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Last updated at 14:21 BST, Tuesday, 02 August 2011

On a roll


Colin Firth is 'on a roll' this year. Listen to the programme to find out why this phrase is more about luck and success than rolling!

 Three Images of Colin Firth (left to right) accepting awards which he won for the film The King's Speech (left image: PA; middle and right images: Getty Images)

Colin Firth is on a roll this year, winning lots of awards for his acting

The script for this programme

Helen: Hello, and welcome to The English We Speak. My name is Helen.

Steve: And I'm Steve. How are you, Helen?

Helen: Actually, I'm feeling very positive, thanks Steve.

Steve: Why? What's happened?

Well, I found out on Friday that I'm getting a promotion at BBC Learning English, then on Saturday I won £1,000 on the lottery.

Steve: Wow, that's brilliant!

Helen: Yes, and then on Sunday it got even better. I found out that some paintings I've done are going to be displayed at an art gallery in London!

Steve: That's amazing, Helen – you're on a roll at the moment, aren't you!

Er… I'm on a what?

Steve: On a roll…

Helen: Roll? I don't roll… I walk, or sometimes I run if I want some exercise. A football rolls if I kick it across the ground.

Steve: Sure, a football rolls, but you can be on a roll. It means you're experiencing lots of success or good luck at the moment.

Helen: I see, the phrase 'on a roll' means you are having lots of good luck in your life. Let's listen to an example.

Man: I hear your sister's getting married.

Woman: Yeah, she met this amazing guy while she was working in the theatre in London, and six months later they're engaged! And then, yesterday she was offered the lead part in the theatre's new play. She's really on a roll!

Helen: So that woman is excited because her sister is on a roll – she met an amazing guy who she's now engaged to, and then she was offered the lead part in a play.

Steve: Yes, if you're on a roll it means lots of things are going well for you at the moment. Here’s another example.

Man 1: How are Arsenal doing in the Premier League these days?

Man 2: Oh, they're totally on a roll! They've won all three games this month, including the one against Man United!

Helen: So that man thinks his favourite football team are on a roll because they've won all their games?

Steve: Yes, they've won every game they've played this month – they're playing really well.

Text message sound

Helen: Oh, wait a second. I've got a text message from my husband.

Steve: What's he saying – have you won the lottery again? Are you still on a roll?

Sound effect of car braking suddenly

Helen: No… actually, he's just had his bike stolen, and earlier he lost his car keys!

Steve: Oh, dear, that's bad luck! Unlike you, he's definitely not on a roll.

Helen: No… I'd better go and help him look for those keys. Bye!

Steve: Bye!


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