Bonus Episode 39 - How Reality TV Affects British Culture | Ft. Steph

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

Charlie gets a close friend called Steph to discuss reality TV shows in the UK and their impact on the entertainment industry. They talk about the controversial nature of some of these shows and how they have become cultural phenomena. Then in the latter part of the conversation, they suggest reality TV shows that can be helpful for language learners.

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Transcript of Bonus Episode 039 - Transcript

Charlie:
Hello and welcome to today's episode of the British English podcast with me, Charlie Baxter, where we'll go into the world of reality TV and explore its impacts on the British television landscape. If you're a non-native English speaker or new to British entertainment, this episode is for you. We'll help you understand what reality TV is all about in the UK and why it has become such a popular form of entertainment. Now I know that reality TV isn't just in the UK, but it's good for you to be exposed to the norms in this society because we talk about it quite a lot day to day. So these references that you might not understand will hopefully be explained after this conversation. So yeah. Reality TV first gained traction in the UK in the early 2000s and it has since become a prominent fixture on British screens. Reality TV, as the name suggests, features real people rather than actors in unscripted situations. These shows often revolve around competitions, relationships or simply day-to-day life, providing viewers with a glimpse into the lives of their fellow Brits or contestants from various backgrounds. But to be honest, I don't watch them that much. However, one of my best friends from the UK, I went to university with and feel like we've got a lot of similarities in life. We were born on the same day. She does watch quite a few reality TV shows, so I thought I would ask her opinion about all of these, so let's get into it. So welcome, Steph. How are you doing today?

Steph:
I'm very well, thank you.

Charlie:
Very, very recent mother, you've got a one month-year-old in your arms right now.

Steph:
I do. She's sleeping, so I think we're good to crack on.

Charlie:
Nice. Yeah. So if you hear some coos, do we say coos?

Steph:
Yeah. Cooing sounds like a little animal.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
But she's a baby.

Charlie:
She is a baby. She's... Well, I suppose humans are animals.

Steph:
This is true. She's an animal.

Charlie:
She's an animal. But yeah, it's very nice seeing you sat there so comfortable with a baby in your arms.

Steph:
Well, she's about to start watching lots of reality TV with me over the next year.

Charlie:
Yeah. Before I ask you what the schedule for today's TV viewings is, should we jump back a few decades?

Steph:
Let's do it.

Charlie:
As I think I said in the intro, it was more around the 2000s that it picked up. In the 90s there were a few things. Can you remember anything?

Steph:
Yeah. I was trying to think when you said that, I think is that when Big Brother started? Because that's the first one I remember watching with my mum.

Charlie:
Yes. Big Brother started, I think in 2000. It's gone for two decades. But yeah, it was mainly on Channel 4 in 2000 to 2008 or 9.

Steph:
With Davina.

Charlie:
Yeah. Davina McCall, yeah, she's a name in itself, like a British celebrity that we would reference quite comfortably, assuming that everyone knows her.

Steph:
People knew her. Yeah, yeah.

Charlie:
So she was just a host of a reality TV show and Big Brother is worldwide. So I don't think many people would need to understand the concept of Big Brother. But if very quickly, what would you say Big Brother is?

Steph:
Big Brother is or was. I don't know if it's still going on, but it was a big house where they would just put in a random selection of people from all different walks of life, put them in a house together, and basically study their behaviour and watch them interact with one another. And I think that's how it started. And then as it went along, I might be wrong. It might have been from the first series, they would get them to do various tasks to sort of create conflict and create different environments that might not necessarily come across naturally. So they would sort of manipulate situations in some ways.

Charlie:
Yes. I remember one version where they had a prison wall, like a metal barge.

Steph:
Yes.

Charlie:
Half the house had luxury.

Steph:
Yeah, they had the rich and the poor side didn't they?

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
So that it would deliberately create a divide that they would then have to live with within the same...

Charlie:
Yeah and then they would vote each other out of the house every week wouldn't they?

Steph:
Or they'd nominate someone they wanted to leave.

Charlie:
Yes.

Steph:
And that in itself would then put doubt in people's mind and people wouldn't know who'd voted for them and you would see people's behaviour getting... People would become more distressed and just an uncomfortable situation living with people that, you know, didn't want you there.

Charlie:
Yeah, it's a complete... It's a recipe for disaster, isn't it?

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Like, of course there's going to be tension if you could be kicked out of the opportunity of winning £1 million at the end. I think it was about that, wasn't it?

Steph:
Yeah. There was definitely a prize for winning the show. You would get a lump sum of money.

Charlie:
Yeah. And the fame afterwards.

Steph:
Yes. Which back then probably wasn't as much as it is now.

Charlie:
Okay.

Steph:
Right? Because there's now more social media and things.

Charlie:
That's true.

Steph:
I don't know how...

Charlie:
Yeah. There's more opportunities to exploit that fame now, but back then there was less noise. So I was thinking, I can only remember the first couple of years of Big Brother like finalists. Do you remember Nadia?

Steph:
Nadia?

Charlie:
She was a transgender woman, I think.

Steph:
Oh, I don't think I do. Sorry. I remember the the one I remember the most is with Jade Goody, Kate Lawler.

Charlie:
Oh, yeah.

Steph:
That one. I think that was the fourth one.

Charlie:
Yes.

Steph:
Which is maybe when it got a bit bigger and more people knew what it was because I think the first one was kept quite under wraps and it was wasn't a big thing, was it? But as more and more people clocked on, it became slightly bigger.

Charlie:
What makes you enjoy watching Big Brother or back in the day?

Steph:
I like to say it's the the psychological side of things, you know, watching people's behaviour change and watching them interact and even hearing how other people perceive them because everyone sees a different side to every story. So that still is part of it. But I think it is just if it's a TV like a soap, you know, you're watching a character. Whereas with a reality TV show, you feel like you're watching the real person, which makes you feel like there's some kind of connection that you know the person.

Charlie:
Ah.

Steph:
Whereas I know that I don't know them, but because supposedly being themselves, you feel like you do know them. So therefore they kind of almost feel like a friend. They know nothing about you, but you feel like you know them really well.

Charlie:
Oh, okay. So you've got lots of friends then?

Steph:
Loads. Loads. I've honestly, I've gained so many friends over the past five years.

Charlie:
Who are your best friends?

Steph:
My best friends.

Charlie:
Where are they from?

Oh, God. Well, I'm watching Married at First Sight Australia at the moment. So they're literally the other side of the world.

Charlie:
So. Hang on. So you've you're no longer satisfied with the British reality TV shows. You're now watching an Australian one.

Steph:
Well, the Australian one is actually meant to be better than the English one because they've made it more of a show. They've dramatised it a little bit more.

Charlie:
Oh, okay. So we're not only just watching British ones in the UK, we're also dabbling with America. Do we watch American stuff?

Steph:
I don't, but I know that there is. The only overseas one I do watch is Married at First Sight Australia. But I have recently heard that Love Island Australia is a good one, so I might start.

Charlie:
Okay.

Steph:
Start watching that whilst I've got time on my maternity leave.

Charlie:
Yes. Yes.

Steph:
Make some more friends.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
The other side of the world.

Charlie:
So Love Island, I think a lot of countries know about it and it got quite big. Was it a British idea? Did it come from the UK? I should probably check that.

Steph:
I think so, but the only reason I think that is because that's the only one I've watched.

Charlie:
Love Island quickly became a cultural phenomenon in the UK. The show brings together a group of young, attractive singles in a villa where they must couple up and navigate romantic relationships whilst... while facing various challenges. Viewers vote for their favourite couples with the last remaining pair winning a cash prize. Okay. I don't think that paragraph concluded whether it was originally from the UK, but yeah. So it's still going. Is that one of your favourites?

Steph:
Yes but I feel like it shouldn't be because I don't know when it started. I don't know if you just said.

Charlie:
It said 2015.

Steph:
2015. So over these what, seven, eight years. This is quite sad. Four people have committed suicide from it because of social media. I don't know if...

Charlie:
I did not know that.

Steph:
So three contestants and the presenter, Caroline Flack. So I feel like I shouldn't enjoy it because it's contributed to like serious...

Charlie:
Oh yeah, I remember Caroline Flack, yeah. Wow.

Steph:
So I feel bad admitting it.

Charlie:
But it's not something that people shy away from saying that they watch now, though, is it?

Steph:
I don't think so.

Charlie:
You're just more conscious of...

Steph:
I'm just more conscious that I'm watching it contributing to the show's popularity. But I just really like it.

Charlie:
So I was told I need to at least watch one episode to just judge for myself.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
I think we got through three episodes, but I did want to remove my ears and eyes, not my eyes. They're beautiful people. They're quite over the top, though.

Steph:
Yeah, but they're going to be over the top, aren't they? They're not going to watch you and I on a show because we're quite... People might think differently after hearing this. We're quite normal people. We're not going to attract the masses to watch us on a show.

Charlie:
And I guess part of it is that it attracts a lot of people because it's controversial. Like you either love it or hate it.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Like that character or person.

Steph:
Yeah. So they're going to put people in that people are going to form an opinion of.

Charlie:
Yes.

Steph:
And enjoy watching the controversy.

Charlie:
Yes. Whereas normal people won't create the conversation.

Steph:
No.

Charlie:
It'll just be like, yeah, they're just quite normal.

Steph:
But it's very... The show is very manipulated now.

Charlie:
Oh.

Steph:
So back when it started, they were allowed to do what they wanted and the cameras would just watch them. Whereas now I think because of the sad, the four people that have died, they're very... the show is very structured. But even though I know that the show is not as natural and the scenes that they shoot are like created, I still like watching it.

Charlie:
Okay.

Steph:
Because they're still my friends.

Charlie:
And do the winners get the fame?

Steph:
No. Everyone gets the fame. Winners get a cash prize, same as Big Brother, but they become ambassadors for various like clothing brands. Or some people might go in with a business plan in mind or also things like teeth whitening. They advertise and they get sponsored to do things like that or like anything in particular, they just advertise on their social media profiles and people follow them from day dot. So they've got a massive following and then brands go to them and ask them to promote things and they get a job from it.

Charlie:
And is it usually the more attractive people that go that get the fame or it's not necessarily...

Steph:
I think they're all quite attractive.

Charlie:
They're all quite attractive to get on there? Yeah. Okay.

Steph:
It's very superficial.

Charlie:
Yeah. Do you find that their characters are likeable or do you look at them and think 'ugh' most of the time? Not saying that I think that.

Steph:
50/50. Some of them are really likeable and so you're rooting for them, but then they might change throughout the shows depending on who comes in. And if you've been in these... if you've been stuck in this villa, right, for four weeks and they're not your real friends in the villa, are they? They're strangers.

Charlie:
Are you talking about your, as in your opinion of your friend in the show or are you talking about these...?

Steph:
These people in the villa are friends.

Charlie:
Okay. The real friendships, not talking about through the screen, your friends.

Steph:
Right? No, I'm talking about the contestants aren't really friends. So after four weeks, they might not actually like each other.

Charlie:
Yeah, oh I see.

Steph:
So then they change, their personality changes and you're like, oh, I liked you two weeks ago, but now you're showing different sides. And I'm not as big a fan of you as I... as I was.

Charlie:
Yes. So do you ditch them?

Steph:
So then I like. Yeah. Not as interested in you anymore. You can leave. You should get voted out.

Charlie:
And do you ever vote?

Steph:
I don't vote, no. I think I maybe did at the start.

Charlie:
Of Love Island in 2015?

Steph:
Yeah and maybe even Big Brother.

Charlie:
Okay. I mean, Big Brother. Obviously, I shouldn't judge you, but I completely am. Big Brother was when you were a bit younger.

Steph:
Yes.

Charlie:
And I would understand why you would be that invested in it. But nowadays you've got a baby in your arms and you're still voting.

Steph:
No. No, I'm not. I'm not still voting. I think I voted at the start. I don't even know if you vote. You download apps these days.

Charlie:
Oh, what's it all like, eh? The nostalgia of ringing up a free number.

Steph:
Long gone.

Charlie:
Yeah. That's Love Island. What are some other big ones that we used to watch? Oh, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Steph:
Oh, love that one.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
Love that. That's like going to say real celebrities, because I would say that Love Island contestants aren't real celebrities, but I think for those...

Charlie:
At the beginning they're not, surely.

Steph:
Yeah. And I think they might have even have been in I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Charlie:
Oh, no, the other way round. They go in as love into Love Island and then maybe go to...

Steph:
And then they become a celebrity.

Steph:
Yeah.

Steph:
If we can say they're celebrities or they become famous in some, yeah, capacity. And then they go... But I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Obviously Ant and Dec, big draw.

Charlie:
Okay, so let's just explain a few things. I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is where people go to a scary place, quote-unquote, which is the jungle in Australia or the rainforest or whatever we call it. And then they have to do various tasks to get.

Steph:
Earn food.

Charlie:
Earn food. Oh, I didn't know that.

Steph:
Yeah. Yeah.

Charlie:
Earning food. Right. And they're what are these tasks?

Steph:
Oh they really vary. It could be eating animal eyeballs, testicles like fish fins.

Charlie:
Fish fins.

Steph:
Strange tasks.

Charlie:
Yeah, strange tasks.

Steph:
They could be having to collect stars from being buried alive underground for a certain amount of time. Or they could be suspended above a river where they have to... they're obviously...it's very safe. But jump and collect like hanging stars. I'm trying to think of other ones.

Charlie:
That river, is it infested with crocodiles or is it just a river?

Steph:
I think that would be a bit dangerous, so I think that it was just a river. Scary tasks that put people's fears to the test. So people at home, i.e. you and I who are watching the show, would ring or use the app. However it is, I don't do it to vote for the celebrity to take part in the task. We know that one celebrity say is really scared of the dark. You might then vote them to do the Buried Alive task.

Charlie:
Oh, how evil.

Steph:
Yeah. And then they would earn less stars because they wouldn't complete the task. So then there'd be less food for the camp. So then you'd see the celebrities' behaviour changing, or you might see them getting a bit angry with one celebrity because they haven't got enough food.

Charlie:
It's interesting. It is interesting.

Steph:
It's interesting. You see, it's a psychological experiment.

Charlie:
Yeah. So one reality TV show that I thought was a mixture of reality and a show or a soap, which quickly we should probably just explain very quickly. A soap. That is like a drama, but it's like an everyday episode, like an episode pretty much every day, isn't it, of just like an average town throughout the UK and it's the characters and they, they play a role and it's like all scripted, but it's very like real in a sense but with over overdramatised kind of situations like EastEnders.

Steph:
Coronation Street.

Charlie:
Emmerdale.

Steph:
I'd say they're the big three.

Charlie:
Yeah, the big three. The big dogs. So lots of people used to watch that. I would say used to because reality TV shows may have taken their attention a bit more?

Steph:
Yeah, I reckon our parents' generation are more into soaps.

Charlie:
Yeah. So my auntie, she went to America for a couple of years and she got my grandfather to record the omnibus, which is the overview episode on Sunday that does the whole week in one, for two years running on VHS on tape to then watch and catch up with when she got back a few years later. And she did!

Steph:
That's crazy! So people still had the same almost addiction to wanting to know what happens with their lives. So it's similar to reality. You still want to find out what's going on even though they're fake?

Charlie:
Yeah, I guess so. But the thing that I was going to get to was TOWIE. So TOWIE - The Only Way is Essex is a mixture, I think, of soap and reality TV because it's kind of scripted in the structure, in the way that they catch up with the characters and they encourage a scenario to happen, but they let them talk naturally.

Steph:
Yeah. Similar with Made in Chelsea.

Charlie:
Yes, similar with Made in Chelsea.

Steph:
Because I watched Made in Chelsea, but I never actually got into TOWIE.

Charlie:
Okay.

Steph:
But they are the same. They're very.. they're structured the same. They're basically one's just in Essex and one's in Chelsea.

Charlie:
And would you say there's a demographic for either one or it doesn't matter? Have you noticed some demographics watch one thing versus another, or is it more people that just associate with Essex more than Chelsea?

Steph:
I reckon it's the same demographic. I just didn't get into TOWIE. I don't know. It was one of the first shows out there and I didn't know about it, but Made in Chelsea came in when we were at uni, actually second year of uni. I remember sitting down and watching it with the girls, but I reckon it's the same demographic, it's the same kind of show. So they're targeting the same, yeah, the same audience.

Charlie:
But Made in Chelsea is a lot...ah actually, no, it's not a lot more money is it? TOWIE, a lot of the characters or people in The Only Way is Essex were very wealthy as well.

Steph:
And they've gone on as well like Sam and Billie Faiers, they now have got their own show. Ferne has her own show. Joey Essex, he's been on like Celebs Go Dating.

Charlie:
So these are the kind of references that I want to try and like... I don't know if I want to cover them, but I just want to acknowledge that Brits mention this like, so I would occasionally have worn quite tight, colourful clothes back in uni and you would nickname me Joey Essex. And that kind of thing or a non-native they were just like, what do you mean?

Steph:
Who is...?

Charlie:
So these kind of characters, they have these stereotypes or these behaviours that people think about when you see somebody in your close circle imitating.

Steph:
Yes.

Charlie:
And then you watched Made in Chelsea and a character has, or a person, has done something quite different recently, haven't they? They've done a documentary.

Steph:
Yes.

Charlie:
Of their own life.

Steph:
Well there's a few. So Spencer Matthews.

Charlie:
Yes, that's him.

Steph:
So when he was on Made in Chelsea speaking like he is my friend, he was a bit of a lad, he had lots of different girlfriends and no one really liked him.

Charlie:
No, I thought he was a bit of a plonker..

Steph:
But he's now... Well wait till you hear this because he's now used his fame, turned it around and tragically he lost his brother when he was younger when his brother climbed Everest and he's done this documentary called Finding Michael.

Charlie:
Oh.

Steph:
And he goes with a with like a survival crew. I don't know what what the correct term would be. And they go and help him. Sadly, they don't recover his brother, but they go and help him look for him and they find other people instead. And he's like, come across really well from using his fame and I guess the financial support that's come with it to go over to Everest and sort of uncover bodies for other families.

Charlie:
Yes.

Steph:
Sounds very tragic. He's used his fame that he gained from being a bit of a...

Charlie:
Playboy.

Steph:
Yeah. A player to... for the better.

Charlie:
Yeah. Playboy - that's a bit more American than player.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
He was a player.

Steph:
And now he's married.

Charlie:
And now he's married.

Steph:
And he actually did a reality TV show with his wife about their life.

Charlie:
Just...

Steph:
Vogue Williams.

Charlie:
Vogue Williams.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
She sounds like a model.

Steph:
Yeah. Or should be. She's very pretty.

Charlie:
Okay. Okay. Well, that's good that he was able to do good with his fame and help others.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Did he make a story out of those people and their family situation for the audience?

Steph:
No, they were well... they were in the documentary, so it was referenced that I guess I've done a good thing, but that was never his intention. The intention was to find... was about his brother. He's used his fame well as he's got older.

Charlie:
Would you ever climb Mount Everest?

Steph:
No.

Charlie:
Not even to base camp.

Steph:
I think if you're going to do it, you want to do it.

Charlie:
Right. I'm not surprised that you wouldn't... You seemed like you knew your answer there. But you're a marathon runner. You've done how many marathons have you done?

Steph:
I've done ten or maybe eleven.

Charlie:
Bloody hell.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And you still have toes.

Steph:
Double digits. Still got ten toes.

Charlie:
Ten toes.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And eleven... No. How many marathons?

Steph:
Ten or eleven. I'll do one next year.

Charlie:
Not that I remember what a good time is but what's your PB?

Steph:
Three hours and 41 minutes.

Charlie:
I'm going to just insert a clap there.

Steph:
Thank you. Thank you. To under three hours and 45 minutes is a good for age. I got a good for age time.

Charlie:
Good for age.

Steph:
Which gave me free entry to a... to another marathon.

Charlie:
Oh.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Right. So they're 26 miles, all of them.

Steph:
Don't forget the point two at the end.

Charlie:
Point two.

Steph:
26.2.

Charlie:
That's the worst two hundred metres. Metres?

Steph:
Yeah. The final sprint. I wouldn't call it a sprint.

Charlie:
No. So yes, you like a physical challenge, but you were instant to decide there that you didn't want to climb.

Steph:
Yeah, maybe it's this little one in my arms has changed my... I'd rather sit on the sofa, watch reality TV at the safety and comfort of my own home.

Charlie:
And hold your little Isabella.

Steph:
Yeah. And let her watch reality TV as well with me. What's she going to do if I go and climb Everest?

Charlie:
She could be on the back.

Steph:
Helpless.

Charlie:
She could be...

Steph:
In a sling.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
Little carrier.

Charlie:
Questionable.

Steph:
That was her making a sound.

Charlie:
That wasn't you?

Steph:
No, thanks.

Charlie:
Yeah. I want to stay here. One show that I watched just last weekend, actually. First Dates.

Steph:
Oh, yes, First Dates.

Charlie:
Well, what do you think of First Dates?

Steph:
With Fred. Love it, of course. Yeah. I mean, I love love so...

Charlie:
Got to love love.

Steph:
Got to. Yeah. I think that's interesting because you don't follow their life so it's kind of slightly different to a Made in Chelsea or even like a Love Island or a Married at First Sight. It's a one-off. You sort of see a snippet.

Charlie:
Yes. So you don't gather friends from that experience.

Steph:
No. It's more of just an entertainment one-off show and you don't need to watch the next one. So that's something you could dip in and out of. It's a slightly different reality TV show, I would say, because they do First Dates and they do First Dates Hotel.

Charlie:
Oh yeah, I've seen that spin-off.

Steph:
Who you do get to become friends with are the waiters and the waitresses.

Charlie:
Yes.

Steph:
Because that's sort of a bit of a storyline. Do you call it a storyline?

Charlie:
Could do, yeah.

Steph:
Is it a story? And Fred as well. And the waiter.

Charlie:
So hold on.

Steph:
Not the waiter. The barman, what's his name? He'll come to me in a bit.

Charlie:
Yeah, I don't know, but he apparently one date just recognised that after every sentence he goes, hmm. So he's like...

Steph:
Oh, I'm going to notice that now. Is it Merlin?

Charlie:
Maybe. I don't know. But...

Steph:
You don't know. That's why you're asking, asking me about this.

Charlie:
But hang on. So First Dates is a restaurant ran by Fred?

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
The French man.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And he... his mission in life, what would you say?

Steph:
To help people fall in love whilst eating delicious food.

Charlie:
There you go. So he created a restaurant where people come and they have a first date with a random, a blind date.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
We call it a blind date.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Don't we? Not meaning people who don't have sight.

Steph:
So not actual blind people.

Charlie:
No. So they come and they get filmed and then there's a little review at the end of whether they hooked up.

Steph:
Yeah. If they want to go on a second date off the show.

Charlie:
Yeah. The awkward moment is the review room where they rate each other and they say, do you want to see the other person again? And they often take it in turns or they say together and it's a yes no moment.

Steph:
Normally they're... they're quite on par. I feel like...

Charlie:
They can read the room.

Steph:
Yeah. But sometimes one of the couple might say yes and the other one will be like, I thought it was just friends vibe.

Charlie:
Yeah. Gutting moment that.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Have you had many of those in your life?

Steph:
Dates?

Charlie:
Where you thought, ah this is going well?

Steph:
I've never actually really been on a date, you know.

Charlie:
Really?

Steph:
No.

Charlie:
Really?

Steph:
We won't talk about my ex-boyfriends on, on this chat. But I mean, I've been with Andrew like I never really went on a date at uni because I was with him.

Charlie:
Yeah, that's true.

Steph:
And then before that, I had a boyfriend.

Charlie:
Yeah. Oh, wow.

Steph:
So I've never... I've never.

Charlie:
Never done a first date as such.

Steph:
No. That's sad, isn't it?

Charlie:
No.

Steph:
No. I mean I'm very happily married, but, yeah. Have you?

Charlie:
Yeah, I've had a few first dates. I remember the first one that I went to, I was quite nervous and I texted them because I was running late and I said, I'll be there in a and I meant to say min, minute.

Steph:
What did you say?

Charlie:
But it said bin so...

Steph:
But then did that break the ice?

Charlie:
It did, it did.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah. It was a good icebreaker.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
I'll be there in a bin. Oh, I thought I was going to see you in a bin, Charlie.

Steph:
Where's your bin?

Charlie:
Yeah, where's your bin? But that date didn't go great.

Steph:
That wasn't with Stacey.

Charlie:
No, that wasn't with Stacey.

Steph:
Right.

Charlie:
No. First Dates. Another one that I think non-natives should really watch is Gogglebox.

Steph:
Oh, yeah, Gogglebox is a good one.

Charlie:
A lot of slang terms, colloquial language used on Gogglebox. Can you tell us what Gogglebox is?

Steph:
Gogglebox oh, this is going to sound weird. Gogglebox is a show where it films people watching TV.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
So they'll see... there's various different families, couples, friends that are literally sat on their sofa and they are watching a TV show and you're watching their reaction to said TV shows.

Charlie:
Yeah, imagine when TVs came out a hundred ish years ago and they said, in a hundred years or so, we'll be watching people watching.

Steph:
Yeah, we'll often be on the sofa, me and Andrew. And I'll say, oh, I'd like to to hear other people's reactions. It would be good to see what the the cast on Gogglebox would think about this because we might be watching a film and he'll laugh and I'll, I won't laugh and I'll be like, if this was on Gogglebox then you'd get to know what other people think and see what their reactions would be like.

Charlie:
Oh, right, yeah. Yes. And so that's why it's quite addictive. The other ridiculousness of this is that some people review Gogglebox. I've even got a YouTube video about Gogglebox.

Steph:
About Gogglebox.

Charlie:
So it's people reviewing people's reviews of a show.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
That's silly, isn't it?

Steph:
Was it you the other day? I said, have you seen this? And you said, no, but I've seen a bit of it on Gogglebox.

Charlie:
Potentially.

Steph:
So you'd watched Gogglebox and you'd actually...

Charlie:
Yeah, I've only seen a couple of episodes.

Steph:
Maybe it wasn't you.

Charlie:
But...

Steph:
It could have been you.

Charlie:
It could have been me. Yeah, so...

Steph:
Either way, whoever it was...

Charlie:
You can be exposed to a show only through Gogglebox. So you're watching it through the eyes of these couples or families or friends on the sofa. They're referencing things. It's quite well done, the summary. Like you kind of understand the plot of the show that they're watching.

Steph:
Yes. It sounds more complicated and silly than it I think if you were to sit down and watch it. Here's something, one girl that was watching it as a family. So there was a mum, a dad, brother and a sister, the sister of the show that was watching the TV. It's one of the families that watched it has since been on Celebs Go Dating. So she became a if we're calling them celebs. She became a celebrity from being on the Gogglebox show and has since gone on to another reality TV show, Celebs Go Dating.

Charlie:
I mean, we knock it, but it's TV. Anyone who goes on TV can get famous.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And it's a successful show.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Loads of people watch Gogglebox.

Steph:
It's a funny... They're famous from watching TV, though, as opposed to...

Charlie:
Yeah, that's true.

Steph:
Being a like...

Charlie:
Being a good presenter or like talented...

Steph:
Athlete or something. Why are you famous? Oh, because I had a camera on my TV screen, watched me watch TV.

Charlie:
Would you enter Gogglebox?

Steph:
Well yeah, because I'm just going to sit on the sofa. I think I would.

Charlie:
Would you?

Steph:
Although you've got to be careful what you say on Gogglebox, because if you slate someone.

Charlie:
Could be ridiculed across the country.

Steph:
Have like a big opinion, then people know that you've got that opinion.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
You've got to be... I probably wouldn't be myself watching it because I'd know that there was a camera.

Charlie:
And that's the thing with with these reality TV shows, we think that we're watching the real them but they could be putting on a facade.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
For the fact that they know that people have an opinion.

Steph:
And I think it works both ways. I think sometimes you put on a good facade and you want to be known as a good person, but taking it back to, say, Spencer Matthews, he knew he was being filmed and he wanted to come across as this player character.

Charlie:
Oh, did he? So he wasn't just naturally?

Steph:
Well he might have been, but he knew that there were cameras there and there was nothing that made him want to pretend that he was an angel. So I think if you know that you can get famous from being like a the baddie.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
Then it's just as good, isn't it?

Charlie:
Yeah. Thinking about like a pantomime when they come back to be clapped.

Steph:
Yeah. And they get booed.

Charlie:
The..yeah. The sort of extras. It's just like a ha yeah, well done.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And then the really good people you're like, yeah, well done. Really good. And then the bad people, you give more energy.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
You're like 'boo'

Steph:
But you're giving them a reaction.

Charlie:
You're giving them a reaction.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And they're in your mind. Yeah. So Spencer Matthews. He's...

Steph:
He's getting too much airtime on this podcast.

Charlie:
I think you meant in general. But that also. Gogglebox is a good one to look at for a non-native.

Steph:
First Dates.

Charlie:
First Dates.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Because that's very varied people as well. You get a lot of different walks of life.

Steph:
It's not the same type of... They're less superficial I would say. I'd say like Love Island, probably even Big Brother, Geordie Shore. They're in it a bit more for fame.

Charlie:
Yes. And those people tend to focus on their looks a lot more, whereas First Dates is not about that at all.

Steph:
No.

Charlie:
It's just these people want to find love in a way.

Steph:
And everyone deserves to find love.

Charlie:
Yeah. Yeah. Nice. It's not really a reality TV show, but there is a ridiculous one that I never thought would ever air. It's a show. It's called Naked Attraction.

Steph:
Oh, yeah, do you know what? I've watched that a few times. Ridiculous.

Charlie:
It's... I couldn't believe that the British audience wants that.

Steph:
And the British people that go on it.

Charlie:
Yeah. So what is it? We have come to the end of part one, so feel free to take a break from your listening practice, but if you're happy to keep going, then we're now moving on to part two of this episode. Thanks so much for being a premium or Academy member and enjoy the rest of the show.

Steph:
You've got to be very body confident. It's... So I guess it's a bit of a well, it's a dating show and people stand behind a screen naked and they bring the screen up from the bottom of their body to the top. So you see their face last. So you would see the genitalia. Is that the right word?

Charlie:
Nice, yeah.

Steph:
Before you would see their face and the people have to choose, say yes or no if they want to date them before they see their face.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
So they're choosing it from their body.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
As opposed to their face, which is still looks isn't it?

Charlie:
Yeah it is still looks.

Steph:
Nothing to do with personality.

Charlie:
No. It's just a shock factor for the audience really. Stacey said how it actually is one of the only times that she comes away from a show feeling very body confident in herself because she sees the reality of normal bodies.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Versus Instagram. Which is always...

Steph:
That's very true.

Charlie:
Showing her a glorified reality.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Or like a rose-tinted version.

Steph:
And that's a really nice thing to do because I've often probably wrongly thought, ooh, why would they go on that show when they look like that? Which actually is quite a mean thing to think.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
You know, like, oh, like why are they not why are they confident but good that they're confident about that?

Charlie:
You're thinking, I would never be confident if I potentially looked like that, which is it's a moment to reflect upon yourself to understand.

Steph:
I'm going to go on the show.

Charlie:
The funniest part of that is after they've judged them, they then get naked themselves and then they have a hug goodbye.

Steph:
Imagine hugging a stranger naked.

Charlie:
Naked.

Steph:
You've just met and you're hugging them naked.

Charlie:
And there's a cameraman right next to you.

Steph:
I'd be breathing in.

Charlie:
Good luck. Good luck. I hope a successful experience for you.

Steph:
Thank you.

Charlie:
Would you ever go on The X Factor? Not the X Factor, on X Factor?

Steph:
Well, I can't sing, I don't think. I don't think the listeners want to hear my voice. If I could sing, yes because that's actually... It goes both ways, doesn't it? Those... some of them become joke contestants but One Direction, they were from X Factor.

Charlie:
Yes, they were. Yeah. Quite a few successful...

Steph:
Well, One Direction wasn't a success because they've split up.

Charlie:
They're still a huge success.

Steph:
Success, yeah.

Charlie:
It was, yeah.

Steph:
Little Mix.

Charlie:
Little Mix. Yes. Stacey has told me how Little Mix is actually... All of them are incredible vocalists.

Steph:
Yes, but they were four, they're now three. Did you know that?

Charlie:
Oh, no, I didn't keep up. Oh, right.

Steph:
But she's still singing.

Charlie:
Good. Was she the strongest one? And she's gone solo because that's often the case, like.

Steph:
Oh, I think so, maybe.

Charlie:
One Direction. Was he the strongest one?

Steph:
Who? Harry.

Charlie:
Harry.

Steph:
You just assumed Harry. No, I don't think so. Niall Horan, he was pretty strong. He played the guitar as well, and I think he wrote a lot of their songs.

Charlie:
Oh, okay. I always... I always thought it was the case that the strongest one thinks that they can shine brighter without their group and then they leave and then they go solo.

Steph:
But they've all gone solo.

Charlie:
They've all gone solo now but didn't he start it? I thought maybe. I don't know. I shouldn't be commenting on this.

Steph:
You could well be right, but I think you're wrong. I don't know. But the X Factor I would if I could sing. I would like those that are actually talented have done well from it.

Charlie:
I can't knock it, although I do find it annoying how the music in the edit is very like sombre as soon as there's a sad story, they really try to amplify that emotion of the audience.

Steph:
And it works, doesn't it? Sob story. It gets you on their side and you do.

Charlie:
I find it a bit annoying. I want to judge them and their personality first.

Steph:
Like before you know about why they're...

Charlie:
Like, it's a normal thing. It would be weird if, like, we had just met and you told me loads of family members have just died or something tragic.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
It would be a bit over the top to share that.

Steph:
And also...

Charlie:
Because you don't know me.

Steph:
I wouldn't want that. I'd want you to know me for me.

Charlie:
Because otherwise my perspective would change and I'd be in that sort of, oh, I feel sorry for that person. I'm going to be really nice to them.

Steph:
Yeah. So it'd be...

Charlie:
It is interesting they do that, don't they, actually? Have you watched The Voice?

Steph:
Yes.

Charlie:
They do it on The Voice as well. They always do a bit of a sob story. Are we allowed to call it a sob story?

Steph:
Yeah, I think so.

Charlie:
And I guess it would be hard not to. Like if you're going to orchestrate a show around singers, you've got to give their backstory.

Steph:
And I think that's what gives you the connection to that person and that's what makes you feel like you then know them.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
So you're almost skipping that first bit of if you were to get to know someone in real life, you would just do the general day-to-day stuff before you go deep. But if you go deep, straight away, you feel like you know them from the offset.

Charlie:
Yeah, you can't go for ten beers or ten rounds of times of going to a pub with them until they start. So it's cutting all the...

Steph:
It's cutting the....

Charlie:
The dates out.

Steph:
And you're just getting to know them straight away and...

Charlie:
Yeah, the raw facts.

Steph:
There's a friend. Ready-made friend for you.

Charlie:
That you can ring up and vote for.

Steph:
Yeah. Or use the app.

Charlie:
Another one that I think might be good for learners is and I think they all know about it is the Great British Bake Off.

Steph:
Yeah. Everyone knows about the Great British Bake Off, right? They've even done a celebrity version of the Great British Bake Off. And I've actually... There's a... In Tooting down the road, there is a pretend tent where they've mimicked the Great British Bake Off show. And I went with Harriet and Amy and we baked a cake and we came third.

Charlie:
Do they have cameras?

Steph:
They don't have cameras, but they the show has become it's like a...

Charlie:
It's affecting...

Steph:
It's affecting the...

Charlie:
Day-to-day.

Steph:
Yeah, it's an activity. And we probably paid something extortionate, an overpriced activity.

Charlie:
What was the experience? As in it's a cooking lesson? No, no it's a competition.

Steph:
They literally recreated... So Great British Bake Off. Do we need to say what Great British Bake Off is?

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
Great British Bake Off is maybe eight bakers that come onto a show and they get given three separate tasks during each show and they have to go and bake. So they'll do like a bread week, a cake week, and they have to bake whatever they're told to bake. And then they've got judges. And each week a baker gets voted off the show and they've now replicated that as a bit of a mimic for a one-off in Tooting.

Charlie:
So who got voted off?

Steph:
They actually just did first, second and third place. It was just a one-off competition, but we came third. But yeah, so that's a TV show that's been replicated.

Charlie:
Competing against another team.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Oh, I thought it was like...

Steph:
I didn't explain that well at all.

Charlie:
Three. No, no, I just didn't listen. I thought it was you three against each other.

Steph:
Oh, right. No, no, we were one team, and there were, like, eight other.

Charlie:
That's quite a nice social thing then, bonding over baking. And you came third.

Steph:
We came third.

Charlie:
Out of?

Steph:
I think it's eight.

Charlie:
Three!

Steph:
It was just us, actually. We weren't good enough to come first or second.

Charlie:
What did you bake?

Steph:
We baked a... It was Halloween and we baked a broken heart with a dagger that went through the middle. We left the knife in there.

Charlie:
Gosh.

Steph:
Halloween. So, like, blood coming out.

Charlie:
Oh, I thought it was more like anti-Valentine's Day kind of heart stabbing.

Steph:
Or was it Valentine? No, it was definitely. No, it was Halloween because it was... Amy Stone had just got engaged before her birthday, and her birthday is in November.

Charlie:
There we go.

Steph:
So it would have been Halloween time.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
But that's a good show because it has real-life, normal people that are just good at and have an interest in baking.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
And they're not there necessarily for long-term fame.

Charlie:
Yeah. Which brings diversity into it all and thus lots of different colloquialisms and different accents and all that jazz, which is very useful for you folk learning the language. You wanted to talk about Strictly Come Dancing.

Steph:
I feel like it should get a special mention because out of all the reality shows, in my opinion, it's... If I was to go on a reality show, I would go on Strictly. I feel like that's one where I mean, it's always celebrities that take part in it, but it's not a jokey one. It's quite a serious one and people get respect from it and you're actually learning a skill, so you're learning how to dance.

Charlie:
Yeah, that's true. You can't knock it because they're really trying hard to perform an art and it ends up being that they're actually.

Steph:
Actually good.

Charlie:
Very good at the end of it.

Steph:
There's always a couple of joke ones as well because you need to have them in the mix.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
Hopefully I wouldn't be a joke one. I mean, I'm not even a celebrity, so I'm not going to end up on Strictly Come Dancing.

Charlie:
You never know.

Steph:
But I think yeah. So whilst there's some reality shows which we've talked about are there for, I don't know, they're a bit of a cheap reality show I think this is quite a well-respected one. So it's like the other end of the spectrum.

Charlie:
Nice. Same with Bake Off. We have come to the end of part two now. So again, feel free to pause the episode to take a break from your listening practice and come back to the last part when you're ready. All right. So moving on to part three now. Enjoy.

Charlie:
I think Bake Off because it's showing a talent, skill.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
So Strictly Come Dancing. No, it's not just ballroom. It's all types of couple dancing.

Steph:
Yeah, they do loads of different...

Charlie:
Salsa.

Steph:
Salsa. They do oh, this shows I'm not very good, street dancing.

Charlie:
Do they?

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
I've not seen the street dancing before. Oh that's interesting.

Steph:
They do all... I can't think of any of the...

Charlie:
That's really interesting because most of the...

Steph:
Get a bit of break dancing.

Charlie:
So it's a celebrity paired with a professional dancer.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And then they compete against other couples. About 15 other couples?

Steph:
Yeah probably about that.

Charlie:
And then they're whittled down based on the judges and the public each week. Right? They do a dance.

Steph:
Yeah. There's like four professional judges that critique their technique and their performance.

Charlie:
Yeah. And each judge has their own personality. And again, those might be referenced. Like if you're a really harsh judge on something, every day somebody might reference one of the harsh judges as, oh, you're a bit of a so-and-so. Yeah, I can't remember the names of them, but...

Steph:
Craig is like...

Charlie:
Craig.

Steph:
I've forgotten his last name. But yeah, he's a very harsh judge. So people... That's his character that he's sort of portraying, isn't it? The nasty man.

Charlie:
Would you be a nasty judge?

Steph:
No, I'm not very good at giving negative feedback. I'd be very positive.

Charlie:
So we've got Craig Horwood. Craig Revel.

Steph:
Revel, yeah.

Charlie:
Revel Horwood.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Phillips. Oh, no, no, no.

Steph:
There's Shirley. Shirley Ba.. Bass...?

Charlie:
Bruno. Oh, yeah. Bruno.

Steph:
Is he Italian?

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Shirley.

Steph:
Shirley.

Charlie:
Shirley Ballas.

Steph:
Ballas.

Charlie:
Ballas.

Steph:
This bit needs to go.

Charlie:
Yeah, that's rubbish. So you were saying, Craig. Yeah so a strict person might be referenced, as you know.

Steph:
Oh, you're a bit of a Craig. Maybe not.

Charlie:
No, we wouldn't say that. But if you're in the conversation around Strictly.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Something might come up.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Not sure how to give you advice listeners on that one. Okay. Strictly Come Dancing. We've said what it is. Anything else to mention? You find it enjoyable to watch. It's quite a social Saturday night viewing.

Steph:
And it's in the lead-up to Christmas so when it starts, it's like, oh, it's the count. Like, I mean, it's not the countdown to Christmas because I think it's like 12 weeks or something, but it's a nice social thing and people talk about it and it's one of those things that, you know, if you're in the office, it's like, oh, did you see who got voted out of Strictly this week? And it's a good conversation topic.

Charlie:
Yes, because you can give your opinion on the dance or the person in itself.

Steph:
And you sort of almost follow that person's life a little bit as well. Like, oh yeah, did you see that so-and-so did this as well? And it sort of draws attention to the reason why they're a celebrity and why they're famous and yeah.

Charlie:
And being that it's like towards Christmas, the seasons, the days are getting shorter, the weather's getting worse. But there's hope in the on the Gogglebox.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Because you're like ooh.

Steph:
There's something to do. It doesn't matter that we can't go out because it's Strictly.

Charlie:
Yeah, exactly. So you can get cosy, get on the sofa and watch your favourite reality TV show.

Steph:
That's the same with Great British Bake Off actually. You talk about it in the office and you'll be like, oh, it's biscuit week. We're going to go and get some biscuits and we're going to go home and we're going to watch Great British Bake Off whilst eating biscuits. That might just be me because I like a biscuit, but I'm pretty sure that that's a thing. And actually at work you then do a sweepstake of who's going to win Strictly, who's going to win the Great British Bake Off.

Charlie:
There we go. This is proof. This is why you need to know, guys. Because it's you know, everywhere.

Steph:
Watch the reality.

Charlie:
And I should say, I suppose we've been saying reality, but a lot of them are talent shows, aren't they? Like singing?

Steph:
Yeah, that's true.

Charlie:
Dancing. The other one, baking.

Steph:
Yeah.

Charlie:
They're more talent shows.

Steph:
I think there's a... there's a spectrum of different types and some of them people do have talent. So we shouldn't completely knock reality TV in general.

Charlie:
Exactly. Okay. Well, yeah, that's, that's a nice list of reality TV shows and talent shows. Is there anything that's changed over the last twenty, thirty years of these shows that have come into popularity in the UK?

Steph:
I think they're probably more I don't know if it's selective, but also more conscious of making sure that there's representation of people from across the UK so that viewers can sort of everyone can see themselves on the screen. So they're not just watching a certain demographic. They're getting like different religions, different backgrounds, people from different areas. It's not just the same people that you're seeing on the screens all the same time. So like the last few years, Love Island, they've had disabled contestants, which ten years ago, when did it start? Five years ago. They weren't on the screen and now they're much more conscious of making sure that that they're involved because they are part of our society. So I think that's something that's...

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
Definitely, inclusivity is definitely sort of becoming more of a thing, as it always should have been. But it's good that they're making the effort to now.

Charlie:
Yeah, and that is a reminder that our culture is big, is hot on that and has been for the last couple of decades. And it's getting more and more like that, which is lovely. Yeah. Thinking about like the traditional BBC news presenter in the 70s, 80s, maybe even the 90s, it was always the traditional accent. The BBC accent is kind of labelled as that the RP pronunciation with news reporters. They've diversified as well like and the TV presenters. We've got people from all parts of the isles and that's showing up also in in our reality TV.

Steph:
Which is good isn't it? Because it's I would say that general reality TV isn't educational, but the fact that they're making like a conscious effort to do that makes it you see all walks of life. And, you know, we're from Surrey and I live in London. I'm seeing people on my screen that are from all around the UK, which I don't necessarily have connections with in my real life.

Charlie:
Definitely, yeah. And going to university was a big experience for that was a good thing around that idea that you meet lots of different people and that broadened our horizons. It helped us accept more things and not be so narrow-minded. It's on the TV.

Steph:
Yeah which is... It's very good.

Charlie:
Yeah. Cool. Well, thank you very much for that conversation. I hope we didn't disturb Isabella too much.

Steph:
She seems pretty chill. Well, we've sent her to sleep.

Charlie:
Yeah. And on that note, guys, wake up. Wake up! We didn't send you to sleep, did we? We hope not, but yeah thank you very much. I appreciate it. Was that all right?

Steph:
Yeah. Thanks for... I was going to say thanks for having me, but we're here in my house, so...

Charlie:
Thank you for having me. I'll... I'll be knocking on the door with two microphones in my hand in the coming months maybe.

Steph:
Maybe three. Maybe one for Bella.

Charlie:
Oh, three mics. I thought you meant, like, not two months. Three months.

Steph:
Oh, yeah, I'm three months. You're welcome as often as you like.

Charlie:
Oh, lovely.

Steph:
I'm just sat here.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Steph:
Watching the TV.

Charlie:
Okay, well, best of luck to you and Isabella in the coming months, and I will get that third microphone sorted. All right. Thanks for listening all the way to the end of this one, guys. And we will see you next time on the British English podcast. Bye bye, guys. Bye bye Steph.

Steph:
Bye bye.

Charlie:
Okay. There we go. The end of part three, meaning the end of the episode. Well done for getting through the entirety of it. Make sure you use all of the resources available to you in your membership. Thanks once again for supporting the show and I look forward to seeing you next time 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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