Session 4

Do you want to be famous? In this session we practise our tenses while we take a look at why some people want to be famous, and discover what they will do to get the fame they want.

Sessions in this unit

Session 4 score

0 / 15

  • 0 / 7
    Activity 1
  • 0 / 8
    Activity 2
  • 0 / 0
    Activity 3

Activity 1

A disease called fame

I want to be famous!

Fame is the condition or state where somebody is well known or recognised by many people for their skills or achievements. But some people want to be famous without achieving anything.

Take a look at this article about fame in the modern world. Then have a go at the comprehension quiz.

Read the text and complete the activity

A disease called fame

In 2014, 20 Feet from Stardom won an Oscar for the best documentary. It is about some singers who helped to make the greatest popular music of the 20th century, such as Darlene Love and Merry Clayton. Many of them had voices as good as the lead singers in their bands, but they were never the stars themselves. They say they sang, not to become famous, but because they were born with a talent. It was a pleasure to use it.

How different that is from our attitude today! For years now we have had a ‘disease’ called fame - and it’s getting worse. People believe that the best thing in life is being famous - a celebrity. So how and when did this happen?

It’s partly because of the music business. Before the ‘60s, fame usually meant Hollywood and movies. But since the time of rock 'n' roll, the idea has grown that anyone can form a band and perhaps become famous. And with the power of the media, success, money and attention have become very attractive. Fame has seemed even more possible since the early '90s, when the music business began making stars as well as finding them. Think of One Direction and Justin Bieber.

What part does TV have in all this? Today’s international audiences love reality TV like Big Brother, and shows like Got Talent are getting more and more popular all the time. This is encouraging people to want fame even if they don’t have much talent. People think they are going to be the next top model, singer, businessman or chef and they are ready to face horrible judges, arguments and tears - all on camera.

In the end, is fame worth it? Celebrities have to deal with photographers and gossip and it’s difficult to have a private life. More and more famous stars are living like animals in a zoo. They are there for our entertainment, so we often enjoy their pain as well as their success. And what does that say about us? Has this celebrity culture done more damage than good? Are we becoming a crueller and more selfish society? If so, how are we going to change this?

This article is based on an original BBC report

To do

Were you reading carefully? Do the quiz to find out!

A fame game!

7 Questions

Are you a winner in the fame game? See if you can choose the best ending for each sentence about the article.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y


Now you understand a bit more about a disease called fame, it's time to have one more go at identifying tenses and then there's some homework for you to do!



Session Vocabulary

  • documentary
    film, radio or television programme that gives facts about something

    personal opinions that affect a person's behaviour

    lead singer
    the person who sings the main part in a musical group

    famous singers, actors or sports players

    a natural ability to do something

    how we think and feel about something

    illness; sickness

    being known by many people

    famous person, particularly in sport, music or film

    the media
    television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the internet

    international audiences
    people from different countries who watch the same films and TV programmes and listen to the same music

    (here) best or most important

    (here) people who decides who has won a competition

    talk or untrue stories about other people’s private lives

    private life
    personal relationships with family and friends; different to public or professional life

    celebrity culture
    (here) ideas that people have about being famous

    harm to something or someone