let me guess. Is it Karen? Phong? Katerina? Or Leo? Or maybe Elena? Hmm. I don't know, well, those are some names of some beloved students making the most out of the academy and the weekly speaking classes, but if I don't know you yet, I'd love to meet you in the weekly speaking classes or if not, reach out to me on Instagram. It's the same name, the British English podcast, because I really love knowing what listeners are doing whilst enjoying the show. Not in a creepy way. It's just I love it when I see a story of somebody getting on with their day doing something productive, like, you know, going for a run, getting their exercise in whilst listening to this show, it really motivates me to continue doing this. So if you wanted to let me know how you're enjoying this show, then head over to Instagram and yeah, tag me and your story, showing me what you're doing whilst you're listening to this episode. Last reminder about that ebook and audio book that you can get for free on how to use idioms in the IELTS exam. But that is all from me today. Thank you very much for listening. My name's Charlie and I'll see you next week on the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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About Your Teacher

Charlie Baxter

Teacher, Podcast Host, YouTuber
Charlie is the host and creator of The British English Podcast & Academy. He has also been an active YouTube English Teacher since 2016 but after seeing how many of his students wanted a more structured, carefully designed way to study he decided to create The British English Podcast Academy.

It focuses on British culture, informal expressions, accent and history that is all unique to the UK.

Charlie has spent 6000+ hours teaching intermediate-advanced students since 2014 privately on Skype and has seen a lot of different styles of learning and while he believes there will never be a single CORRECT way to improve your English there are a large number of methods that people use that do waste people's time and prevent them from improving quickly.

So Charlie decided to create The Academy because he believes he knows a VERY effective way to improve your English quickly and enjoyably.