watching tv Television for children

Why do we watch TV?

This lesson focuses on television programmes, and includes conflicting views n the subject of reality shows

Level Pre-intermediate and above

1. In the box below, find four things that are not kinds of television programme.

sports programme
reality show
the news soap opera children’s programme channel
chat show documentary weather prediction game show
news presenter weather forecast

2. Fill in the gaps below using words from Exercise 1.

  1. ‘My favourite TV programmes are American __________ like Friends – I think they’re really funny.’
  2. ‘I saw the __________ __________ earlier and it said it’s going to rain tonight.’
  3. ‘If you don’t watch the __________ or read a paper, how can you know what’s happening in the world?’
  4. ‘I always watch that __________ show. The guests are usually really interesting, and the host asks them intelligent questions.’
  5. ‘Last night I watched a really good __________ about global warming.’
  6. ‘In Britain, some of the most popular __________ __________ have been on TV for more than twenty years. Eastenders, for example, tells the story of people living in the same area in the east of London. It’s all fictional, of course, but the characters and situations are just like in real life.’

Reading. Read the opinions

Mary I watch TV every day. I like lots of different programmes, but my favourites are chat shows, reality shows and soap operas. The only things I don’t watch are sports programmes, which my husband watches all the time, and the news.

There’s a fantastic soap opera on at the moment. The characters are really interesting, and the situations are just like in real life. At the end of each episode I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Stuart There’s a lot of good stuff on TV, so I watch something most days of the week. It’s the easiest thing to do when I get home from work and I’m too tired to go out or read a book. I watch quite a lot of documentaries and the news, because I like to know what’s happening in the world, and I’m also a big fan of reality shows like Big Brother.

In Big Brother they get real people together in a house for a few weeks, and because the house is full of cameras you can watch how they behave. Sometimes the people are celebrities. As a viewer you can decide which of the people you don’t like, and then vote to evict them from of the house – I love that!

Patricia Most of the time I’m too busy to watch TV, and anyway there’s so much rubbish on these days. Apart from the news – which I find interesting, it’s difficult to find anything intelligent on any of the channels.

What I really hate are those reality shows, like the one where they put people in a house for a few weeks and then film how they behave, as if they were animals in a zoo. From the little I’ve seen, it seems the people who make these programmes always put some really ignorant or selfish people in the house, and then expect the viewers to find their behaviour entertaining. I find it depressing.

3 Decide for which of the three people (Mary, Stuart or Patricia) the following statements are true

  1. They never watch TV.
  2. They like a lot of TV programmes.
  3. They like reality shows.
  4. They watch the news on TV.

4 Decide whether the following statements are true or false, or if the text doesn’t say

  1. Mary watches TV at the weekend.
  2. Patricia thinks there are a lot of bad programmes on TV.
  3. Stuart says there are always celebrities in Big Brother.
  4. Stuart doesn’t have a job.
  5. Mary never watches TV with her husband.
  6. Patricia hasn’t spent much time watching reality shows.

5 Answer the questions below

  1. What does Mary’s husband like watching on TV?
  2. What does Stuart love about Big Brother?
  3. What reasons does Patricia give for not watching much TV?
  4. What does Mary like about the soap opera she’s watching at the moment?
  5. What reasons does Patricia give for not liking the kind of reality show she talks about?

behave verb to do things in a particular way

The children behaved very badly.

celebrity noun [count] a famous person, especially in entertainment or sport

The hotel is well known for its celebrity guests.

channel noun [count] a television station and the programmes that it broadcasts

Let’s see what’s on the other channels.

characters noun [count] a person in a book, play, film etc

The film’s central character is played by George Clooney.

chat show noun [count] a television or radio programme in which famous people talk about themselves and their work

comedian noun [count] someone whose job is to entertain people by telling jokes and stories to make them laugh

documentary noun [count] a film or television programme that deals with real people and events

a documentary on Italian football

entertaining adjective enjoyable or fun to do or watch

The book is short but entertaining.

episode noun [count] a part of a television or radio story that is broadcast separately and forms one of a series

evict verb to legally force someone to leave the house they are living in, usually because they have not paid their rent

fan noun [count] someone who likes watching or listening to something such as a sport, films, or music very much, or who admires a famous or important person very much

I’m a big fan of Madonna.

fictional adjective invented for a book, play, or film

a fictional character/place/event

forecast noun [count] a statement about what is likely to happen, based on available information and usually relating to the weather, business, or the economy

The weather forecast is for a dry sunny day tomorrow.

guest noun [count] someone who appears on a television or radio show that they do not regularly appear on

host noun [count] someone who introduces and talks to the people taking part in a television or radio programme

a chat show host

ignorant adjective not knowing the right way to behave or to treat people

He’s so ignorant!

reality show noun [count] a television programme that does not use professional actors but shows real events and situations involving ordinary people

selfish adjective thinking only about yourself and not caring about other people

I decided to go for purely selfish reasons

sitcom noun [count] a television or radio series about a particular group of characters who deal with situations in a humorous way

situation noun [count] the set of conditions that exist at a particular time in a particular place

If the situation had been different, their plan might have succeeded.

soap opera noun [count] a television or radio series about the imaginary lives of a group of people. A soap opera is often simply called a soap.

viewer noun [count] someone who is watching, or who watches, television programmes

The show attracted twenty-eight million viewers.

vote verb to formally express an opinion by choosing between two or more issues, people etc


Exercise1 comedian, weather prediction, news presenter, channel

Exercise 2

  1. sitcoms
  2. weather forecast
  3. news
  4. chat
  5. documentary (or programme)
  6. soap operas

Exercise 3

  1. None of them
  2. Mary, Stuart
  3. Mary, Stuart
  4. Stuart, Patricia

Exercise 4

  1. T
  2. T
  3. F
  4. F
  5. D
  6. T

Exercise 5

  1. Mary’s husband likes watching sports programmes.
  2. Stuart loves being able to vote to evict people from the house.
  3. She’s too busy, and she also things there’s a lot of ‘rubbish’ on TV.
  4. She likes the fact that the characters are really interesting, and that the situations are just like real life.
  5. She thinks that the people who are put into the house are treated as if they were animals in a zoo. She doesn’t like the way ignorant or selfish people are put into the house, because she finds their behaviour depressing rather than entertaining.Why do we watch TV?