Dramas from BBC Learning English

Intermediate and above level

The Race: Episode 1

Episode 170210 / 10 Feb 2017

The challenge is set

"Hello, I'm Phil. I'm about to face a challenge that could give me a great adventure – and a lot of money. What could it be? Find out now in episode one of The Race."

Transcript

Phil
Hello, I'm Phil. I live in London. My apartment is close to the Houses of Parliament and I can hear the bells of Big Ben chiming every hour. I live on bus route number 88 which is handy because it takes me to my office in Oxford Circus. What do I do? Well, I'm an author – I write books – but don't worry if you haven't heard of me, my books never sell – ever. In fact I want a career change because I desperately need some money. When I pay all my bills, you see, I only have enough spare money to buy a few drinks at my local pub – The Horse and Groom. That reminds me – I've got to go there now to meet some friends. Excuse me, we'll speak again soon.

AT THE PUB

John
Hello Phil. Late again!

Emily
Hello Phil. How is your writing going?

Phil
You know. It's all in my head not on paper.

Tom
Hi Phil, mate, how are you? We were just talking about travelling – Emily here, says she's climbed up Mount Everest! Rather extreme backpacking, don't you think?!

Emily
I did do it. Five years ago. So come on John, what amazing thing have you done?

John
Oh, I just went cycling across South America!

Emily
You didn't!!

John
I did. In my gap year. It was such a brilliant time. Four months on the road, although I did get a bit tired.

Tom
Sounds great. Did I ever tell you that I sailed across the Atlantic to America in a yacht I built with my own hands? I still have that yacht down at the docks – but I never use it now. How about you Phil – when did you have your big life adventure?

Phil
Oh me? I haven't done much really. I'm not really one for adventure.

Emily
Why not?

Phil
Err… I never had any money - and where would I go?

John
Come on, you need some adventure in your life. Don't you feel like doing some globetrotting?

Tom
Hey! I've got an idea!

Phil
Tom has come up with a crazy idea where I could make some money and have some adventure. He has offered to lend me his yacht to sail around the world! Yeah – mad isn't it?! He thinks I could write about my adventures and make some money from it. But… I'm not someone who takes risks and I can definitely think of some problems…

Phil
Slight problem… I can't sail.

Tom
No problem. There's an app you can download. It'll show you everything.

Phil
An app? I'll need more than that. I've never sailed a yacht in my life.

Tom
It's easy! And how about if I give you the boat – I'll never use it again - you can sell it when you get back. It'll earn you a fortune, on top of the money you get from your travel writing.

Phil
I couldn't possibly keep your yacht. You might want to use it again one day.

Tom
Hmmm yes, that's true.

John
I know. Why don't you make it into a challenge?

Tom
Yes, John! Great idea. I'll tell you what – I'll make you a bet.

Phil
A bet – for money – what is it?

Tom
Do you remember that story by Jules Verne – when that guy, Phileas Fogg had to travel around the world in 80 days?

Phil
Yes.

Tom
Well, you've got to do it in 80 days. I bet you the boat that you won't do it. If you don't do it, I'll keep the boat. If you do sail around the world in 80 days, then you can keep the boat – and you can sell it if you want. He'll never do it!

Phil
Hold on. How much have you had to drink? You want me to sail around the world, on my own, in 80 days?! Impossible.

Tom
I know. But if you want an adventure – and you want to keep the yacht – then that's the challenge. Exactly 80 days to sail all the way around the world – not a minute longer.

Emily
Go on Phil, it'll be brilliant. Here, have another drink…

John
Yes, and have my drink too.

Phil
What should I do? It is true I need an adventure but this one is huge. I know, I'll have a few more drinks and think about it…

Phil
OK. Yes - I accept the challenge!

Vocabulary

gap year
a year that you spend travelling, often with friends, usually after finishing school and before starting university. Some gap year travellers work while they are travelling, for example in bars and restaurants

adventure
an unusual, difficult and sometimes dangerous journey

globetrotting
travelling to lots of different countries

backpacking
travelling to and visiting lots of different countries, carrying everything that you need for your journey in a bag that you carry on your back

 

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    The kitchen of The White Elephant restaurant is a busy place and Gordon the chef doesn't like it. Watch and learn some useful everyday phrases related to being annoyed

  • The White Elephant: Episode 3: Broken

    The White Elephant: Episode 3: Broken

    Episode 151218 / 18 Dec 2015

    Find out what's going on in the kitchen of The White Elephant restaurant. There's a problem with the cooker and Gordon the chef isn't happy. Watch and learn some useful everyday phrases related to things that are broken

  • The White Elephant: Episode 2: Quick!

    The White Elephant: Episode 2: Quick!

    Episode 151211 / 11 Dec 2015

    Welcome back to The White Elephant. The staff at the restaurant are still waiting for their first customer, but when one eventually arrives they have to work quickly to make sure this one doesn't escape

  • The White Elephant: Episode 1: Panic!

    The White Elephant: Episode 1: Panic!

    Episode 151204 / 04 Dec 2015

    Welcome to The White Elephant - the restaurant with no customers. How will they cope when someone finally comes for a meal?

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 10: The journey's end

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 10: The journey's end

    Episode 151127 / 27 Nov 2015

    Can Gulliver remain in the land of the horses he loves so much?

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 9: In the land of the houyhnhnms

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 9: In the land of the houyhnhnms

    Episode 151120 / 20 Nov 2015

    Gulliver finds himself on an island of talking horse-people

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 8: Horrible science

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 8: Horrible science

    Episode 151113 / 13 Nov 2015

    Gulliver visits the Great Academy of Lagado

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 7: Island in the sky

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 7: Island in the sky

    Episode 151106 / 06 Nov 2015

    Gulliver has left the giants of Brobdingnag behind and begun a new adventure. An attack by pirates leaves him alone on an empty island, until something huge appears in the sky…

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 6: Gunpowder

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 6: Gunpowder

    Episode 151030 / 30 Oct 2015

    Gulliver is in the land of the giants, Brobdingnag. He fears for his life and wants to return home to England. But first, he'll have to persuade the King to let him go

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 5: Palace of the giants

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 5: Palace of the giants

    Episode 151023 / 23 Oct 2015

    Gulliver is in the land of the giants, Brobdingnag. He is forced to perform every day in front of crowds of villagers, but his luck changes when a visitor from the royal palace arrives.

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 4: Voyage to Brobdingnag

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 4: Voyage to Brobdingnag

    Episode 151016 / 16 Oct 2015

    After his adventures in the land Lilliput, Gulliver takes to sea again. This time he arrives in a country where he's not the largest, but the smallest... What will happen in the land of Brobdingnag?

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 3: Treachery and treason

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 3: Treachery and treason

    Episode 151009 / 09 Oct 2015

    Gulliver is a hero after helping Lilliput defeat their enemy Blefuscu. But when fire breaks out at the palace, can Gulliver help?

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 2: War with Blefuscu

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 2: War with Blefuscu

    Episode 151002 / 02 Oct 2015

    Gulliver goes to war against Lilliput's enemies

  • Gulliver's Travels: Part 1: Voyage to Lilliput

    Gulliver's Travels: Part 1: Voyage to Lilliput

    Episode 150925 / 25 Sep 2015

    Gulliver arrives in the land of Lilliput

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 10: The real Ernest is discovered

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 10: The real Ernest is discovered

    Episode 150918 / 18 Sep 2015

    All is revealed in the final episode

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 9: A reunion and a death

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 9: A reunion and a death

    Episode 150911 / 11 Sep 2015

    Lady Bracknell makes a surprise appearance

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 8: The truth about Ernest

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 8: The truth about Ernest

    Episode 150904 / 04 Sep 2015

    It's time for the men to admit they're not called Ernest

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 7: The Misunderstanding

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 7: The Misunderstanding

    Episode 150828 / 28 Aug 2015

    Cecily and Gwendolen both think they're engaged to someone called Ernest

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 6: Cecily's confession

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 6: Cecily's confession

    Episode 150821 / 21 Aug 2015

    Algernon and Cecily's relationship takes an interesting twist

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 5: Jack meets Ernest

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 5: Jack meets Ernest

    Episode 150814 / 14 Aug 2015

    Jack returns home to find his friend Algernon there. Algernon's pretending to be Jack's brother so he can win Cecily's heart

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 4: A visit from Ernest

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 4: A visit from Ernest

    Episode 150807 / 07 Aug 2015

    Algernon secretly goes to visit Cecily. He's pretending to be Jack's wicked younger brother, Ernest

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 3: Lost and found

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 3: Lost and found

    Episode 150731 / 31 Jul 2015

    Jack has proposed to his darling Gwendolen, and she has accepted. But her mother is not happy.

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 2: The Proposal

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 2: The Proposal

    Episode 150724 / 24 Jul 2015

    Algernon and Jack reveal they both lead double lives. But can Jack win the heart of the woman he really loves?

  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 1: Earnest or Ernest?

    The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 1: Earnest or Ernest?

    Episode 150717 / 17 Jul 2015

    A young man visits his wealthy, young friend in Victorian London. But he's not exactly who he says he is…

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 10: The truth is out

    Jamaica Inn: Part 10: The truth is out

    Episode 150710 / 10 Jul 2015

    The Vicar of Altarnum knows the awful truth about who killed Mary's uncle and aunt. She has a dangerous journey ahead now, but help comes from an unexpected place.

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 9: The Vicar of Altarnum

    Jamaica Inn: Part 9: The Vicar of Altarnum

    Episode 150703 / 03 Jul 2015

    Mary has gone to vicar's house. She wants to talk to him about the murder of her uncle but he's not there. But later he arrives and he has some important news to tell her. What can it be?

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 8: A shocking discovery

    Jamaica Inn: Part 8: A shocking discovery

    Episode 150626 / 26 Jun 2015

    After the shocking events on the coast, Mary's uncle is now planning to escape from Jamaica Inn. He fears that someone is coming to kill him – someone who has been giving him the orders to wreck ships. She has to escape first to tell someone what she has seen but who can she trust?

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 7: Shipwreck

    Jamaica Inn: Part 7: Shipwreck

    Episode 150619 / 19 Jun 2015

    Mary has been forced by her Uncle Joss to travel with him and his drunken men on Christmas Eve. She fell asleep but she's about to wake up and discover what Joss and his gang of bad men really get up to at night.

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 6: The horse market

    Jamaica Inn: Part 6: The horse market

    Episode 150612 / 12 Jun 2015

    Following Mary's uncle's shocking confession - how he lures ships onto the rocks and drowns women and children - she escapes from the Inn and goes with his brother, Jem, to the horse market in Launceston. But things don't go to plan.

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 5: Lost on the moor

    Jamaica Inn: Part 5: Lost on the moor

    Episode 150605 / 05 Jun 2015

    Joss has returned to Jamaica Inn and is very angry about Mr Bassat's visit. He storms out of the house and sets off across the moor. Mary decides to follow him.

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 4: The horse thief

    Jamaica Inn: Part 4: The horse thief

    Episode 150529 / 29 May 2015

    Mary finds herself attracted to a visitor to Jamaica Inn. But who is he - and can he be trusted? Meanwhile, another visitor discovers some suspicious objects in an upstairs room...

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 3: Strange goings-on

    Jamaica Inn: Part 3: Strange goings-on

    Episode 150522 / 22 May 2015

    Mary has to work in the bar of Jamaica Inn on Saturday night. She gets to meet a group of rough and drunk men. Later that night there are some strange goings-on in the yard outside. What's happening - and why are people talking about murder?

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 2: A cold and lonely place

    Jamaica Inn: Part 2: A cold and lonely place

    Episode 150515 / 15 May 2015

    Mary arrives at Jamaica Inn and meets her Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss. Immediately she discovers what a mean and scary man her uncle is. He sets the rules and tells her what to do. On her second day there she discovers a locked room – what is inside?

  • Jamaica Inn: Part 1: Meet Mary Yellan

    Jamaica Inn: Part 1: Meet Mary Yellan

    Episode 150508 / 08 May 2015

    When Mary's mother dies, she goes to live with her aunt and uncle who run the Jamaica Inn. It lies in a remote and bleak corner of England. On her journey there she is warned to keep away. But why?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 10: Alice's evidence

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 10: Alice's evidence

    Episode 150501 / 01 May 2015

    Alice is at the trial of the Knave of Hearts - and she is taller than ever before. The King asks the jury to give their verdict - but will the Queen let Alice escape without a punishment?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 9: Who stole the tarts?

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 9: Who stole the tarts?

    Episode 150424 / 24 Apr 2015

    Alice finds herself at a trial. Did the Knave of Hearts steal the Queen's tarts? What does the Hatter know about it - and what's that funny feeling Alice is having?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 8: Croquet with the Queen

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 8: Croquet with the Queen

    Episode 150417 / 17 Apr 2015

    Alice plays croquet with the Queen. But what are the rules - and how can Alice play croquet when the ball is a hedgehog?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 7: A mad tea-party

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 7: A mad tea-party

    Episode 150410 / 10 Apr 2015

    Alice finds the Hatter and the March Hare having a very strange tea-party. They manage to make Alice angry - but how? And do riddles always have answers?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 6: Pig and Pepper

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 6: Pig and Pepper

    Episode 150403 / 03 Apr 2015

    Someone inside the Duchess's house is angry - but who? The Duchess's baby is making some very strange sounds and the Cheshire-Cat smiles while the cook throws things. Will Alice meet anyone who isn't mad?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 5: Advice from a caterpillar

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 5: Advice from a caterpillar

    Episode 150327 / 27 Mar 2015

    Alice is beginning to wonder who she is, when a caterpillar gives her some advice about a magical mushroom. But is it good advice – and who thinks Alice is a snake?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 4: The White Rabbit's house

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 4: The White Rabbit's house

    Episode 150320 / 20 Mar 2015

    Alice is too big to fit inside the White Rabbit's house. The problem is, she's already inside it! How does she get out - and why is everyone throwing cakes?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 3: The Caucus-race

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 3: The Caucus-race

    Episode 150313 / 13 Mar 2015

    Alice meets all sorts of creatures as she swims around in a pool of her own tears. She joins in a Caucus-race: but how can you win a race with no rules? And who will give the prizes?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 2: The pool of tears

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 2: The pool of tears

    Episode 150306 / 06 Mar 2015

    Alice can't stay the same size for more than a few minutes! When she's big, she cries a pool of tears. What will happen to her when she gets smaller again?

  • Alice in Wonderland: Part 1: Down the rabbit hole

    Alice in Wonderland: Part 1: Down the rabbit hole

    Episode 150227 / 27 Feb 2015

    Alice is an ordinary girl, until the day a white rabbit runs past her, saying "I'm late!" Alice follows the White Rabbit as he runs down a rabbit hole, and a whole Wonderland of adventure begins…

  • A Christmas Carol - ep 05 - The end of it

    A Christmas Carol - ep 05 - The end of it

    Episode 05 / 26 Dec 2014

    Ebenezer Scrooge has been taken to several different places by three spirits. He saw that if he died, nobody would care because he is a bad man. How will this experience change Scrooge's life?

  • A Christmas Carol - Part 4: The third of three spirits

    A Christmas Carol - Part 4: The third of three spirits

    Episode 04 / 25 Dec 2014

    Ebenezer Scrooge is getting used to the company of ghosts, but here's one he doesn't expect.

  • A Christmas Carol - Part 3: The second of three spirits

    A Christmas Carol - Part 3: The second of three spirits

    Episode 03 / 24 Dec 2014

    Ebenezer Scrooge seems to be changing his ways. He has learnt a lesson from a ghost which took him to the past and now is ready to be visited by the Spirit of Christmas Present.

  • A Christmas Carol - Part 2: The first of three spirits

    A Christmas Carol - Part 2: The first of three spirits

    Episode 02 / 23 Dec 2014

    Selfish businessman Ebenezer Scrooge receives a visit from the first of three spirits. This is the Spirit of Christmas Past.

  • A Christmas Carol - Part 1: Marley's ghost

    A Christmas Carol - Part 1: Marley's ghost

    Episode 01 / 22 Dec 2014

    In this episode, you'll get to know Ebenezer Scrooge. Nobody seems to be able to get a kind word or even a smile out of him.