Exercise 1

Six of the best, biggest and most popular

We all have our favourite music, our favourite films, our favourite books – but which are the most popular ever?

The most popular album … Thriller by Michael Jackson

At the time Jackson started writing his best-selling album, Thriller, he was upset because his previous album, Off the Wall, hadn’t won a Grammy award. He wrote on the mirror in his room that his next album would sell 50 million copies. 1__________ Even today around 130,000 copies are sold in the USA every year.

The most famous classical music … Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

When Beethoven was alive, his Fifth Symphony wasn’t his most popular piece of music. 2__________ In the twentieth century, the first four notes were used by other musicians to make electro dance, hiphop, surf rock, rock and roll and disco tracks.

The most famous painting … La Gioconda

La Gioconda (which is called the Mona Lisa in English-speaking countries) was not always so famous. It only became really well known when it was stolen from the Louvre in Paris in 1911. 3__________ The painting was found two years later and it is now kept behind glass to protect it.

The most popular novel … A Tale of Two Cities

Many people think that the best-selling book of all time is one of the Harry Potter books. It’s true that all the Harry Potter books together have sold about 450 million copies. 4__________ A Tale of Two Cities was written by Charles Dickens in 1859 and has sold 250 million copies. It tells the story of a group of ordinary people during the French revolution.

The most popular film … The Shawshank Redemption

The most popular film ever didn’t make much money at the cinema. The Shawshank Redemption only became popular later on video, DVD and TV. The film – voted ‘Best Film’ on the website IMDb – was based on a book by Stephen King. 5__________

The most popular TV series … Game of Thrones

The number one TV series on IMDb is currently Game of Thrones. The fantasy drama was also the most illegally downloaded series of 2012 and 2013 – people around the world couldn’t wait to see it, so they downloaded the programme as soon as it was shown in the USA. 6__________

A. Read the article. Which things …?

•   took many years to become popular ________, ________, ________

•   has sold more than any other ________, ________, ________

•   people have committed a crime to own/ see ________, ________

B. Read the article again and add the missing sentences a—f.

a   But the most popular single novel is much older.

b   It’s so popular that, in 2012, over 160 baby girls were named Khaleesi – the name of a character in the show.

c   But now most people recognise the famous da da da dah introduction.

d   He was wrong – it sold over ten million more than that.

e   The author sold the story for only a dollar.

f   It was taken by Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian who wanted to return it to Italy.



took many years to become popular: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, La Gioconda (Mona Lisa), The Shawshank Redemption

has sold more than any other: Thriller by Michael Jackson, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

people have committed a crime to see: La Gioconda, Game of Thrones


1 d   2 c   3 f   4 a   5 e   6 b

Exercise 2

The Brighton Festival

If you like music, going to art galleries, the cinema or the theatre, or learning about books, then you really should visit the Brighton Festival. It has been going since 1965 and is now one of the largest arts festivals in England.

Come to Brighton in May and it’s impossible not to see something as events, such as plays, concerts, films, dance performances and exhibitions, take place across the city in cinemas, theatres, galleries, the street, on the beach and even in people’s own houses.

There have been some amazing events. Here are some of the highlights from the last two years:

Sam Lee is a singer who has spent many years travelling around Britain to find and listen to very old British songs. Many of the songs were written hundreds of years ago and he performs them with an interesting band of musicians.

Kaarina Kaikkonen is a Finnish artist who often uses other people’s clothes to make large sculptures. In Time Passing By, the 23-metre high Clock Tower in the city centre was covered in clothes. It was very popular with visitors and artists.

In To Sleep To Dream, which was written by Daniel Clark, everyone in the audience wears a blindfold (something which covers the eyes so you can’t see) to help them concentrate on the story, which is told with special 3D sound effects and music. In this film for the ears, your ears become your eyes.

Flathampton is a play with a difference. The whole theatre is turned into a town and the audience are taken through the town by the actors. As the story is told, the audience have to help make the buildings in the town that the actors perform in. It’s been hugely popular with children and adults alike.

A. Read the article from a tourist brochure. Are the sentences true or false?

 The Brighton Festival is for people who like reading, listening to music, seeing films and plays.

2   It is very easy to see an event in the festival.

3   Sam Lee writes most of the songs that he sings.

4   You can see Kaarina Kaikkonen’s Time Passing By in an art gallery.

5   Flathampton is a town in a theatre.

B. Read the article again and complete the table to show the correct events for the sentences. Sometimes there is more than one possible answer.


To Sleep To Dream

Sam Lee

Kaarina Kaikkonen


1   This event is outside.




2   You can listen to music from the past.





3   There is nothing to see at this event.





4   The audience must help the actor.





5   This event tells a story.





C. Read the article again. Tick (✓) the correct answers.

1   The Brighton Festival …

      a   is a big party that happens on Brighton beach every May.

      b   happens in many places in the city and people often have to join in. ✓

      c   happens in people’s houses and is not for visitors to the city.

2   In To Sleep To Dream, …

      a   the audience must listen very carefully.

      b   the audience watch a film about music.

      c   the actors can’t see the audience.

3   The songs that Sam Lee sings …

      a   were written while he was travelling around Britain.

      b   were written by the musicians in his band.

      c   were found while he was travelling around Britain.

4   Time Passing By

      a   is a painting of a clock in Brighton.

      b   is made using things belonging to other people.

      c   is a sculpture made of clocks.

5   Flathampton

      a   is a play where the audience helps build a town.

      b   takes place in the town centre.

      c   is a play about children living in a theatre.

D. Write a paragraph about a festival that happens near where you live. Remember to include:

•   what it is

•   where it is

•   what happens

•   what you like and dislike about it.



True: 1, 2, 5; False: 3, 4


2 Sam Lee   3 To Sleep To Dream   4 Flathampton

5 To Sleep To Dream, Flathampton


2 3 c   4 b   5 a

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This