BBC 6 minute English-The fame game

BBC 6 minute English-The fame game

BBC 6 minute English-The fame game


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Neil: Hello I’m Neil. Welcome to 6 Minute English. And with me here in the studio ladies and gentlemen is … Finn

Finn: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you sound effects! Thank you, Neil! Is this all for me? I feel like quite a celebrity

Neil: Yes, a celebrity – someone famous – particularly someone in show business, that’s the world of entertainment, theatre and film. Today we’re talking about fame, and teaching you some related vocabulary

Finn: Yes. Some celebrities are famous for their talent, which means by their ability to do something well, like singing, acting or telling jokes

Neil: And others are famous for… well, for being famous or being associated with someone who is. The names Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian come to mind, wealthy women with their own TV shows. But, talking about celebrity, let me ask you a question

Finn: Actually Neil, only if you play that lovely applause again. Go on Neil

Neil: I knew you would love this. Right. Here it goes

Finn: Yes! Anyway, Neil… I can give you my autograph later

Neil: You mean signature? An autograph is the signature of a famous person, Finn. Fans collect these and things like photographs

Finn: Yes, we call things like those memorabilia

Neil: For example, Michael Jackson’s leather glove with shiny crystals – it became very famous in the 1980s when he presented his moonwalk to the world. How much was it sold for at auction in 2009? Was it

a) US$ 150,000

b) US$ 250,000

c) US$ 350,000

Finn: I think Michael Jackson has some big fans in the world so I’ll say c) US$ 350,000

Neil: Okay. I’ll give you the answer at the end of the programme

Finn: So the idea of celebrity seems very modern in some ways – does it have a long history

Neil: Well, Lord Byron, a very famous English poet born in 1788, is considered by some experts to be the world’s first modern-style celebrity. Let’s hear Dr Corin Throsby, English Literature researcher at Cambridge University

Finn: Why was Byron a celebrity

Neil: Listen out for the noun she uses in the first sentence meaning a product, or something for sale

Dr Corin Throsby, Cambridge University

If we think of celebrity as the moment where someone’s personality becomes a commodity. So, for Byron the fact that he was popular on this scale that had never been achieved before because his career had coincided with mass printing. But something more than that, that there was a sort of a secondary industry of Byron stuff, you know, that there were Byron neck ties, people wanted to look like Byron. There was this mass of people that loved him. He could no longer control his image. I think that’s what separates celebrity from the fame that had preceded that

Finn: So the noun was ‘a commodity’. She said that when someone’s personality becomes a product, that’s when they turn into a celebrity

Neil: She talked of fame so big you can’t control your own image – that’s your reputation, the way other people think about you and imagine you. Someone interesting in this respect is Justin Bieber

Finn: Yeah. Are you a fan, Neil

Neil: I’m a massive fan of Justin Bieber. I love him

Finn: I believe you

Neil: He’s a big name and he’s always in the newspapers. His fans are called Beliebers

Finn: …and Byron’s fans were called ‘Byron maniacs’. That’s the name his wife gave his adoring fans. Though she wasn’t too happy about them

Neil: Yes. Byron’s life was full of scandals, actions which cause shock and disapproval among people

Finn: And for Byron it was mainly his love life. He had affairs with men and women

Neil: For Justin Bieber it’s about his behaviour. He was accused of driving after drinking alcohol, and of vandalism

Finn: Vandalism means causing damage to property

Neil: Poor Justin Bieber

Finn: Though he’s very popular – his career started when he was in his early teens and I think it must have been difficult growing up with this global fame. Still, I wonder how much his autograph is worth in the current market

Neil: Well, I don’t know about Justin Bieber’s autograph but I do know about Michael Jackson’s shiny glove. It became iconic in the 1980s, but how much was it sold for? Was it

a)US$ 150,000

b)US$ 250,000

c) US$ 350,000

Finn: I said c) US$ 350,000

Neil: And you were right

Finn: Wow! That’s rare

Neil: Did you buy it

Finn: It wasn’t me. No

Neil: Well, our time’s up but let’s remember the words we heard from today. Finn

Finn: We heard

celebrity show business talent autograph memorabilia commodity image scandal vandalism

Neil: That’s it for today. Please join us soon again for 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English

Finn: Neil

Neil: What

Finn: You know what. Go on

Neil: Okay. One more time

Finn: You love it as well, don’t you

Neil: I do. It’s great. I’ll join in

Finn: Bye

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