Luke's ENGLISH Podcast - Learn British English with Luke Thompson

Luke's ENGLISH Podcast - Learn British English with Luke Thompson

By Luke Thompson

Luke's English Podcast is an award-winning podcast for learners of English. Listen, learn and have fun while picking up natural British English as it really is spoken.


676. David Crystal: Let's Talk - How English Conversation Works

676. David Crystal: Let's Talk - How English Conversation Works Professor David Crystal returns to talk about his latest books, and more. The first book is all about the art of conversation in English, and the second one is a spy thriller inspired by real events. David Crystal is one of the world's leading linguists and an expert on the English language. He is also a national treasure and it's a treat to be able to talk to him in this episode. Video version also available on YouTube. Episode page  LEP Premium  YouTube version Let’s Talk - How English Conversation Works (OUP) by David Crystal〈=en& The Encyclopedia Codes by David Crystal Sign up to LEP Premium to improve your vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation Previous Episodes with David Crystal Episode 454 Episode 455 
01/08/201h 29m

675. An Unplanned Pre-Holiday Ramble (July 2020)

675. An Unplanned Pre-Holiday Ramble (July 2020) This episode is unedited and contains all my pauses, mistakes and thoughts while I attempt to talk about what’s coming up on LEP, my recent appearances on other people’s podcasts, comments and emails of the week and a couple of songs on the guitar. Episode page  LEP Premium Links to my appearances on other people's podcasts The Real English Conversations podcast with Amy Whitney  Instant Feedback podcast with Markus Keeley
23/07/201h 3m

674. 19 Amusing Insurance Claims / Car Crash Vocabulary

674. 19 Amusing Insurance Claims / Car Crash Vocab Listen to some funny extracts from genuine insurance claims and learn some vocabulary to describe car crashes and driving (badly). Episode page LEP Premium 
16/07/2044m 36s

673. Conspiracies / UFOs / Life Hacks (with James)

673. Conspiracies / UFOs / Life Hacks (with James) Talking to my brother about some click-bait topics, with stories, beliefs and a few celebrity impressions. Links, transcripts and videos available. Episode page LEP Premium 
07/07/201h 21m

672. The Rick Thompson Report: COVID / BREXIT / BLM (July 2020)

672. The Rick Thompson Report: COVID / BREXIT / BLM (July 2020) Talking to my dad about recent developments in the UK relating to coronavirus & Brexit with a cameo appearance by Gill Thompson talking about statues. Episode page LEP Premium 
03/07/201h 1m

671. Aussie English with Pete Smissen

671. Aussie English with Pete Smissen A conversation with genuine Aussie Pete Smissen, about differences and similarities between the UK and Australia, cultural and historical details, language similarities, and more. Check YouTube for the video version. Episode page  YouTube video version  Luke's interview on Aussie English 
30/06/2058m 9s

670. Language Learning with James Harris

670. Language Learning with James Harris Talking to writer and comedian James Harris about life as a writer, going to Oxford Uni, being an international Brit and learning German, French and Chinese as an adult. Episode page LEP Premium 
22/06/201h 6m

669. How to Learn English

669. How to Learn English Giving you as advice about learning English across the four skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking. Full transcript available. Episode page LEP Premium 
18/06/2049m 48s

668. LEP LIVE! Ask Me Anything / Hang Out With Luke (AUDIO VERSION)

668. LEP LIVE! Ask Me Anything / Hang Out With Luke (AUDIO VERSION) Listen to the audio version of the recent LEP Live Stream on YouTube including an audience Q&A, learning English tips, some crap 'Dad Jokes' and 3 songs on the guitar. Episode page Watch the video on YouTube  LEP Premium info   
13/06/201h 29m

667. Four Way Call (with Alex, Moz & Paul)

667. Four Way Call (with Alex, Moz & Paul) A lockdown Zoom call with my friends Alex, Paul and Moz which should be a fun but challenging listening exercise. Intro & ending transcripts available. Jump to 00:22:00 to skip the intro (at your own risk)  Episode page YouTube Live Stream Weds 10 June 3PM CET LEP Premium info  Moz's Murder Mile True Crime Podcast Murder Mile Tours  
08/06/201h 50m

Announcement: I’m doing a YouTube Live Stream on Wednesday 10 June at 3PM CET

Announcement: I’m doing a YouTube Live Stream on Wednesday 10 June at 3PM CET. Topic: Ask Me Anything / Hang Out with Luke YouTube link: Episode page for this announcement Last Wednesday's unplanned YouTube live stream LEP Premium info   
06/06/2044m 43s

666. [Part 3] Favourite Scary Films (with James)

666. [Part 3] Favourite Scary Films (with James) James and Luke talk about some of their favourite scary films, and more. This is the 3rd and final part of episode 666. Bonus audio available in the LEP App and on the episode page. Episode page LEP Premium 
29/05/201h 32m

666. [Part 2] Frightening Experiences (with James)

666. [Part 2] Frightening Experiences (with James) James and I share some stories of genuinely scary and disturbing experiences which we've had in our lives. Episode page LEP Premium info 
27/05/2048m 50s

666. [Part 1] The Number of the Beast / Scary Music / Black Sabbath (with James)

666. [Part 1] The Number of the Beast / Scary Music / Black Sabbath (with James) Talking to my brother James about the significance of the number 666, and then some scary music including 'The Devil's Interval', Black Sabbath and more... Episode page LEP Premium info  Kate Arnold's music 
25/05/201h 30m

665. A Chinwag with Sebastian Marx / 18+ British slang phrases that Americans don’t understand

665. A Chinwag with Sebastian Marx / 18+ British slang phrases that Americans don’t understand Chatting to Sebastian Marx from New York and testing his knowledge of British English slang phrases. Slang vocabulary list available on the episode page. Episode page LEP Premium Info   
20/05/201h 34m

664. Lockdown Ramble with My Wife

664. Lockdown Ramble with My Wife Chatting with my wife late one evening last week about what it's like to be with an English guy, raising our daughter to be bilingual and more... Episode page LEP Premium 
15/05/201h 17m

663. The Lockdown Lying Game with Amber & Paul

663. The Lockdown Lying Game with Amber & Paul Listen to three more stories told by Amber, Paul and Luke - can you guess if they are true or lies? Episode page LEP Premium italki offer 
04/05/201h 25m

662. Catching Up with Amber & Paul #10 (Surviving Lockdown with Kids)

662. Catching Up with Amber & Paul #10 (Surviving Lockdown with Kids) Chatting to Amber Minogue & Paul Taylor about dealing with confinement at home with children, the birth of Amber's baby, tongue twisters, weird children's TV series and more. Episode page LEP Premium  Free 30 day trial with Audible + one free audiobook of your choice  italki offer
29/04/201h 9m

661. An Englishman in Los Angeles (with Oli)

661. An Englishman in Los Angeles (with Oli) Talking to my cousin Oliver about moving to Los Angeles, working as a TV producer and how his American colleagues react to his British English. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
17/04/201h 22m

660. Using TV Series & Films to Improve Your English

660. Using TV Series & Films to Improve Your English Lots of practical advice and comments about how you can use films and TV series to work on your English. This episode is a recap of some advice in episode 523 with Cara Leopold. Transcript available. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
14/04/201h 11m

659. Lockdown Chat with Cara Leopold

659. Lockdown Chat with Cara Leopold Chatting to Cara Leopold about living in self isolation, the global coronavirus lockdown and how you can work on your English at home using TV shows and films. Episode page  LEP Premium  italki offer (buy some talking time with a teacher and get a voucher worth a free lesson) 
11/04/201h 20m

658. [2/2] Why do Brits sing with American accents?

658. [2/2] Why do Brits sing with American accents? This is part 2 of a double episode exploring the question of why British people often change their accent when they sing. This episode contains more examples, including some (dodgy) singing from me in order to hear how it sounds when different songs are sung in different accents. Notes, lyrics and transcriptions available on the page below. Episode page  LEP Premium 
08/04/2058m 34s

657. [1/2] Why do Brits sing with American accents?

657. [1/2] Why do Brits sing with American accents? Have you ever wondered why British people sometimes change their accent when they sing? This episode explores the question of why this happens, with various examples and some (dodgy) singing by me. Notes, videos and transcripts available on the episode page. Episode page  LEP Premium 
07/04/201h 12m

656. British Comedy: Karl Pilkington’s Monkey News / The Ricky Gervais Show

656. British Comedy: Karl Pilkington’s Monkey News / The Ricky Gervais Show Listen to a funny story told in a Manchester accent, and learn various bits of English in the process including vocabulary and pronunciation. Improve your understanding of regional British accents. Story transcript & vocabulary notes available. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
31/03/201h 25m

655. Coping with Isolation / Describing Feelings and Emotions - Vocabulary & Experiences

655. Coping with Isolation / Describing Feelings and Emotions - Vocabulary & Experiences A vocabulary episode with lots of phrases for describing the experience of living in self-isolation. It also includes a bit of a ramble about the situation in the UK, my personal experiences of living in Paris during the lockdown and a song at the end. Episode page  italki offer for one-to-one lessons  LEP Premium 
28/03/202h 12m

654. Computer-based IELTS / The First Time… (with Jessica Beck from IELTS Energy Podcast)

654. Computer-based IELTS / The First Time… (with Jessica Beck from IELTS Energy Podcast) A chat with Jessica Beck from the IELTS Energy Podcast about the new computer-based IELTS test, plus some funny stories about doing things for the first time, motivation in language learning, dealing with the stress of public speaking and seeing "The Fonz" on a ski slope. Get a $50 discount on Jessica's new IELTS online course by going to Episode page   
23/03/201h 3m

653. Gill’s Book Club “The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold / How to read books to improve your English

653. Gill’s Book Club “The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold / How to read books to improve your English Talking to my mum about a good book she read recently; a social history about 5 women who were all murdered by Jack The Ripper in 1888. Also includes some advice and comments about reading books to learn English. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
20/03/2051m 22s

652. The Rick Thompson Report: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

652. The Rick Thompson Report: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Talking to my dad about what’s happening in the UK at the moment, how serious this pandemic is, what the consequences might be and how the UK’s government is responding to it. Episode page  LEP Premium 
13/03/2043m 35s

651. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vocabulary

651. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vocabulary Explaining key vocabulary about the coronavirus (COVID-19) to help you talk about this global pandemic in English. Episode page  Vocabulary List from
13/03/201h 13m

650. British Music: Jungle (with James)

650. British Music: Jungle (with James) An in-depth episode all about an innovative British form of dance music from the 90s: Jungle (aka Drum & Bass). Includes discussion with James about the origins of the music, how it sounds, its position in UK culture, some bits of music on vinyl and a few anecdotes too. Notes & music playlists available on the website. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
10/03/201h 56m

649. An Unedited Ramble (March 2020) Never Explain, Never Apologise? / No Stress / Method To The Madness / 3 Songs on Guitar

649. An Unedited Ramble (March 2020) Never Explain, Never Apologise? / No Stress / Method To The Madness / 3 Songs on Guitar Luke talks on his own without stopping, restarting or editing, including responses to comments about recent episodes, thoughts on the methodology behind this podcast, some vocabulary teaching, a few songs on the guitar and more. This is no-stress episode, and a chance for me to just check in on you and make sure you're all doing ok out there in the world! 😉 Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
05/03/201h 59m

648. Ian Moore Returns

648. Ian Moore Returns Talking again to comedian Ian Moore about favourite films, a trip to New York, British & American audiences, how to iron a shirt, and funny stories about taking the language test to qualify for French citizenship. Episode page  LEP Premium 
24/02/201h 24m

647. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 6)

647. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 6) The final part in this little series following Alan Partridge through a day in his life, and breaking it down for language. Alan is not for everyone, but I hope you've enjoyed this series and learned some English from it. Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
21/02/201h 29m

646. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 5)

646. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 5) What did Alan do on Valentine's Day? Listen to find out, as we break down some more clips of this award-winning comedy and use them to learn English. Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
20/02/2056m 21s

645. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 4)

645. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 4) Listening to some more classic British comedy and dissecting it for language. This time we're listening to some more clips of Alan Partridge, a comedy character played by Steve Coogan. This is part 4 of a series I started in 2018. Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
17/02/201h 4m

644. The Rick Thompson Report: Is Brexit Done?

644. The Rick Thompson Report: Is Brexit Done? Talking to my dad about the latest in the Brexit saga including the general election result, Brexit day on 31 January 2020 and the latest government shenanigans by PM Boris Johnson and co. Episode page  LEP Premium 
14/02/2043m 12s

643. The Intercultural Communication Dance with Sherwood Fleming

643. The Intercultural Communication Dance with Sherwood Fleming Talking to Sherwood Fleming, author of "Dance of Opinions" about intercultural communication, including common problems and the solutions to help us learn to communicate more effectively across cultures. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
11/02/201h 5m

642. The Lying Game Returns (with Amber & Paul)

642. The Lying Game Returns (with Amber & Paul) This should make you laugh out loud on the bus - it's the return of the Lying Game with Amber & Paul. Listen to our 3 stories. Do you think they are true, or lies? Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
06/02/201h 23m

641. Catching Up with Amber & Paul #9

641. Catching Up with Amber & Paul #9 The pod-pals are back on the podcast and it's time for the usual catching up session in which we talk about how very-pregnant Amber has moved to the suburbs of Paris, the difference between a terrace, veranda, porch and conservatory, the difference between a cave and a basement, Paul's showbiz news, the ongoing joys and struggles of parenthood, the strikes in France, raising bilingual children and more. P20 parts 4 & 5 will be released next week. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
02/02/2052m 45s

640. IELTS Speaking Success with Keith O’Hare

640. IELTS Speaking Success with Keith O’Hare Talking to IELTS speaking coach Keith O'Hare about how to get your best score in the IELTS speaking test, plus some chat about the right approach to learning English. Luke takes the IELTS Speaking Test (YouTube)  Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
28/01/201h 1m

639. 3 Quintessentially British Books (that you might not know about) with Mum

639. 3 Quintessentially British Books (that you might not know about) with Mum Talking to my mum about some examples of quintessentially British things, in this case it's 3 British books that she particularly likes. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
23/01/2045m 2s

638. 3 Quintessentially British Things (that you might not know about) with Dad

638. 3 Quintessentially British Things (that you might not know about) with Dad Dad picks his 3 British things to talk about in this episode which covers things like ancient history, British northern landscapes and the canal system which built the industrial revolution and changed Britain forever. Episode page italki offer LEP Premium 
19/01/2055m 33s

637. 5 Quintessentially English Things (that you might not know about) with James

637. 5 Quintessentially English Things (that you might not know about) with James Talking with James about 5 typically English things, including conversation about pop culture, writers, TV shows, British humour and more... Episode page  italki offer LEP Premium 
14/01/201h 31m

636. James &Luke Discuss Star Wars IX (SPOILERS) Final Star Wars Episode Ever?

636. James & Luke Discuss Star Wars IX (SPOILERS) Final Star Wars Episode Ever? James and Luke ramble about Star Wars IX one more time. This episode is full of little jokes, sketches, voices and full spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker. Episode page  LEP Premium 
10/01/201h 55m

635. A New Year Ramble for 2020 (Part 2) Motivation / New Year’s Rules / Bilingual Daughter / Neil Innes

635. A New Year Ramble for 2020 (Part 2) Motivation / New Year’s Rules / Bilingual Daughter / Neil Innes Luke rambles some more at the start of 2020 about new year's resolutions, holiday stories, raising his daughter to be bilingual and a tribute to Neil Innes (with a song or two). Notes available below. Episode page italki offer LEP Premium   
08/01/201h 0m

634. A New Year Ramble for 2020 (Part 1) Pod Stats / Welcome to LEP / Travelling with a Toddler

634. A New Year Ramble for 2020 (Part 1) Pod Stats / Welcome to LEP / Travelling with a Toddler Luke wishes you a Happy New year and rambles about recent podcast statistics, new year in the UK, welcoming new listeners to the podcast, and some stories about travelling to the UK with a toddler by plane. Transcript available below. Episode page with transcript italki offer  LEP Premium 
06/01/201h 0m

633. Star Wars IX - First Reactions / SPOILER REVIEW

633. Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker (SPOILER REVIEW) I've seen The Rise of Skywalker - here are my comments and thoughts. Please be aware that this episode is full of SPOILERS! Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
18/12/1945m 55s

632. Star Wars IX - Speculations and Expectations (Preview / No Spoilers!)

632. Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker (No Spoilers!) A new Film Club episode in which Luke does a spoiler-free ramble about Star Wars IX, including various speculations and theories. NO SPOILERS. Transcript/Notes available below.  Episode page italki offer LEP Premium 
17/12/1939m 35s

631. 29 Awful Christmas Jokes, Explained

631. 29 Awful Christmas Jokes, Explained The annual Christmas episode of LEP is here! Explaining 29 truly awful jokes that you might get in a Christmas cracker this year. Enjoy! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
16/12/1939m 28s

630. The English Guy with a Sitcom on Japanese TV (with BJ Fox)

630. The English Guy with a Sitcom on Japanese TV (with BJ Fox) A conversation with English comedian BJ Fox, who performs stand-up in Japan and has his own TV show on NHK. Our conversation includes the story of how BJ managed to pitch the show to Japanese producers, how he learnt Japanese to a proficient level, doing stand-up in a different culture and much more. Episode page italki offer LEP Premium 
09/12/191h 31m

629. Do you ever ... ? (with James) Strange Habits & Funny Observations

629. Do you ever ... ? (with James) Strange Habits & Funny Observations A funny conversation about strange habits that we don't often talk about, with my brother James. Notes & scripts available on the website. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
02/12/191h 46m

628. OASIS (with James)

628. OASIS (with James) A conversation with James about the English rock band Oasis, including details about their story, music, lyrics and the sibling rivalry between Noel and Liam Gallagher. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium  Image: Champagne Supernova by Oasis, record cover. Source: Fair use summary: Content is for educational purposes and the image represents the subject matter of the episode. 
26/11/191h 42m

627. Emina's Long Journey to English Proficiency

627. Emina's Long Journey to English Proficiency My friend Emina Tuzovic has learned English to a proficient level as a non-native speaker of the language. She says it has been "a long journey". Let's find out all about that journey of English learning in this conversation, recorded in London just a couple of days ago. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
19/11/191h 29m

626. The Rick Thompson Report: Boris Johnson's Brexit Deal / General Election / Football

626. The Rick Thompson Report: Boris Johnson's Brexit Deal / General Election / Football An update from my dad about Brexit, including details about Boris Johnson's deal, the shutting down of Parliament, the upcoming general election and more. Includes some chat about Premiership football at the end. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
13/11/1958m 33s

625. 88 English expressions that will confuse everyone (Part 2)

625. 88 English expressions that will confuse everyone (Part 2) Let's continue going through this list of words from an article I found in The Independent. Here is another list of 30 items of British English slang. Word list, notes and links available. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium   
13/11/191h 26m

624. 88 English expressions that will confuse everyone (Part 1)

624. 88 English expressions that will confuse everyone (Part 1) An episode about British English slang and culture, featuring expressions that Brits know but everyone else finds confusing. Here are the first 30 expressions in a list of 88 that I found on Includes plenty of funny improvised examples to make you laugh out loud on the bus. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
07/11/191h 18m

623. 13 Terrible Jokes, Explained

623. 13 Terrible Jokes, Explained Actually, it's 17 jokes, including some simple one-liners and a few longer story-based jokes for you to remember and practise telling yourself. Listen to Luke read out and explain some pretty awful but enjoyable word puns and shaggy dog stories, and learn some English in the process. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
29/10/1946m 3s

622. General Ramble (Oct 2019) Learning English / Politics / Recording Setup / Book Recommendation / Beatles / Star Wars / Bill Bailey

622. General Ramble (Oct 2019) Learning English / Politics / Recording Setup / Book Recommendation / Beatles / Star Wars / Bill Bailey Rambling on my own about all sorts of things including Brexit news, describing my recording setup and microphones, a book recommendation for you, comments about the Beatles Abbey Road 50th Anniversary, the latest Star Wars Episode 9 trailer and Bill Bailey dissecting music in a brilliant way. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium 
22/10/191h 36m

621. British TV: Dragons’ Den (Part 3) Discord in the Den

621. British TV: Dragons’ Den (Part 3) Discord in the Den One more episode about this TV series involving entrepreneurs getting investment for their business startups. In this one there's plenty of disagreement and some strong feedback from the Dragons. Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
14/10/191h 24m

620. British TV: Dragons' Den (Part 2) Negotiation

620. British TV: Dragons' Den (Part 2) Negotiation Listen to a real business negotiation and learn loads of English in the process. Vocabulary, scripts and notes available below. Episode page  italki offer 
11/10/191h 15m

619. British TV: Dragons’ Den (Part 1) Business Vocabulary

619. British TV: Dragons’ Den (Part 1) Business Vocabulary Learn tons of business vocabulary in context in this episode all about a TV show about entrepreneurs negotiating investment for their business startups.  This episode contains a business ramble about things like equity investments, financial projections, manufacturing, distribution, logistics chains and marketing. Part 2 contains a real negotiation with plenty of emotional moments. Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium  
09/10/1957m 57s

618. The Climate Crisis Explained in 10 Charts (with Cara Leopold)

618. The Climate Crisis Explained in 10 Charts (with Cara Leopold) A conversation with Cara Leopold about the climate crisis including descriptions of key charts, graphs and data. Notes and transcripts available. Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
30/09/191h 8m

617. Sales and Advertising (with Paul Taylor)

617. Sales and Advertising (with Paul Taylor) A language-focused episode looking at words and phrases that you often see and hear in advertising and sales situations. Also includes discussion of sales techniques, Apple's sales and marketing strategy and also a classic bit of stand-up by the late great George Carlin. Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
26/09/191h 17m

616. Can you find the 15 idioms? (with Paul Taylor)

616. Can you find the 15 idioms? (with Paul Taylor) Listen to Luke and Paul play a conversation game and try to spot 15 common idioms. All idioms are demonstrated, explained and listed on the website. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium
23/09/1942m 34s

615. Paul Taylor Became a Dad, and you won't believe what happened next

615. Paul Taylor Became a Dad, and you won't believe what happened next How is Paul getting on as a new dad? How is everything going? What's he angry about this time? Episode page  italki offer LEP Premium 
17/09/1944m 36s

614. Another Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 3)

614. Another Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 3) Here's the conclusion of this online murder mystery text adventure game. Vocabulary is reviewed at the end. Video available for premium subscribers. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium
13/09/1943m 56s

613. Another Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 2)

613. Another Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 2) Here is part 2 of this text adventure game. There's also a video for premium subscribers.  Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
09/09/1955m 59s

612. Another Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 1)

612. Another Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 1) Listen to Luke investigating a 'choose-your-own-adventure' detective story and read along if you like! Learn English in fun ways with stories on Luke's English Podcast. Video available for premium subscribers. Episode page  italki offer  LEP Premium 
06/09/191h 12m

611. Top 10 Jokes from Edinburgh Fringe 2019

611. Top 10 Jokes from Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Listen to 10 jokes from this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy shows. Understand the jokes and listen to Luke break them down to help you learn more English. Video version available in the LEP App for Premium subscribers. LEP Premium  Episode page italki offer 
03/09/1957m 50s

610. British Comedy: James Acaster

610. British Comedy: James Acaster Listen to a bit of stand up comedy that will require quite a lot of breaking down in order for you to understand all the jokes like a native speaker, but there’s lots to learn in the way of language and culture in the process. Episode page italki offer  LEP Premium LEP App
30/08/191h 3m

609. The LEP MeetUp in London / Brexit / Talking to my Daughter

609. The LEP MeetUp in London / Brexit / Talking to my Daughter Here's an end-of-summer ramble, including details of what happened at the LEP meetup in London in July and some recordings of LEPsters who attended the event. There's also talk of Brexit and some interviews with my daughter who is beginning to speak.  Episode page  italki offer 
28/08/191h 19m

608. The Mass Observation (with Mum)

608. The Mass Observation (with Mum) Listen to my mum talk about a social history project focusing on the lives of everyday people in the UK. Includes discussion of things like protests, plastic, identity, sex education, loneliness, and milk! Episode page italki offer 
21/08/191h 16m

607. The Rick Thompson Report: Boris Johnson PM / No Deal Brexit?

607. The Rick Thompson Report: Boris Johnson PM / No Deal Brexit? Talking to my dad again about Brexit, this time including our thoughts on Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister and the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October. Episode page with transcripts italki offer 
09/08/191h 3m

606. The English Seaside (with James)

606. The English Seaside (with James) Explaining and describing the culture of the English seaside experience, with James. Episode page  italki offer  I'm coming to the LEPster meetup on Sunday 28 July 2019. See you there? Where? The Fitzroy Tavern near Oxford Street & Tottenham Court Road. Full address is 16 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2LY. Put the postcode into your google maps app (or equivalent) and it should direct you there. When - 2PM on Sunday 28 July (that’s this coming Sunday) The host is Zdenek Lukas - you’ll recognise him in the pub because he will be the guy with the board games. If you’re coming please just send Zdenek an email to let him know you’ll be there so he has an idea of how many people to expect.
24/07/191h 33m

605. Unexpected Road Trip (with James)

605. Unexpected Road Trip (with James) James and Luke go on an accidental road trip in the south west of England and record a rambling podcast, while slowly going a bit mad. Will they make it to their destination before sunset? Listen to find out what happens and to learn some words and culture in the process. LEPSTER MEETUP IN LONDON (details) Where? The Fitzroy Tavern, 16 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2LY (near Oxford Street/Tottenham Court Road) When? Sunday 28 July 2019 from 2PM (and probably continuing into the afternoon) Who? English teacher Zdenek Lukas is the host and all LEPsters (and non-LEPsters) are welcome! Also, Luke might be there with his brother and friends. Email to let him know you're coming. Come to chat, meet people, play board games in English and have fun! Episode page with photos  italki offer 
18/07/191h 16m

604. London Native Speaker Interviews REVISITED Part 2

604. London Native Speaker Interviews REVISITED Part 2 Listening to the audio from another old YouTube video of mine, and then exploring it for new vocabulary and English learning opportunities. Episode page italki offer 
05/07/191h 6m

603. Queen / Freddie Mercury / Bohemian Rhapsody (with Alex Love)

603. Queen / Freddie Mercury / Bohemian Rhapsody (with Alex Love) Talking to Queen fan Alex Love about this classic British rock band, their legendary singer Freddie Mercury and what Alex thought of the recent film Bohemian Rhapsody. Episode page  italki offer 
01/07/191h 18m

602. British Comedy: The Day Today (Part 2)

602. British Comedy: The Day Today (Part 2) The Day Today is an award-winning parody of news and current affairs TV programmes. Let's listen to some more clips, understand the humour and learn some English in the process. Episode page italki offer 
27/06/191h 4m

601. British Comedy: The Day Today (Part 1)

601. British Comedy: The Day Today (Part 1) Let's investigate a brilliant British comedy TV show and use it to learn English. The Day Today was originally broadcast on the BBC in the mid-90s and is now considered a groundbreaking parody of news programmes and launched the careers of various comedians, including Steve Coogan. Episode page Spoken offer :)
24/06/191h 17m

Quick Hello / OPP / Living Through Comedy / Somewhere Else Dreamin’

Quick Hello / OPP / Living Through Comedy / Somewhere Else Dreamin’ Just a quick "hello" to let you know about some other things you could listen to this month, including my appearances on some other people's podcasts. Transcript & Links Hello folks, how are you doing? How’s your English coming along? This is not a full episode, more of an update and a chance to tell you about some things you could listen to, specifically a couple of appearances I made on other people’s podcasts recently. I’ve been preparing lots of premium episodes for this month. I’m halfway through series 13. Parts 1 and 2 of this series have been published and they deal with lots of expressions with prepositions, specifically prepositions of place and movement combined with little verbs like get. As usual there are tests and pronunciation drills. Parts 3 and 4 will arrive this week. If you want to hear all the premium stuff, get the LEP App from the app store then go to to sign up and get started, use your details to sign into the app to access the premium content. PDF worksheets are all available too. Other People’s Podcasts Now then, if you’re looking for stuff to listen to other than the podcast episodes in the archive and the premium content, here are a couple of things you could listen to in the meantime. Here are my recent appearances on other people’s podcasts. 1. I was interviewed on my brother’s podcast. It’s called Living Through Comedy and it’s all about my time as a comedian, including how I got into stand up, what my influences were, my experience of developing my act and also some stories of good and bad gigs. There are several other episodes of Living Through Comedy too that you might like. Both feature conversations about comedy, doing stand up and life in general. You should be able to find Living Through Comedy on iTunes, but if you can’t you can listen to it on the page for this episode. You could also visit and listen there, on a mobile. So that’s nice. About an hour of conversation between James and me, on his new podcast. 2. I was interviewed by Noman Hosni for Somewhere Else Dreamin’, his new YouTube series which is all about interviewing people (comedians usually) about their experiences as an ExPat - that means someone who is living in another country. I suppose it’s a nice way to say “immigrant”. And because I am an immigrant, living here in France and I’ve spent time in Japan too, Noman decided I would be a good person to interview. Noman Hosni is a very funny professional stand up comedian here in France. I interviewed him on the podcast once. He is doing very well as a comedian in France, but he has decided to move to LA in order to pursue his career there. Before going he is working on his English and also finding out about people’s experiences of moving to different countries. I love hanging out with Noman and in this interview I tell a few stories including the time I got sick in Japan (which I spoke about in a podcast a few years ago) and my experiences of English teaching and moving to France. Check it out! It’s available on YouTube “somewhere else dreamin luke thompson” and embedded on the website here, but also it’s on Spotify in audio format. It’s a YouTube video and you’ll see me and Noman talking, but Spotify has the audio version.  I’m doing a lot of premium content this month, but I also have some free episodes in the pipeline including some more stuff about British comedy and an episode about Queen, the rock band, which has been requested many times by listeners, so it’s nice to finally be getting around to talking about Queen on the podcast after 600 episodes. There are still many more topics and things to talk about on this podcast. :)
18/06/199m 1s

600. Episode 600 Livestream Ask Me Anything Audio

600. Episode 600 Livestream Ask Me Anything Audio Here's the audio for the YouTube livestream "Ask Me Anything" for episode 600. Enjoy! The video is available on YouTube and in the LEP App. Episode page  Premium episodes arriving during June!
08/06/191h 24m

599. Oliver Gee Returns with Stories to Tell

599. Oliver Gee Returns with Stories to Tell Australian journalist and podcaster Oliver Gee returns to LEP to tell us some stories about the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, meeting famous comedians as a journalist, learning Swedish and French and his honeymoon tour of France on a 50cc Vespa scooter. Episode page italki offer 
03/06/191h 34m

598. The Rick Thompson Report: EU Elections / Theresa May / Brexit / Football

598. The Rick Thompson Report: EU Elections / Theresa May / Brexit / Football Talking to my dad about the EU election results, Theresa May resigning as Prime Minister, Brexit and English football teams in Europe. Notes, transcripts and videos available. Episode page italki offer 
28/05/191h 6m

Hello! Here are the details of the Episode 600 YouTube live stream

[AUDIO] Hello! Here are the details of the Episode 600 YouTube live stream Just a quick announcement about the episode 600 live stream, happening on Friday 7 June at 3pm Paris time. Links below. Episode 600 Live Stream link on YouTube  LEPsters meetup in Prague on 7 June at 5pm. Facebook link here  Episode page on 
27/05/1913m 38s

597. Growing Up / Getting Older / Becoming a Father (with Paul Taylor)

597. Growing Up / Getting Older / Becoming a Father (with Paul Taylor) In this conversation Paul and I get a bit deep & meaningful and talk about where Paul is in his life at this point, including our thoughts about becoming a father, getting older and growing up. Episode page Spoken offer  🍾🍾
23/05/191h 40m

596. SLEEP with Amber & Paul

596. SLEEP with Amber & Paul All about the subject of SLEEP, with Amber & Paul, including insomnia, sleepwalking, falling asleep on public transport, snoring cats, Paul learning Arabic in his sleep & more, including some slightly disgusting stories, which is nice! Episode page italki offer 
20/05/191h 40m

595. Andy Johnson Returns (Part 2) Eating / TV Series / Football / Music

595. Andy Johnson Returns (Part 2) Eating / TV Series / Football / Music Asking Andy questions from a speaking task in the English File Intermediate course book and chatting about eating habits, TV series, Liverpool & Tottenham in the European Champions' League and music we've been listening to recently including some stories about Steely Dan and The Beatles. Intro & ending transcripts + Videos available. Episode page italki offer 
15/05/191h 4m

594. Andy Johnson Returns (Part 1) Moving House / London vs Canterbury / English Teaching

594. Andy Johnson Returns (Part 1) Moving House / London vs Canterbury / English Teaching Chatting to friend of the podcast Andy Johnson about moving house, comparisons between London and Canterbury and different approaches to teaching English. Intro & outtro transcripts available. Part 2 coming soon. Episode page  italki offer 
13/05/1952m 11s

593. Going through pages in an old diary

593. Going through pages in an old diary Listen to me reading out some pages from a diary which I wrote when I was 16 years old. Join me as I take a trip down memory lane and find out what I was doing, thinking and feeling 25 years ago. Some language is explained along the way. Vocabulary notes available. Episode page  italki offer 
10/05/191h 18m

592. It always seems impossible until it's done

592. It always seems impossible until it's done An unedited ramble about motivation for language learning, dealing with challenges, getting started on a task, getting work done and my process for making episodes of the podcast. There’s also some news, some OPP and a couple of songs on the guitar at the end. Vocabulary notes, links, videos and song lyrics are available on the episode page. Episode page italki offer   
07/05/191h 16m

591. London Native Speaker Interviews REVISITED (Part 1)

591. London Native Speaker Interviews REVISITED (Part 1) Revisiting a video I made for YouTube in 2009 and teaching you some descriptive and idiomatic vocabulary in the process. Episode page with video, transcript and vocabulary notes  English lessons on Cambly + 10 free minutes
29/04/191h 22m

590. [2/2] Film Club: Avengers Endgame / Marvel Cinematic Universe (with Fred Eyangoh)

590. [2/2] Film Club: Avengers Endgame / Marvel Cinematic Universe (with Fred Eyangoh) Part 2 of this film club episode, including the rest of my chat with Fred Eyangoh and then a monologue from me. This one contains predictions for Avengers Endgame, the future of Marvel Studios and some other film franchises including Star Wars. No spoilers given! Notes, scripts and videos available. Episode page  Check out "The Wrong Man" by Spoken - free audio, English study guides and transcripts here 
24/04/191h 32m

589. [1/2] Film Club: Avengers Endgame / Marvel Cinematic Universe (with Fred Eyangoh)

589. [1/2] Film Club: Avengers Endgame / Marvel Cinematic Universe (with Fred Eyangoh) Part 1 of a big ramble about Avengers Endgame, Marvel Studios and comic book movies in general with my friend, comedian Fred Eyangoh. No spoilers! Part 2 coming soon... Episode page with scripts, notes and videos  Check out "The Wrong Man" by Spoken - free audio, English study guides and transcripts here 
23/04/191h 24m

588. Punctuation Rules / Book Review (Part 2) Apostrophe, Full Stop, Comma

588. Punctuation Rules / Book Review (Part 2) Apostrophe, Full Stop, Comma Part 2 of my episode about punctuation. This one covers punctuation rules for apostrophe, full stop and comma. Also you can hear the rest of my book review of Punctuation..?  by User Design. Transcript available. English lessons on Cambly + 10 free minutes Episode page with transcript and pictures  Punctuation..? by User Design - available from various bookshops
19/04/1954m 53s

587. Punctuation Rules / Book Review (Part 1)

587. Punctuation Rules / Book Review (Part 1) This episode is about the importance of punctuation in writing. I'll teach you the names of various punctuation symbols and review a cool punctuation reference book that someone sent me recently, and yes I do think it is possible to have a cool book about punctuation! Transcript available. English lessons on Cambly + 10 free minutes Episode page with transcript and pictures  Punctuation..? by User Design - available from various bookshops
18/04/1956m 49s

It's LEP's 10th Birthday!

10 years ago to this day I published the first episode of LEP. 10 years later I can now say that I'm making a living from doing what I love.  Thank you for listening and making my podcast what it is today!
12/04/196m 33s

586. The Importance of Listening

586. The Importance of Listening Recently I was reading a book about listening and learning English. This episode is a summary of what I read, including details of how listening fits in with learning English, some considerations of the importance of listening and also some tips for how to improve your English with audio. Episode page Check out Cambly for 10 free mins of conversation with a native speaker Ambassador code: teacherluke
06/04/1958m 57s

585. Alternative British Citizenship Tests with Paul Taylor

585. Alternative British Citizenship Tests with Paul Taylor Testing Paul again on his knowledge of Britishness with several alternative British citizenship tests and some very British problems. Episode page italki offer 
29/03/1958m 39s

584. Posh or not posh? (Part 3) with Amber & Paul

584. Posh or not posh? (Part 3) with Amber & Paul Amber & Paul join me to talk again about poshness, posh accents and posh celebrities. This episode is full of different British accents - posh, RP and regional differences. It's also full of comedy and I found myself laughing out loud while editing this, especially the interview with the football player that Paul tells us about. I hope you enjoy it. Episode page italki offer 
25/03/191h 31m

583. British Comedy: The Dirty Fork / Restaurant Sketch (Monty Python)

583. British Comedy: The Dirty Fork / Restaurant Sketch (Monty Python) Analysing the English in a comedy sketch by Monty Python's Flying Circus, and considering British communication style relating to apologising, making complaints and minimising language. Episode page italki offer 
20/03/191h 15m

582. Posh or not posh? (Part 2) Guess the Posh British Celebrities

582. Posh or not posh? (Part 2) Guess the Posh British Celebrities Can you identify which UK celebrities are posh and which are not? Let's listen to some British celebrities speaking, check their Wikipedia pages and work out of these people are truly posh or not. You'll hear samples of lots of spoken English in this episode and we'll focus on accent and pronunciation. Episode page  Spoken Mystery Story offer 
15/03/191h 8m

581. Posh or not posh? (Part 1) Understanding Posh People and Posh Accents

581. Posh or not posh? (Part 1) Understanding Posh People and Posh Accents Everything you always wanted to know about posh people, but were afraid to ask. This episode is all about poshness in people, posh accents and what it really means to be posh. Episode page Spoken Mystery Story 
13/03/191h 24m

580. Ramble / Listener Comments / Robots / Vampires / Two Taps in the Bathroom

580. Ramble / Listener Comments / Robots / Vampires / Two Taps in the Bathroom A rambling episode with responses to listener comments, LEPster meetups, English Robot 3000 & 5000, vampires leaving comments on my website and the continuing mystery of two taps in the bathroom. Episode page italki offer 
08/03/191h 19m

579. [2/2] IELTS Q&A with Ben Worthington from IELTS Podcast

579. [2/2] IELTS Q&A with Ben Worthington from IELTS Podcast More conversation with Ben Worthington from, talking about English skills and exam skills, considering the whole approach and mindset that you need to succeed in IELTS. Includes questions from listeners. Episode page italki offer 
01/03/1951m 29s

578. [1/2] IELTS Q&A with Ben Worthington from IELTS Podcast

578. [1/2] IELTS Q&A with Ben Worthington from IELTS Podcast A conversation with IELTS teacher Ben Worthington about the IELTS test, with advice for getting your best score in speaking, writing, reading and listening. Includes questions from listeners. Part 1 of 2. Episode page italki offer 
28/02/191h 7m

577. UK vs US Slang Game (with Jennifer from English Across the Pond)

577. UK vs US Slang Game (with Jennifer from English Across the Pond) In this episode I'm joined by Jennifer - a podcaster from the USA, and we test each other on our knowledge of slang from our countries. Listen and learn some informal words from British and American English. Episode page  italki offer English Across the Pond Special Membership Offer 
14/02/191h 8m

576. Talking about Comedy, Books, Films & Music with James

576. Talking about Comedy, Books, Films & Music with James My brother James is back on the podcast for a 90min+ mega-ramble about things like: taking sick days from work, snowboarding, doing stand-up for the first time, the new film about Laurel & Hardy, Steve Coogan / Alan Partridge, The Beastie Boys and making mix tapes on cassette tapes in the 1990s. Intro transcript available. Episode page italki offer 
02/02/191h 36m

575. British Comedy: Paul Chowdhry

575. British Comedy: Paul Chowdhry Understand a stand-up comedy routine by Paul Chowdhry, a British comedian of Indian descent. We'll break down his comedy bit by bit, understand each line and learn some English in the process. Episode page italki offer 
30/01/191h 32m

574. [2/2] The Rick Thompson Report: Brexit Q&A (January 2019)

574. [2/2] The Rick Thompson Report: Brexit Q&A (January 2019) My dad answers some questions from listeners about Brexit. Includes conversation about Theresa May's deal, the prospect of a 'no-deal' Brexit, Parliamentary democracy, the possible reactions to revoking Article 50 or cancelling Brexit altogether, chances of a second referendum, Scottish independence, the sensitive Northern Ireland situation, consequences for EU nationals in the UK and the question of trading on WTO rules. Almost everything, basically! Episode page  italki offer 
25/01/191h 14m

573. [1/2] The Rick Thompson Report: Brexit Update (January 2019)

573. [1/2] The Rick Thompson Report: Brexit Update (January 2019) Part 1 of a double episode of the Rick Thompson Report, talking to my dad about the latest developments in the shambolic Brexit story. This time we're focusing on what happened in last week's Parliamentary vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal, what the situation is now, and what might happen in the future. We talk about no-deal Brexit, the possibility of a 2nd referendum, postponing Article 50 and more. Part 2 contains questions from listeners and will be available soon. Episode page  italki offer 
25/01/191h 6m

572. Worst Stand-up Gig Experiences (with Amber & Paul)

572. Worst Stand-up Gig Experiences (with Amber & Paul) Amber, Paul and Luke tell some stories of their worst ever stand-up comedy gigs. Expect some anecdotes about embarrassing and humiliating experiences on stage, and "dying on your arse". Intro & outtro transcripts available + bonus audio in the LEP app.  Episode page  italki offer 
20/01/191h 26m

571. Bill Burr's Hilarious Plane Story - Enjoy Comedy/Storytelling in English

Understand a funny anecdote by comedian Bill Burr. In this episode we’re going to do some intensive listening practice using the true story of a bizarre encounter with a man on a plane. Look out for language for travelling by plane, some American English and A LOT of swearing, particularly the F word. Episode page  italki offer 
16/01/191h 42m

570. Learning & Teaching English with Zdenek Lukas (Part 2)

570. Learning & Teaching English with Zdenek Lukas (Part 2) Part 2 of my chat with Zdenek from the Czech Republic. In this one we talk about becoming an English teacher, taking the infamous DELTA teaching course, Zdenek's podcast and board game, and some long-lost (and embarrassing) comedy YouTube videos I made in the pre-podcast days. Episode page  Spoken offer 
11/01/191h 11m

569. Learning & Teaching English with Zdenek Lukas (Part 1)

569. Learning & Teaching English with Zdenek Lukas (Part 1) Talking to English teacher & podcaster Zdenek Lukas from the Czech Republic about various things, including how he learned English by working on a building site in East London with a team of cockneys who couldn't pronounce his name properly. Also includes tangents about football commentators, climate change denial, flat earth conspiracy theorists and more. [Part 1 of 2] Intro & outro transcripts available. Episode page  Spoken offer 
11/01/191h 4m

568. What is Luke's English Podcast, and how can it help you with your English?

568. What is Luke's English Podcast, and how can it help you with your English? What are the aims & objectives for this podcast? How can you use it to improve your English? This episode is an introduction for new listeners and a reminder for long-term listeners: This is a podcast all about learning English through listening, while having some fun in the process. Transcript available. Episode page  italki offer 
07/01/191h 36m

567. Alternative Christmas Stories & Poems / Beatles / Happy New Year from LEP!

567. Alternative Christmas Stories & Poems / Beatles / Happy New Year from LEP! This is the last episode of LEP before the end of 2018. It's Christmas and New Years Eve is approaching, so it's time for the traditional Christmas episode of LEP! In this one I'm going to read some Christmas stories and a couple of poems which are a bit different to the normal stuff you get at this time of year. Also, keep listening for a funny appearance by The Beatles. Episode page  Spoken offer 
21/12/181h 43m

566. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 6) 2018 with Amber

566. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 6) 2018 with Amber Minogue Here's the final part of this series about trending words and issues in 2018, this time with friend of the podcast Amber Minogue. Join us as we talk about jogging, picking up litter, bird watching, VAR & football, veganism, ethnic diversity in Hollywood and more. Notes available. Episode page Spoken offer 
19/12/181h 10m

565. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 5) 2018 with Amber

565. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 5) 2018 with Amber Minogue Talking to my friend Amber about some trending vocabulary and hot topics from 2018, like plastic pollution, dance crazes and the Brexit backstop. Includes discussion, language explanations, David Attenborough impressions and more. Notes available.  Episode page  italki offer 
17/12/181h 1m

564. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 4)

564. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 4) More trending vocabulary and issues of the moment, this time focusing on topics like working conditions in the gig economy, the pros and cons of instagram and a true story about a unicorn riding a bike in London. Transcript available. Episode page  italki offer LONDON LEPsters! I am performing stand-up comedy in London on Saturday 15 December in the afternoon. This is a very late-notice announcement! Come to the Comedy Store on Oxenden Street in Leicester Square to see me perform stand-up with Paul Taylor. The show is FREE. No reservations. Showtime at 4pm but arrive at 3.30pm to queue like British people. First come, first served. 
13/12/181h 15m

563. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 3)

563. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 3) Continuing this episode series with vocabulary explanations and discussions of big issues from the last couple of years. Includes talk of how social media affects the way we see the world, the pros and cons of fidget spinners, and current debates about gender identity, including my thoughts on the new female Doctor in the classic British TV series, Doctor Who. Transcript available. Episode page italki offer  
11/12/181h 14m

562. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 2)

562. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 2) Vocabulary explanations and discussions of hot topics from the last couple of years. Talking about some controversial political stuff like the rise of fascism and anti-fascism, the relative popularity of UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, and how the winter season changes people's feelings about romance and relationships. Transcript available. Episode page  italki offer 
10/12/181h 22m

561. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 1)

561. The Collins Words of the Year (Part 1) The first part of an episode series about trending vocabulary - words which have been used a lot in the last couple of years. Listen to me talk about words chosen by Collins Dictionaries as their "Words of the Year". This first episode focuses on how publishers use big data and then lots of discussion about the 2017 word of the year, which was fake news. Episode page  italki offer 
07/12/181h 19m

560. Sarah Donnelly Returns - Writing jokes, public speaking, doing comedy in another language

Talking to comedian Sarah Donnelly about how she writes her jokes, advice on public speaking and how to avoid nerves and negative feelings, performing stand-up comedy in another language, and more. Sarah is a comedian and language teacher from the US,  now living in France. Episode page italki offer 
03/12/181h 20m

559. The Rick Thompson Report: Brexit Chaos (November 2018)

559. The Rick Thompson Report: Brexit Chaos (November 2018) Talking to my dad, Rick Thompson, about recent developments in the story of Brexit - Britain's exit from the European Union. Recorded on 18 November 2018. Episode page italki offer   
19/11/181h 6m

558. Rambling in the new Sky-Pod

558. Rambling in the new Sky-Pod Another solo episode recorded in the new sky-pod. Talking about moving to the new flat, some podcast news, meeting Louis CK, WW1 remembrance, rock climbing and more... Some vocab is explained during the episode. Episode page  italki offer 
14/11/181h 22m

557. I'm a Rambling Guy (Monologue - Autumn 2018) Audio Version

557. I'm a Rambling Guy (Monologue - Autumn 2018) A rambling monologue about my recent French test, a duck-related error, responses to the Alan Partridge episodes and the Russian comedy club video, moving out of the sky-pod, and life with my wife and daughter. A video version of this episode is available for Premium subscribers in the LEP app and online. Yes, this episode is long… but you don’t have to listen to it in one sitting. Listen to a bit, then stop and go to work/college, then listen to the rest later. This is much more convenient if you are using a podcast app, like the LEP app (available in the app store on your phone of course!) because it will remember where you stopped listening. Episode page italki offer :)
01/11/181h 32m


A Phrasal Verb a Day #142 - TO POTTER AROUND/ABOUT To spend time in a relaxed way doing pleasant things which are not very important. Relaxing by doing little things and taking your time. We spent our Sunday just pottering about in the garden.  
31/10/181m 42s

#141 - POSE AS

A Phrasal Verb a Day #141 - TO POSE AS To pretend to be someone else in order to trick someone. Posing as security guards, the bank robbers entered the building through the back door.
31/10/184m 18s

#140 - POP IN / OUT / OFF / ON / UP (A Phrasal Verb a Day is back)

#140 - POP IN / OUT / OFF / ON / UP (A Phrasal Verb a Day is back) A Phrasal Verb a Day is back. In this episode I'll give you an update about this podcast and teach you phrasal verbs with POP. Episode Transcript Hello everyone, This is Luke Thompson and you’re  listening to A Phrasal Verb a Day. This is where I attempt to teach you a phrasal verb every day for a year. Yes, this project is still ongoing. APVAD is back! In this episode I’m going to teach you some more common phrasal verbs as we continue on this mission to get to 365 days of phrasal verbs. Now I’m going to talk to you about phrasal verbs with the word pop and there are a lot. Also I want to say that APVAD will continue after this, but not here at this RSS feed - all the new episodes will appear in the LEP App and online at Over the next days or weeks, 10 more episodes of a phrasal verb a day will appear in the app. I’ll talk to you more about that  in a moment. First let me just remind you of this project. This is where I teach you phrasal verbs - these essential bits of natural English. Originally I planned to do one of these every day but after a couple of months it became impossible! I’ve added more episodes over the years and we’re currently on #139 I think. Well, it’s time to revive this series and do so in the LEP app which I expect is where you are listening to this. So what I do in these episodes is explain and demonstrate various phrasal verbs.  I think the best way to learn vocab is to hear it being used in context with vivid examples and I always try to do this, sometimes having a bit of fun with some scenarios. All of it is designed to help you learn these crucial bits of English. Phrasal verbs are crucial because this is exactly the way native speakers use the language but learners of English have trouble with them because they are idiomatic, tricky in structure and don’t exist as grammatical forms in their languages. Let’s carry on, with a big one. “POP” Phrasal verbs with pop. This is extremely common and quite versatile. It’s absolutely one of the most common little phrases used every day all over the country. It’s informal but polite and let’s hear about it. Pop on, pop in, pop out, pop off, pop up and more.   ---Teach POP phrasal verbs--- Listen for full examples and definitions. Pop in = go somewhere quickly for a short visit Pop on = put an object somewhere, or wear some clothes Pop out = to leave quickly or for a short time Pop over / pop round = visit someone quickly for a short time Pop up = appear quickly or suddenly a pop-up ad   SO there you go.   Normally these episodes are shorter than this. As I said earlier, there will be about 10 more of these phrasal verb episodes arriving soon, but they won’t arrive here in the APVAD podcast feed. They’ll arrive in the LEP App. So get the LEP App for your smartphone, you can find it in the app store for iOS and Android. Then in the app use the side menu to find the Phrasal Verb category. All the episodes will be there. You can also access and download the episodes from   The transcript collaboration for these episodes is still going, so if you’d like to contribute a transcript to an APVAD episode, go to my website and then Episodes, then hover over “Phrasal verb podcast” and click transcript collaboration. Have a good day! :)
30/10/189m 10s

556. With Jessica Beck from Honestly English

Talking to English teacher Jessica Beck about her new website, "Honestly English" and some typical topics she talks about and teaches, including the #MeToo movement and our favourite female superheroes and comedians. Videos and links available. Episode page italki offer 
24/10/181h 1m

555. Raphael Miller's Summer School Report

555. Raphael Miller's Summer School Report Raphael Miller is back on the podcast to tell us about his experience of running a summer school for international teenagers in Liverpool. The conversation includes lots of stories and descriptions of what happened at the school this summer, including things like teenage sleeping habits, a Chinese celebrity teenager, the proper way to eat a pizza, piano-playing Italian wonder-kids, making tie-dye t-shirts, riding roller-coasters, and blossoming friendships across national borders. Episode page  italki offer 
22/10/181h 14m

554. ODD NEWS STORIES (with Mum & Dad)

554. ODD NEWS STORIES (with Mum & Dad) Discussing some strange and funny news stories with my parents. Thanks to my Mum & Dad for their contribution to this episode. Transcripts and notes available. Episode page  italki offer Sign up for LEP Premium 
18/10/181h 11m

553. Fighting Wildland Fires with Benny the Russian Firefighter

553. Fighting Wildland Fires with Benny the Russian Firefighter Talking to firefighter Anton Beneslavsky (aka "Benny") who works as the leader of an international fire fighting project. We talk about becoming a firefighter, the work that he’s doing with Greenpeace around the world and the very serious threat of climate change. Episode page  italki offer   
15/10/1851m 48s

552. Discussing Comedy & Culture (with Amber & Paul)

552. Discussing Comedy & Culture (with Amber & Paul) Amber, Paul and I listen to a comedy video which is often sent to me by listeners to this podcast. The video is about the experience of trying to understand people when they speak English. Let's see what the pod-pals think of this comedy from another country. The conversation then turns to comedy, culture, language and some more Alan Partridge. I read out some listener comments at the end of the episode. Notes, transcripts and links available. Episode page Spoken offer 
05/10/181h 17m

551. Catching Up with Amber & Paul #8 - Stereotypes

551. Catching Up with Amber & Paul #8 - Stereotypes Chatting to the pod-pals Amber & Paul again and this time the conversation turns to the subject of national stereotypes, and why Paul has bleached his hair blond. Notes & transcripts on the website. Episode page Spoken offer
01/10/1848m 12s

550. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 3)

550. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 3) This episode is long, but stick with it! This is the final part of this trilogy of British Comedy episodes about Alan Partridge, analysing some of the quieter and darker moments in Alan's life. Expect analysis of both the comedy and the language. Vocabulary lists and transcript available. Vocabulary lists and transcript available.  Episode page italki offer 
28/09/181h 38m

549. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 2)

549. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 2) Building on the previous episode, this time we're looking at how Alan Partridge interacts with people in his every day life and how this results in some classic moments of British TV comedy. All the material is explained with plenty of vocabulary to learn. Episode page  italki offer 
26/09/181h 28m

548. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 1)

548. British Comedy: Alan Partridge (Part 1) Continuing the comedy theme by analysing a character that most British people know but learners of English find difficult to understand. Check the page for the episode for transcripts, notes and videos. Episode page italki offer 
25/09/1855m 34s

547. Best Jokes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

547. Best Jokes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Studying some jokes told by stand-up comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe comedy festival, and dissecting them for vocabulary. Learn English with some jokes and find out about typical joke structures used by stand-up comedians. Transcripts and jokes available. Episode page  Spoken offer 
19/09/1843m 19s

546. Death by Meteor

546. Death by Meteor This episode is called Death By Meteor and it’s all about asteroids, space, science, maths, astrophysics and the end of the world! Transcript available. Episode page italki offer
11/09/1855m 37s

545. The Hitchhiker by Roald Dahl (Short Story)

545. The Hitchhiker by Roald Dahl (Short Story) Learn English with this short story by British writer Roald Dahl. Introduction transcript and short story link available on the episode page, here  italki offer  :)
07/09/1844m 28s

544. The Rick Thompson Report: No Deal Brexit

544. The Rick Thompson Report: No Deal Brexit Talking to my dad about the current Brexit situation, including what could actually happen in the UK if we leave the EU with no deal. Expect language relating to politics, economics and the big issues of the day. Intro and outtro transcripts available. Episode page Spoken offer   
27/08/1848m 57s

543. Britain's First Insect Restaurant Opens

Talking about the creepy subject of eating insects, which might be the solution to many of the problems that humans face as a species. This episode includes discussion of eating habits, environmental issues and some insect-related idioms and expressions. Transcripts and vocabulary lists available. Bon appetit! Episode page italki offer  :) 
23/08/1857m 16s

542. Talking Rubbish & Just Having Fun with The Thompsons

542. Talking Rubbish & Just Having Fun with The Thompsons Talking to my dad, mum and brother about all manner of topics, including: Space, climbing mountains, British comedy, fishing, earworms, tattoos, David Beckham, jokes, citizenship tests, baby monkeys, ghosts and celebrity impressions. Intro and outtro transcripts available. Episode page  italki offer   
21/08/181h 10m

541. What British People Say vs What They Mean

541. What British People Say vs What They Mean Examining British communication style and debunking a few myths about how British people communicate. This episode is based on a famous infographic called "What British People Say vs What They Really Mean" or "The Anglo-EU Translation Guide". It contains lots of thoughts about how direct and indirect cultures communicate with each other, and some samples of business English, with a few improvised scenarios too! Transcript available. Episode page  Spoken offer 
31/07/181h 2m

540. What’s Up? Post World Cup / News / LEP Meetup London / Super Mario Earworms

540. What’s Up? Post World Cup / News / LEP Meetup London / Super Mario Earworms Giving some news, summing up the World Cup, England out, France win, and some chat about music that gets stuck in your head. Get some English stuck in your head with this episode. Transcript available! Episode page italki offer
21/07/1854m 57s

539. World Cup 2018 [3] Is It Coming Home?

More football episodes - but it won't last forever! In this one I'm in England talking to my Dad and my brother about the world cup so far including England's performances, World Cup songs, diving, VAR and predictions for the semi finals. Enjoy! Episode page italic offer 
09/07/1859m 21s

538. World Cup 2018 [2] The Second Round / Listener Comments

Talking about the second round of the World Cup in Russia, including comments about the teams, the games, the issues, England's penalties vs Colombia and the way football commentators speak. Listener comments are read out. Notes available. Episode page  Spoken offer
05/07/1857m 7s

537. How Olly Richards Learns a Language (Part 2) Intermediate Plateau / The Magic of Story / Pronunciation & Personality / Classroom vs Self-Guided Learning

537. How Olly Richards Learns a Language (Part 2) Intermediate Plateau / The Magic of Story / Pronunciation & Personality / Classroom vs Self-Guided Learning The rest of my conversation with polyglot Olly Richards, talking about how to overcome the intermediate plateau, the magic of story, pronunciation and identity issues, and self-guided learning.  Episode page  italki offer   
02/07/181h 0m

536. How Olly Richards Learns a Language (Part 1) Compelling Material / Input-based Learning

536. How Olly Richards Learns a Language (Part 1) Compelling Material / Input-based Learning Talking to polyglot Olly Richards about the benefits of listening, reading and using stories to learn English. Full of insights and strategies for effective language learning. Transcripts and notes available. Episode page  italki offer 
29/06/1857m 43s

535. World Cup 2018 [1]

535. World Cup 2018 [1] Talking about the World Cup 2018 in Russia, including comments about the teams, players, groups, VAR and England's performances. Notes & transcripts available. Episode page  italki offer 
26/06/181h 7m

LEP PREMIUM is now live -

LEP Premium is ready -  This is an announcement to let you know that LEP Premium is now ready to go. If you want to superpower your English into the 9th dimension, then you can get started by signing up for LEP Premium. Let me tell you about it. I’m about to upload some premium episodes into the app. They’ll also be available online if you don’t have the app - but the app is going to be the most convenient way to listen to these episodes in the normal way, when you’re out and about or when you’re at home studying. There will be about 3 episodes coming - probably already there by now, and then more episodes + bonuses every month after that. The way this works is that you’ll need to just create a profile online with my host, sign into the app with that profile and you’ll get access to all the premium episodes I’ve uploaded and am going to upload. to get started. Then Get Access to Premium Episodes. Complete the details and get your login codes and then bob’s your uncle. In the app the login is in the settings menu. Make sure your version of the LEP app is updated. Check the PREMIUM category and that’s where you’ll find the episodes. There will be episodes coming regularly and I’ll also upload other things for premium subscribers, including pdfs, shorter episodes, phrasal verbs and videos. There will be quite a lot of content for the premium subscribers - in the app and online. Yep - you will also have to pay for the premium episodes, but it will be a small amount - just a few dollars - like the price of a coffee, and finally this is a way for me to monetise my online work, and for you to support this whole project. PREMIUM DEAL All the usual episodes of LEP, sometimes with bonuses if you’re using the app, (obviously). Minimum 2 premium episodes per month (MINIMUM - probably more) + various bonuses Premium episodes will be primarily focused on teaching you language. Helping you to develop your vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation with a special interest in looking at how English really sounds vs how it is written. It’s all about decoding language, helping you realise how it really sounds as well as how it is structured. Pdfs with transcripts, vocab lists and notes for each P episode - available in the app or downloadable online. More phrasal verb episodes - New ones :) Video versions of LEP Episodes sometimes (not every single episode, but when possible) Invitations to live YouTube streaming events - e.g. live podcast recordings or online workshops & Q&A sessions - only for premium subscribers (arrange a date, tell them you’ll send the email 30 mins before the live stream, set up the live stream as unlisted, send the email with link, start) All content in the app and online So the podcast will continue as normal with normal episodes being free, but premium subscribers can access all this other stuff too. Premium Episode content Every premium episode will primarily be about teaching language to you. Grammar, vocab or pron. Episodes will be either: Language Reviews focusing on English which has come up naturally in normal episodes of LEP (e.g. unpacking the grammar, vocab or pron in conversations or monologues). Learn real English as it is spoken by my friends and guests. Language Lessons focusing on grammar, vocab or pronunciation (similar to recent grammar lessons). I’ll pick useful, important or requested areas of language and analyse + explain them in proper detail. You might think - what’s the difference between premium and normal? Normal LEP episodes can be divided into 2 functions: To give you listening practice. Exposure to plenty of spoken English is vital for developing proper English skills. Listen a lot and you learn language as a consequence. Sometimes I explain things as I go in order to help make things clear and because as a teacher for over 16 years, I’m always teaching you language, even if that’s not the primary aim of the episode. The primary aim of episodes like this is to explain a topic to you, to teach you about culture, tell you stories, make you laugh, interview people and generally encourage you to listen to English as it is spoken naturally. Language learning happens as a consequence, and you can push it further and more effectively by using the transcripts and notes that I publish free on my website. To teach you language directly, rather than just giving you listening practice. I pick certain language points and explain them explicitly with definitions and made up examples. Or I pick out language that has come up in conversation and teach it back to you, helping you to notice features of natural speech. I’ve been teaching English for over 16 years. I’m well-qualified and experienced. I have a particular set of skills for teaching. I can use those skills to explain, define and demonstrate aspects of English directly to help you learn directly. This is about focusing on language from the bottom up. Putting it simply, Type 1 = topic episodes. Type 2 = language episodes. Most episodes deal with the first option, with a bit of the second option thrown in too. E.g. the recent episodes with Andy or other conversations in which I explain the vocab and language afterwards. Some episodes deal with the second option, with a bit of 1 thrown in. E.g. language focused episodes, like the recent Grammar Questions, or ones about phrases with GET or plenty of episodes in the archive in which I teach idioms, verb tenses, connected speech, etc. Type 2 episodes often take a long time to prepare. They also involve me using professional skills that at this point in my career should come with a fee Premium episodes will primarily be type 2 episodes. I’ve decided that I need to try and monetise some of my podcast work. I’ve been doing it for 9 years. This April was the 9 year anniversary of LEP. Doing the podcast is my part-time job. I teach at the BC and I do my podcast. I really want to continue doing it, I want to support your English, but I also need to support my family! I think you understand. I want the podcast to remain free, and that will happen. Normal episodes of LEP will still be free. There might be slightly less of them, but so be it. But they will be free. If you want to support LEP after all these years you can by becoming a premium member and you’ll get a bunch of serious bonus content too. Jack I remember listening to the pink gorilla episode about a year ago and during the episode you said "OK, never mind". Same thing happened again and when it happened the second time I thought : Why does King say "OK, never mind" why doesn't he just say "OK" ? What does "never mind" mean? And that curiosity led me to google and that's how I learned that word :) So with LEP Premium episodes you are essentially explaining the listeners all the language without them having to do any hard work :P they just have to listen to that episode everyday until it clicks.   Your vocabulary is going to get so good This is a double whammy of just absorbing English through exposure and having things carefully pointed out and clarified, explained How do teachers choose what English to teach you? It’s based on general corpora of English. With this method the corpora is LEP. Learn the English you hear on the podcast. So, not only will you be hearing a lot of vocabulary just coming up naturally in context in normal episodes (which is a really solid way to build awareness of English into your life steadily, bit by bit) but also you’ll regularly have things clarified and taught to you by me afterwards. I think it should be a powerful combination of natural exposure to English in full context and also good old fashioned language teaching from me - all based on the same language. I think to get this full LEP experience you’ll need to be a premium subscriber. It’ll also help you to understand and appreciate the normal episodes of the podcast that much more. For example, imagine hearing a conversation with Amber & Paul - you might enjoy it because of the fun vibe we have between us, but there’s bound to be loads of things you’ll miss. Then you can hear a premium episode which clarifies so much of what we said. You could then go back and listen to the original episode again, armed with so much more understanding - you’d understand much much more of it and as a result a lot of that language is going to stick with you. It’s the ideal combination I reckon. Also, your grammar is going to get more and more solid as I will make a point of highlighting features of grammar, as well as vocabulary as we go. LEPP episodes won’t just be about explaining vocab and grammar you’ve heard. Some episodes will be lessons that just focus on important bits of language that you need to know anyway, even if they haven’t come up specifically in other episodes. It’s all about language - raising awareness, raising your understanding, improving your accuracy so you avoid common errors, making you more confident with the language but not in an abstract way - in a way that connects it to how the language is actually used and has actually been used in conversations you’ve already heard on the podcast. That’s the thinking behind LEP Premium. I hope you jump on for the ride. Now, there are 3 premium episodes recorded and ready to go and they’ll be available to you almost immediately. Remember, they’ll be in the LEP App in the premium category, and on the LEP Premium page at That’s where you’ll find the episodes and you’ll be able to get the pdfs in those places too. Use the website to set up your premium profile with a login code and password. Then you can sign into the app and gain access to premium content there, and also sign in online and get episodes there, including any premium players on my website which will be locked unless you’re a subscriber. Choose your payment plan. This is where you are going to help me out with a contribution each month.   Price How much do you reckon you’d expect to pay for all this stuff? Think of it as a contribution towards helping the podcast. $3.99 per month = Buy me a pint of beer in a pub $19.99 every six months ($3.29 per month) Buy me a Big coffee - 15% discount $34.99 per year ($2.89 per month) Buy me a Small coffee - 30% discount Remember all the stuff you’ll be able to get: Minimum 2 premium episodes per month (MINIMUM - probably more) Pdfs with transcripts, vocab lists and notes for each P episode - available in the app or downloadable online. More phrasal verb episodes Video versions of LEP Episodes (not every single episode, but when possible) Invitations to live YouTube streaming events - e.g. live podcast recordings or online workshops & Q&A sessions (arrange a date, tell them you’ll send the email 30 mins before the live stream, set up the live stream as unlisted, send the email with link, start) All content in the app and online Any questions, let me know at There will also be at least one page on the website where you can leave comments for premium content. First thing, get your premium profile set up and get access to about 3 episodes which will be available in the next couple of days. Then look forward to regular content coming in - language reviews of conversations with guests, grammar and pronunciation lessons - all the things you need to progress in your English with Luke’s English Podcast. to get started In the app you sign in in the settings page. I hope you’re as excited as me to really dig deep into British English and learn the same stuff that people actually say on a daily basis, rather than just some words on paper or in a book which look nothing like the way they sound when people speak. to get started Speak to you again soon. Bye
22/06/1818m 52s

534. Sugar Sammy Interview (Part 2) Language & Comedy

534. Sugar Sammy Interview (Part 2) Language & Comedy Part 2 of my chat with Canadian stand-up comedian Sugar Sammy, talking about his 4 languages, TV shows from our childhood, copying Indian accents, language-related controversy in Quebec, Sammy’s crowd-work skills, stories of difficult gigs in the UK, and our thoughts on recent Star Wars films. At the end of the episode you can hear my spoiler-free review of “Solo: A Star Wars Story”. Transcriptions and notes available. Episode page  Spoken offer 
15/06/181h 23m

533. Sugar Sammy Interview (Part 1) Multilingual Comedian

Sugar Sammy is a very popular and famous comedian from Canada. He's often described as Montreal's #1 stand up comedian. He speaks 4 languages, he has performed comedy in lots of countries. He might be coming to your country soon to make you laugh. Ladies and gentlemen - meet the wonderful Sugar Sammy! Episode page  italki offer
13/06/1855m 34s

532. A History of The World Cup

This episode is a history of The World Cup. You’ll see that it’s very long! I didn’t expect it to be this long. I hope you enjoy it! I covers all the World Cups we’ve had since 1930, focusing on the key events with a few dodgy jokes along the way. You can read 99% of the transcript on the page for this episode. Episode page   
08/06/181h 35m

531. Crime Vocabulary Quiz (with Moz)

Test yourself and learn various verbs and nouns related to crime. Features some amusing chat and anecdotes with Moz from the Murder Mile True Crime Podcast. Transcripts and vocabulary available. Episode page italki offer 
06/06/1850m 42s

530. More Murder Stories (with Moz)

My friend Moz (Michael J. Buchanan-Dunne) from the Murder Mile True Crime Podcast tells us some more true stories about murders from London's past. Contains some gruesome details and explicit descriptions, and some fascinating and unbelievable true stories! Intro and outtro transcripts available. *Adults Only: This episode contains gory details and explicit violent descriptions* Spoken offer Episode page 
03/06/181h 4m

529. The "M" Word (with Andy Johnson)

529. The "M" Word (with Andy Johnson) Friend of the podcast Andy Johnson returns to give us some news and tell some stories all related to things that begin with the letter "M". Intro & outtro transcripts available. Episode page  italki offer  
29/05/181h 18m

528. The Royal Wedding (with Mum)

528. The Royal Wedding (with Mum) Talking to my mum about the royal wedding between Prince Harry & Meghan Markle. Describing the ceremony, the guests and the dress, and discussing the place of the monarchy in modern British life. Some transcriptions and vocabulary available. Episode page italki offer  Image linked via 
22/05/181h 7m

527. Can Paul Taylor Pass The UK Citizenship Test?

527. Can Paul Taylor Pass The UK Citizenship Test? Testing Paul Taylor's knowledge of British life, history and culture and discussing the "Life in the UK" citizenship test. Practise listening to British English natural speech, learn facts about the UK and have a laugh as Paul gets angry about this test for people who want to become UK citizens. Will Paul actually pass the test? Listen to find out what happens. Take the same test  Episode page italki offer 
18/05/181h 35m

526. Being a Tourist (with Paul Taylor) Audio version

[Audio version] Catching up with Paul Taylor and talking about his recent trips to Japan & Barcelona, the pros and cons of being a tourist and some recommendations for people visiting London and Paris as tourists. Video available on the website and in the LEP app. For LEP App users - find the video in the Videos category. Episode page italki offer  VOTE FOR LEP in the British Podcast Awards     
16/05/181h 16m

Please VOTE for Luke's English Podcast

Help me build my pod-castle! Vote here:  Click the link and search for "luke's english podcast" Thank you to everyone who's already voted. Fingers crossed! 🤞🤞🤞 Vocabulary in this Mini Episode to be in with a chance (of doing something) you need to achieve certain milestones it shows that you're getting somewhere, you're making progress it's a flag you can wave or a banner you can show to people you need flags you can fly from the top of the castle to fly the flag of victory I'm asking you to do me a favour in return for the free things I've been giving to you "I can't be bothered" "I think I'll just not bother" it would mean the world to me it's up to you whether I actually get this or not I'm hoping, praying, wondering whether or not it's actually possible listen to me begging! that would be a nice birthday present, wouldn't it? get your skates on don't hang around don't put it off, it's not the washing up! you need to do it sooner rather than later don't leave it until the last minute men, women and any other denomination you choose to respect I didn't video the second one because I'd run out of memory on my camera-thing I was up for about an hour and a half at a very ungodly hour she got a bit over-excited I've got a dry, painful, sore throat and I've got a blocked-up nose it's raining and its a bit chilly
14/05/1816m 1s

525. Ninja August / Podcast Corrections / Useful Japanese Cat (Listener Comments & Questions)

525. Ninja August / Podcast Corrections / Useful Japanese Cat (Listener Comments & Questions) Responding to more comments and questions from listeners, including some rambling about public holidays in France, why May is like 'ninja August', some corrections to what I said about bats and Stephen Hawking on the podcast and the story of an amazing useful cat from Japan. Vote for LEP in the British Podcast Awards  Episode page  italki offer  Transcript Collaboration 
07/05/1856m 52s

524. Tricky Pronunciation Debates / "Either" "Neither" / Song + Comedy Sketch

Talking about words which can be pronounced several ways, words which are often pronounced incorrectly by native speakers and the debates, arguments and frustration that arises between native speakers as a result. Includes the "You Say Tomato..." song and the Grammar Nazi sketch, explained. Transcript & notes available. Vote for LEP in the British Podcast Awards!  Episode page italki offer   
04/05/181h 12m

523. Tips for Learning English with Films & TV Shows (with Cara Leopold)

Talking to fellow English teacher Cara Leopold about advice for using TV shows and films to learn English, both with and without subtitles. Episode page  italki offer 
24/04/181h 17m

522. Learning English at Summer School in the UK (A Rambling Chat with Raphael Miller)

Talking to my ex-colleague Raphael Miller about his new summer school for teenagers + rambling about British social and communication culture, growing up in Liverpool, studying at Oxford University, the famous Star Wars actor Raphael knows and remembering some of the old-fashioned ways we used to describe computers and the internet. Transcripts and links below. 👨‍🎓🌞🇬🇧  Episode page  italki offer
18/04/181h 20m

521. Talking about Pets (with James)

Usually when I talk to my brother on the podcast we talk about fairly obscure topics, like cult films, musical subcultures or skateboarding, but this time we chose a universal topic; pets. Listen to this conversation to hear James and me remembering the pets we had as children and discussing some issues related to keeping animals as pets. Transcript for the introduction and ending available on the website. Episode page italki offer 
13/04/181h 13m

A New Episode is Now Available in the LEP App

Check out the new episode in the LEP App to learn some really useful prepositional phrases & have some common doubts answered, like "on time vs in time vs at the beginning vs in the beginning vs at the end vs in the end" & more. Get the LEP App for your phone  iPhone/iPad – APPLE APP STORE 📱ANDROID – GOOGLE PLAY STORE    Episode page 
10/04/186m 42s

520. Idioms Game & Chat Part 2 (with Andy Johnson) + 18 More Idioms & Vocab Items Explained

The second part of my chat with Andy Johnson. Listen out for 18 more idioms which will be explained later. Topics include: Twitter abuse, the other Andy Johnson, training for the London Marathon + more. Transcripts and vocabulary definitions available. Episode page:  italki offer:
03/04/181h 36m

519. Idioms Game & Chat (with Andy Johnson) + 25 Idioms Explained

A conversation with Andy Johnson including loads of idiomatic expressions and their explanations. First you can listen to a rambling chat with Andy and then I'll explain 25 idioms that came up during the conversation. Part 2 coming soon... Transcriptions, Vocabulary list & Definitions available. Episode page  italki offer 
29/03/181h 17m

518. Grammar Questions (Part 1) Present Perfect Continuous / Future Continuous / Language of Newspaper Headlines

Answering grammar questions from listeners, with details about verb tenses (including present continuous vs present perfect continuous & future continuous vs going to) and the language of newspaper headlines. Includes references to The Queen, The Legend of Zelda and a lot of pizza. Transcriptions & grammar notes available. Episode page  italki offer 
21/03/181h 13m

517. Professor Stephen Hawking (An Obituary)

I woke up this morning to the news that Stephen Hawking had died and I thought - I really must talk about this. He was a British scientist who must be considered one of the most significant people of recent years - a brilliant mind who contributed so much to our understanding of the nature of reality itself while also struggling against some extreme personal difficulties and for those reasons he’s a great inspiration to many people around the world. In this episode I’m just going to talk about him, his life, his achievements, his sense of humour and how he will continue to be an inspiration to people for many years to come. Let's learn some English along the way. Vocabulary list available Episode page  italki offer 
14/03/181h 10m

516. Paul McCartney's Spider Story (Intensive Listening)

Learn English from an anecdote told by Sir Paul McCartney. Let's listen to Paul telling a sweet story about something funny that happened to him and George Harrison when they were teenagers, before they became world famous musicians in The Beatles. Let's listen to his story, do some intensive listening practice and then I'll help you understand everything. Also, let's have a laugh with some funny Paul McCartney impressions. Video and notes available below. Episode page  italki offer 
10/03/181h 21m

515. Becoming "Maman" with Amber & Sarah - Bringing Up Children The French Way

In this episode I'm talking to friends of the podcast Amber Minogue and Sarah Donnelly about the subject of raising children in a foreign country - in this case, France. So this is an episode all about cross-cultural experiences, specifically relating to parenthood. It's also about a new podcast and stage show which Amber & Sarah have just started. Transcriptions, notes and links available. Episode page italki offer  
06/03/181h 11m

514. What's on the table? (with Fred & Alex)

In this episode you can hear me chatting to Fred Eyangoh and Alex Quillian and discussing various topics including growing up in different countries, recognising different accents in English, religious backgrounds, movie re-boots, Arnold Shwartzenegger going "nyarrrgh" and more. Fred and Alex are both stand-up comedians living in Paris who perform in English.  Episode page  italki offer 
01/03/181h 37m

513. General Ramble / News / Comments

A general ramble about things like: dishwasher sounds, online clickbait, updates to the LEP app, my recent appearances on some OPP (other people's podcasts), LEPster meetups and some responses to recent comments on the website. Notes, links & videos available. Episode page italki offer 
23/02/181h 15m

512. My Experiences of (not) Learning French [Part 2] Learning Language in a Classroom vs Learning On Your Own

Talking more about my experiences as a student of French, this time reading from notes I took during my French lessons (when I should have been focusing on the class!) and some considerations about learning a language in a classroom and learning on your own. Notes & transcript available. Episode page  italki offer 
16/02/181h 44m

511. My Experiences of (not) Learning French [Part 1]

Sharing my experiences of learning French (or not learning it). My French and Me - How I learned some French as a child and how I'm failing to learn it properly as an adult. Includes conclusions about language learning, immersion and the importance of motivation, habit and simply applying yourself. Notes & transcriptions available. Episode page  italki offer 
13/02/181h 36m

510. Philosophy Quiz (with Amber & Paul)

In this episode you can listen to Amber, Paul and me as we take an online quiz and try to find out what school of philosophical thought we belong to. Are we empiricists, epicurianists, existentialists, hedonists, humanists, platonists, skeptics or stoicists? Listen on to find out more and to hear a full-on discussion of life, the universe and everything. Episode page:  italki offer: PHILOSOPHY QUIZ LINK - CLICK HERE
06/02/181h 26m

509. What’s it all about? (Philosophy and Language Learning)

This episode is all about philosophy and how this applies to language learning. Listen to me describing 8 different 'schools' of philosophical thought. Are hedonists good language learners? How do rationalists and empiricists disagree about how we learn languages? Is language learning an innate ability or just something that can only happen as a result of things we do after we're born?  And, how does philosophy answer life's big questions such as, "What's life all about?" "What are we doing here?" and "What shall we have for dinner?" Transcript available.  Episode page italki offer 
01/02/181h 28m

508. Six True Crime Stories from Victorian England, Told by My Dad

Learn English by listening to Rick Thompson telling some true stories of petty crimes committed in an English town in 1851. Episode page  italki offer 
28/01/181h 4m

507. Learning English with UK Comedy TV Shows

Recommendations and descriptions of British comedy TV shows with some comments about how to use comedy TV shows to learn English. Transcript available on the episode page.  Episode page  italki offer 
20/01/181h 27m

506. One of Britain's Favourite Poems

Listen to readings of "If—" by Rudyard Kipling, a popular poem from England. Includes analysis of the vocabulary and the themes in the poem and also a chance to enjoy the unique voice of Sir Michael Caine - with some funny impressions too.  Transcript, vocabulary and videos available on the episode page. Episode page italki offer 
16/01/181h 12m

505. A Chat with Dad & James about Star Wars: The Last Jedi (with Vocabulary)

Transcripts and Vocabulary Lists for Episode 505 Episode page  italki offer  Intro Transcript Here is the third and final part of this trilogy of episodes about the latest Star Wars film. In this one you'll hear a conversation between my Dad, my brother and me that I recorded just after we'd seen the film a couple of weeks ago. Now, I know that this is perhaps a bit too much Star Wars content on this podcast. Even if you are a fan it might seem like overkill. So let me emphasise the value of the conversation in this episode as an opportunity for you to learn some natural English in an authentic way. You'll hear us talking spontaneously and then in the second half of this episode I'll to explain some of the bits of language that come up in the conversation. So, this isn't just chat about a film, it's a way to present you with real British English as it is actually spoken. When my family were staying with us for a few days during the Christmas holiday period, fairly soon after our daughter was born, Dad, James and I left my wife and my mum at home to look after the baby and we went off to see the new Star Wars film. This has become something of a Christmas tradition now. After seeing the film we came home, drank some red wine and then recorded our thoughts and comments for the podcast. That is this conversation. As you'd expect we were feeling quite excitable after having just sat through 2 and a half hours of intense Star Wars action and we were also slightly tipsy on French wine and so the conversation is quite animated and lively. You will hear us talking over each other a bit. Not every sentence is completed. Some words get cut off as we interrupt each other and although that's all completely normal in conversations like this, it might be difficult for you to understand everything, depending on your level of English, but watch out for various nice expressions that pop up during our chat. I'll be explaining some of them later in this episode. Right then, let's hear that conversation now - and remember of course that this will contain lots of plot spoilers for Star Wars Episode 8 - so if you haven't seen it yet, please do so before you listen to this. This is your final warning - plot spoilers are coming - please do not let us spoil your enjoyment of the film. You could always come back to listen to this episode later if you want. Outtro Transcript Near the end of the conversation there you heard my dad and my brother expressing their doubts about whether this conversation might be either too difficult for you to follow or simply boring for you to hear because of the slightly geeky levels of detail about Star Wars. That's quite a frequent reaction from them, isn't it. It's a bit annoying when they say that kind of thing, but to be honest, I think they've both got a point, to a certain degree, and this shows that making podcast content for learners of English can be a bit of a tightrope. Episodes should be clear enough for learners of English to understand, but at the same time spoken at a natural speed to make them authentic. I want to be able to explore subjects in some depth and detail so that the content is original and insightful without episodes becoming too specific, too long or simply uninteresting for you to listen to. It can be tricky to walk that line. The fact is, it's probably impossible to get it 100% right every time and produce episodes that are popular and useful for absolutely everybody across the board. But in the end I'm not going to worry about it too much. I expect I lost a few people with all this talk of Star Wars, but if that is the case - so be it. Looking on the bright side - maybe those of you who share my enthusiasm for these films have really enjoyed this trilogy. In any case, that's it for Star Wars for a while. Now, let's focus our attention on language - specifically vocabulary. What about some of the expressions, phrasal verbs and other bits of language that you heard? I've been through the conversation again and made a list. It's quite a big list. I wonder how many of these phrases how many you noticed and how many passed you by. We'll see. Let's go through them now. And this isn't Star Wars vocabulary - it's all English that you can use to talk about all manner of different things. This is your chance to broaden your vocabulary, increasing your understanding of not just this conversation but native-level English in general. Vocabulary (not just Star Wars related) Listen to the episode to hear my definitions and explanations. Your daughter is gorgeous and all in one piece, and very healthy and alert. It's a wonderful thing and I'm now an uncle. Dad: I'm wearing a flat cap, smoking a pipe, sitting by the fire and dozing. James: No change there then. There's been a big backlash against this film from the die-hard fans. Is there a theory that the score has been dragged down artificially? The sequel trilogy is a return to form, you think? The characters are running out of steam. It doesn't have the same wow factor as before. So they're exaggerating everything to keep it going. It didn't have the same feeling as the originals, that's what you can boil it down to. They added new scenes. They added nothing. They detracted from the originals. I was like you once. Full of beans and spunk! I punched a bloke in the face once for saying Hawk The Slayer was rubbish. I was defending the fantasy genre with terminal intensity when what I should have said is Dad, you're right, but let's give Krull a try and we'll discuss it later. Jar Jar Binks makes the Ewoks look like... f*cking... Shaft! (The Ewoks were annoying, but Jar Jar is so annoying and terrible that by comparison, the Ewoks look extremely cool, like Shaft. This does not mean that Shaft looks like an Ewok. It just means that Shaft is very cool and Jar Jar is very uncool.) Shaft (1971) Directed by Gordon Parks, Richard Roundtree (as John Shaft) Tim, I'm going to have to let you go. Phew! I thought you were going to fire me then! I thought it went seriously downhill when they started to introduce teddy bears. They used more animatronics and puppetry. There are a number of set pieces. It moves from one set piece to another set piece. I thought it was a little bit trying too hard. It was a little bit frenetic. It does go on a bit. I thought they could have done without the cute creatures. It's a bit of Ewokism here. To be honest I kind of got over my star wars obsession when I was about 12. I'm not one of these rabid fans. I'm starting to warm to the new characters. Dad said there were too many explosions. James: I know what you mean. It's the law of diminishing returns. You see one explosion and it's "ooh wow", and you see 100 explosions and it's like "meh". I liked the bit when the guy got chucked into the extractor fan. It was like he got chucked into a lettuce shredder. Bits of him went flying out. That was cool. The extractor fan/lettuce shredder - They should have a grill over that or some sort of guard rail. It's a health and safety issue. It's a health and safety nightmare. To me, it needs a bit of lightening up. I don't want it to be like one of these superhero films like Batman where everything's deadly serious and shrouded in seriousness. Come on it's a kid's film - just lighten up! On milking the sea alien - I thought that was wrong on many levels, but I laughed. I liked Adrian Edmonson. Every moment he was on screen I was stoked. The rest of this vocabulary is explained in the Luke's English Podcast App - Check the bonus content for episode 505 How to find bonus content for episodes in the app[/caption] Snoke was a classic baddie. He looked horrible and it was lovely when he came to a sticky end. Hang on, let me finish! Were you disappointed that we didn't learn anything else about him, that he just died? James: No I was glad to see the back of him. Some people feel disappointed that his character wasn't developed. Do you think he was killed too easily? Dad: Well, I think he was very cut up about it. (!!!) He was just a really evil thing that had to be got rid of. You take for granted the special effects involved. On Luke throwing away the lightsabre. Dad: He didn't hurl it into the sea, he just tossed it over his shoulder. Pronunciation: We've been to that island. We've been to those rocks. We've been into those huts. We've been there. /bin/ not /bi:n/ Maybe Chewie did eat the porg. Dad: I think, "Chewie" - the clue is in the name. He should have chewed into that porg. Luke Skywalker was flawed. He'd coached this trainee jedi, his nephew, who had perfect credentials, good bloodline. He peaked too early. You can see that we're running out of steam. Did you like the new AT-AT walkers? I thought they were sick. I liked the way they walked on their knuckles. I thought it was funny the way they look like they're grumpily stomping along on their knuckles. Gorilla walkers / guerrilla war in the forest (There's a moment where we go from talking about gorilla walkers to guerrilla warfare (Ewoks vs Empire). These are two different words that sound the same.) I was genuinely and generally interested. It didn't feel like they jumped the shark. Disney are going to milk this one dry. Luke Skywalker brushing his shoulder / Obama brushing his shoulder. He turned the tide against him by being too cool in the Whitehouse. At least I didn't sigh in this episode.
12/01/181h 38m

504. My Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Part 2)

Continuing to talk about the latest Star Wars film at length, going through the storyline and giving my thoughts on the characters, events and the audience backlash. Transcript available below. Episode page:  Transcript (95% complete) OK, so if you check the length of this episode you’ll see it’s more than 2 hours long - Yes, this is definitely the longest episode of LEP I’ve ever done! And this is part 2 of a double episode. If you put parts 1 and 2 together that adds up to nearly 3.5 hours of me talking about Star Wars The Last Jedi. Added to that, the next episode will also be about Star Wars - and that will be a conversation between my dad, my brother and me. So, this has become something of a Star Wars marathon on Luke’s English Podcast. Those of you who are fans of Star Wars will probably be happy about that! Those of you who aren’t interested in Star Wars, or if you just think this film completely sucks - of course you could just skip this episode - I’ll be uploading more non-Star Wars episodes soon, I promise. OK, so strap in then, let’s embark on part 2 of this epic Star Wars themed episode. Hi, welcome back to the podcast. This is part 2 of a double episode I’m doing about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In this one I’m going to continue going through the storyline of the film and giving my thoughts and feelings about the characters and events. I thought I’d be able to do all of this in one episode but I have got a bit carried away so I’ve split it into 2 parts. You should listen to part 1 before listening to this... If you’re not a fan of Star Wars you could just skip this one. I’m recording it really for the people who’ve seen the film. Spoiler alert - I’m revealing lots of details about the film, so you should wait until you have seen the film before you listen to this. There is a script for most of what I’m saying on the episode page on my website so you can read along while listening, or just check for certain words and phrases that you’ll hear me use. If you’re listening in the LEP app, just click the link for the episdoe page in the episode description - that will allow you to read the script while you’re listening. After this episode there will be another one about Star Wars - and that will be a chat with my brother and my Dad that I recorded just after we all saw the film together about a week ago. I realise I’m devoting quite a lot of podcast time to this new film - but I just really enjoy talking about it right at this moment and as far as I’m concerned that’s enough of a reason for me to do this on the podcast. Don’t worry, I won’t be doing Star Wars forever of course and we’ll get back to other topics and themes on the podcast soon. OK then, so I expect the ones still listening to this are the Star Wars fans - so, let’s now continue where I left off. I was describing that moment when General Leia gets blasted into space when the bridge of her ship gets blown up. I said that this is quite a controversial scene... I admit that this scene is weird and we’ve never seen this before in a Star Wars film, but I really don’t think it’s as bad or ridiculous as some people think. So, Leia is hanging in space in zero gravity after the bridge of her ship has been blown up. She’s hanging in zero gravity. Apparently now we have zero gravity in space. Now - there is no consistency regarding the science in these films as we’ve seen already many times. This is not science fiction - there doesn’t need to be consistent, logical physics. This is a film series in which there are explosions in space, a huge planet sized space station that blows things up with lazers and a mystical force that allows people to control minds, lift objects and even project lightning from their fingers. In this particular scene. The science serves the characters, the action and the plot, and it can be bent this way and that. We are supposed to just suspend our disbelief and go with the vague rules of this universe. In this case, in this scene, there is zero gravity in space and so Leia is just hanging there. It seems that her skin maybe beginning to freeze, which is what would happen in space I suppose. She looks dead. But then her fingers twitch and her eyelids open. When I saw this I immediately thought - she’s using the force to keep herself alive. It’s a survival thing. Then she extends her arm and floats back towards the ship. Some people say she flies and they get very angry and upset saying “The force doesn’t let you fly”. Well - first of all, she’s not flying - she’s floating through zero gravity. It wouldn’t require much force power to do that, right? There’s no atmosphere or gravity so it just requires a little bit of force power to pull herself back to the ship. Also, we know that Leia is force sensitive but up until this point her power has just been to communicate with Luke through the force, to feel and sense things through the force and perhaps the suggestion that she’s been influencing events through the force for a while - like perhaps helping that bomber in the opening battle sequence, and influencing Kylo’s decision not to attack the fleet and so on. So she has the force but she’s never used it to her full potential. It’s not hard to imagine that in a crucial moment like this that she’d be capable of keeping herself alive and pulling herself back to the ship through zero gravity. We see this slightly odd, yet strangely beautiful image of Leia floating through space in the middle of a battle. It’s eerie and we’ve never seen anything like this before. Again, a lot of people hate this scene, but I think they’re being a bit hysterical. This has never happened before - it’s not consistent! Yep, well a lot of people complained about episode 7 because it contained nothing new. This is something new and it’s not completely far fetched. She’s not flying, she’s floating in zero gravity. Leia can’t fly ok? She’s not superwoman. It’s zero gravity. She’s just floating. So, I’m fine with this scene, but only fine with it. They could have done this differently. Other criticisms of this scene include the fact that Leia uses the force here just to save herself, other characters die and she could have saved them. Well, let’s face it - this film is all about breaking away from the old stuff and that means that some of the old characters have to die, and that includes someone like Admiral Akhbar- the guy who looks like a fish. I’m not that bothered that Akbar is gone. I liked him - I had the Admiral Akbar toy when I was a child, but it’s fine - we can let him go. These are tragic events. But maybe she could have used the force differently - like perhaps she could have somehow contained the explosion and held the bridge together - but that surely would have taken much more force strength and ability. I reckon keeping herself alive and then floating back to the ship is consistent with the fact that she’s never fully trained or developed her force abilities. This moment is also weird and spooky considering the fact that we all know that Carrie Fisher died just after making this film. Here in the film we see her character apparently die, but then her eyes open and she makes a miraculous recovery. I find this spooky and odd, but it doesn’t make me angry or make me want to throw my toys out of the pram and weep for the death of Star Wars. That’s a bit hysterical. Also, there’s a sense that in the negative reaction to this scene (and to quite a lot of the rest of the film) there’s a bit of sexism going on. Perhaps people just don’t like the idea of a woman flying. I know one person in particular who expressed this opinion - like “What, women can fly now?” “Women can do anything in movies now - this is ridiculous - it’s just rampant feminism”. Again, that seems like a slightly hysterical reaction. How many times have we seen flying men in movies? How many times are male heroes celebrated by seeing them fly through the air? Tons of times. Superman, Batman (alright he doesn’t fly but almost) Iron Man, Spiderman, Thor and tons of others. Nobody complains about flying men, it happens all the time and it’s not going to stop happening. Then we get one flying woman (who isn’t even flying) and some people throw their toys out of the pram and start complaining about rampant feminism. It’s not the end of the world. Some people might say - but it’s not consistent with the films. I’d say - yes it is consistent - she’s using her latent force abilities to briefly preserve her life and to pull herself back to the ship. You might disagree with me on this one - because it’s a really divisive moment in the film and I think a lot of people just couldn’t handle it and this was the moment when they just gave up on the film. If that’s you - write your thoughts in the comment section. What exactly is wrong with this moment? Put your thoughts into words. I’ve given you my point of view, why not give me yours? So, Leia gets back to the ship and is in a coma. She’s replaced by Vice Admiral Holdo. Ahch-To - Luke & Rey Words I used to describe Luke Skywalker: grisled haggard he looks like a wizened old hermit Luke chucks the lightsaber away. I was really shocked - gobsmacked. My jaw dropped at this moment. I was expecting him to refuse the lightsaber but I didn’t expect him to do that, but I went with it. I was shocked but I went with it. This is another one of those moments that’s a deal breaker for a lot of people. Some people see Luke throw the light sabre over his shoulder and they find it to be a fundamental problem. I can understand that. I think it seems a bit dismissive and casual, but this is where Luke is as a character in the story. He has been on this island for god knows how long and he’s utterly lost faith in the Jedi and in the so-called myth of Luke Skywalker. He doesn’t believe in these symbols any more and he has no time for people who expect him to live up to the legend of Luke Skywalker and that’s because at one point he believed in his own legend himself and as a result of that he thought he could do more than he could and this ended in complete failure. He couldn’t live up to all the expectations that he even had of himself. Some people say this is not consistent with Luke’s character, but I say - why not? Why can’t Luke have gone in this direction in the 30 years since Return of the Jedi? I found it really interesting that Luke had undergone such dramatic and traumatic changes since episode 6. Luke’s character in this film is about learning from failure, about being fallible, about struggling with expectations, about the legacy of the Jedi, about the heavy burden that is being the last jedi. In this film they could have made Luke a massively powerful hero who takes on the First Order armed only with his laser sword, but instead they went for a more complex study of a man who has failed, isolated himself and then slowly comes to terms with what it means to be a myth and how he can use this to do powerful things. Rey hangs around but Luke refuses to talk to her. We get some scenes which show Luke’s weird and eccentric lifestyle on the island. He fishes for massive fish in the sea, he lives among the porgs, he even drinks milk from the breast of some kind of weird sea mammal. Not directly from the breast, but he fills a flask with green milk that he gets from the breast of a weird creature that looks a bit like a walrus or something. He then drinks the milk and it drips down his beard, and he stares at Rey while doing this, looking pleased with himself. He’s being purposefully disgusting, and Rey thinks it’s weird. The green milk scene is another controversial one - controversial meaning that it has split opinions. Some people say this kind of thing has no place in Star Wars and that the humour didn’t really work. Personally I was fine with it. Both times I saw this in the cinema I was one of the only ones laughing at this moment. I don’t mind a bit of weird humour and I think Star Wars has always featured this kind of thing. For example - Jabba The Hutt is a weird creepy slug which licks its slimy lips in a really creepy way when looking at female characters, and there are plenty of other weird moments in the original trilogy. None of them are as blatant as this, but it’s not a complete departure from the world of Star Wars in my opinion. And just personally, I found it really funny. I also thought that this was Luke testing Rey a bit, in a similar way to how Yoda tested Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. When Luke first arrives on Degobah to meet Yoda (and he doesn’t know what Yoda looks like) Yoda meets him and makes him think he’s just a weird and annoying little creature. He pretends to fight with R2D2, steals Luke’s food and seems totally eccentric and strange. It’s only later that Yoda reveals himself to be a great master. It’s as if he needed to show Luke that you shouldn’t expect heroes to look like heroes and that true heroism is in your actions not in your appearance. Also this is a trope in a lot of kung fu movies from the 70s. The kung fu master appears as a sort of crazy fool who tests the patience of the main apprentice, giving him lots of annoying tests - and secretly he’s training the apprentice without him realising it. I like Luke’s grumpy, weird side in this and I found it to be a pleasant surprise. Anyway, Rey tries unsuccessfully to persuade Luke to join the Resistance and Luke hides in his cabin. Chewie smashes the door in. Luke finds out that Han is dead. This doesn’t change his mind, but maybe a little bit. He visits the Milennium Falcon - this is a big nostalgia moment. The first time we’ve seen Luke on the Falcon since Episode 5 maybe. He finds R2D2 and the moment they reunite is pretty amazing. Luke removes his hood in order to see him and it reminded me of when Obiwan removed his hood to look at R2D2 in Episode 4. Them reuniting made me well up...! I’m not ashamed to admit it. R2 is so important to Luke’s whole journey. He’s the whole reason he ended up on this adventure in the first place. R2 seems to try and persuade Luke to join the Resistance but Luke says “no way”. R2’s response is brilliant. He just plays the hologram of Princess Leia from Episode 4. Luke says “that was a cheap move” or something - and it’s a bit true, this is a pretty cheap way for R2 to persuade Luke, but also a fairly cheap way for the film to make any Star Wars fan feel emotional. R2D2 goes straight for the jugular (vein). This was always one of the most magical moments in the original film. When he was a frustrated farmboy dreaming of having adventures, this hologram of a beautiful princess asking for help completely captured his imagination and catapulted him on this journey into adventure, heroism, the force and self-discovery. The function of it here is that it brings Luke one step further towards remembering who he was and it is a stark contrast to who he has become now. But he’s still committed to the fact that he can’t be involved because he’s convinced that he’ll do more harm than good. In fact Luke has cut himself off from the force completely. He’s lost faith in the Jedi order. But you get the sense that he’s not a lost cause. He acts like he’s definitely against the idea of coming back, but we see that he is quite curious about Rey and there is still a spark of the old Luke Skywalker in there. At one point Rey seems to be called to a big old tree on the island, which I think is the original Jedi temple - or a force tree - I’m not sure of it’s significance completely but I expect it is mentioned in one of the books or something. The tree also houses the sacred Jedi texts. Rey seems drawn to this place and Luke notices this and follows her from a distance. That’s when he becomes curious about Rey - when he notices that she’s been drawn to this significant place and there’s an interesting exchange there where we see that Rey is confused and doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t understand how she has her force sensitivity and who her parents are (she’s feeling a bit force sensitive). She’s desperately looking for answers to the questions of her identity while also trying to get Luke to come and help the Resistance. She seems lost and is desperate for guidance. No idea of how the time works here - all this is going on while the Resistance are battling against time up in space somewhere. Perhaps Ach-To runs on different time cycles. God knows. I don’t think it matters that much. Luke finally agrees to train Rey a bit. “Tomorrow at dawn - 3 lessons”. Again this is like a kung fu movie or a samurai movie or something, and that is really cool. 3 lessons about the Jedi and why they have to end. All the while, Rey and Kylo keep having weird force visions in which they are connected and they chat. It’s a bit like secret Skype or something. ForceTime. She berates him for killing Han Solo and says he’s a monster. He makes fun of the fact that she is looking for parental figures everywhere. They grow strangely close, mainly because they’re in similar situations. She’s desperate for guidance. He’s curious about her force abilities, and perhaps is working out if she is an enemy or perhaps a potential ally. They both are alienated from their so-called mentors. It’s weird and I didn’t know which way this would go. I expected that they’d join forces somehow and fight against both Snoke and Luke Skywalker, but I didn’t believe Luke Skywalker would be a real antagonist. Like I said before - there’s nothing like watching a Star Wars film when you don’t know what is going to happen next. Skywalker gives Rey some lessons in the force, but his intention is to break down her misconceptions about what it is, and what the Jedi really are. I could have had more of this to be honest, but then again in the original trilogy there wasn’t much detail about the force either. With the force I think the more you explain it, the less interesting it becomes. In The Phantom Menace there were these things called midiclorians, which are living organisms that actually carry the force - and it was possible to measure, scientifically, how much force a person had based on their midichlorian count - and because this is physical that this could be genetic and handed down through family connections. But midichloreans were never spoken of again because they took the magic out of the force. The version of the force we have here is back to how it was in Episode 4 - a mystical energy that binds the galaxy together. Rey doesn’t understand the force at all - thinking it’s just about controlling people’s thoughts and about moving rocks. This is the childish version of the force. Skywalker tells her it’s a lot more than that, giving a similar version that Obiwan gave to him in episode 4 - that it’s a neutral natural power that exists in the balance between everything. There are some funny moments where Luke makes fun of her and the way she misunderstands the nature of the force. Again, I’m not bothered by the jokey bits because this is Star Wars not Batman The Dark Knight. One funny moment is when he tells her to ‘reach out’ and she takes it literally. He means that she should reach out with her feelings, but she reaches out with her arm and he tickles it with a piece of grass saying “can you feel that? That’s the force!” and then he slaps her hand and says “that’s not how the force works” or something. Again, this reminds me of training sequences from kung fu movies which have some humour in them and involve the pupil getting it wrong and the master teasing them. Then Rey does reach out to the force with her feelings and Luke gives her a little lesson in what it is, and how to connect with it. He’s shocked that she immediately gets pulled towards the dark side, which is represented by a weird dark cave under the island. The rock under her cracks and she has a weird vision of being covered in water. Luke is shocked that Rey didn’t resist the dark side and he refuses to train her any more because the last time this happened it all went horribly wrong. He also attempts to explain to Rey how he has lost faith in the Jedi, how they were wrong and arrogant in assuming that they owned the force and how their legacy is failure. In the prequels the Jedi were blinded by their own arrogance - they didn’t see how a powerful sith was taking control of the senate right under their noses. Lack of vision etc. Again - more hubris. They were too sure of themselves and that’s why they failed. I find this pretty interesting. A lot of that is true, right? I’m not surprised that Luke has gone this way and I just find it interesting from a character point of view. Later, I’m not sure when, we get more info about what happened between Luke and Ben Solo (Kylo Ren). The story is told 3 times, and each time you get a slightly different version of events. First time is what Luke says to Rey. He tells her that he sensed growing darkness in Ben and he went to see him during the night to try and reason with him, but Ben flew into a rage and pulled down the building on top of his head, and then destroyed the temple. The second version of the story is what Kylo tells Rey during one of their ForceTime sessions. He tells her that Luke didn’t give the complete story and that Luke had come with his lightsabre to murder Kylo in his sleep. A lot of fans can’t handle this and just believe that Luke would never do this and that their childhood is ruined and all that, but it’s not the final version of events. The third version of the story is the true one. Luke explains to Rey that he had become aware of a growing darkness in Ben and that he struggled with what to do about it. He went to Ben’s room in the night to read Ben’s mind and was so shocked by the darkness inside him that in a moment of compulsion he ignited his lightsabre in order to kill him and rid the galaxy of another possible evil tyrant, but that as soon as he ignited his sabre, he regretted the decision and realised that this meant killing his nephew, one of his students in a cowardly way. So he immediately changed his mind when he realised what he was doing. I think this just gives Luke’s character more depth. Remember that he was the last jedi and perhaps he’d taken on too much in agreeing to train these young students. That’s a big job and perhaps he wasn’t really capable of doing it all on his own. Maybe Yoda and Obiwan’s force ghosts hadn’t visited him for ages so he hadn’t had guidance from them. As he said - he believed in his own legend and this was his failing. He took on too much and ultimately wasn’t able to handle the task of restarting the jedi order on his own, taking on his sister’s troubled son who was also incredibly powerful in the force but touched by the dark side and was already being manipulated and controlled by Snoke through the force. It was all too much for one guy. I think there is a lesson here and that is that success can be very dangerous - in this case Luke had success in the fact that he helped to redeem Darth Vader and kill the emperor. This can lead to a false sense of confidence which can lead ultimately to failure. There’s a lot of that in this film. It’s tragic, but at least there’s more depth to it than just gymnastic lightsabre duels and “being badass”. Anyway, Luke tells his story - of how he immediately changed his mind and was not going to kill Ben, but then Ben woke up and saw Luke standing over him with his ignited lightsabre and that’s when he pulled down the building on top of Luke and destroyed the temple. It’s a sort of misunderstanding that makes Ben think Luke really was going to kill him. In any case, Ben rejects Luke and he then probably gave his allegiance to Snoke. Luke again tells Rey to get off the island. He’s gone there to die, etc. This pushes Rey closer to Kylo who is the only one who seems to understand her. Will she turn to the dark side to be with him? Will he turn good? No idea. Not sure of the chronology here. At one point Rey visits the dark cave, like Luke does in Empire Strikes Back. This is a really cool and spooky sequence where she seems to see herself trapped in a time line or perhaps it’s just her reflection repeated again and again. She follows this line of reflections until she’s face to face with a mirror and she’s convinced that this will reveal the truth she’s been looking for - her parents. A dark figure approaches her in the mirror. Who is it? Luke? Snoke? Han? Leia? Another figure from Star Wars lore? In the end, she finds herself staring at her own reflection. What does this mean? I guess it means that she’s on her own and her parents just aren’t important. Also, at some point here, Luke decides to reconnect with the force. He sits on the stone altar on the clifftop and meditates. I think he makes a connection with Leia, who is in her coma. I think this is where Luke realises a lot of things - but it’s not actually shown in the film. By reconnecting with the force here, I think he gets strength from his renewed connection with Leia, realises that there is something he can do. Basically, by reconnecting with the force he realises his power and perhaps his hope again, or realises the importance of Rey. I’m not sure. Rey and Kylo have a Forcetime - again they’re getting closer to each other all the time. I think in this one Kylo is topless which kind of amps up the sexual tension between them. Rey seems to believe in Kylo more than she does in Luke at this point and she probably believes she can turn him to the light side of the force etc, but we still don’t really know how Kylo feels. He’s hard for us to read - he’s just blank and unreadable, which is a strength in terms of the acting performance. He could be a bit vulnerable, perhaps a bit lost, but possibly pure evil - we don’t really know! They actually touch, and when they do Luke bursts into Rey’s hut and is shocked to discover them in contact, and he destroys the hut and breaks the connection. Then there’s a sort of fight between Rey and Luke, where Rey demands to know if Luke really did try to kill Kylo, and she attacks him with her staff, and Luke defends himself with a stick and disarms her. To me this looks like he’s still training her. When he disarms her, she force grabs the blue lightsabre and appears to have beaten Luke who kind of falls to the ground and gives up - but if you watch closely we see his hand is raised and I’m sure that he could have summoned his green lightsabre whenever he wanted in order to defend himself. I think he let Rey get the better of him. This is when he confesses that he did momentarily contemplate killing Ben, but that he instantly changed his mind. So - just to set the record straight on this, Luke was not going to kill Ben in his sleep. The idea flashed across his mind when he saw that Snoke had turned him to the dark side, but he instantly changed his mind. I say that because a lot of the hardcore fans have lost faith in this film because they thought Luke was going to murder a child in his sleep - he wasn’t. Rey then decides to leave the island in order to go to Kylo because she believes she can turn him. Luke says “No, it won’t go the way you think”. It’s a bit like that moment in Empire Strikes Back when Luke goes to confront Vader but Yoda tells him he’s not ready yet. Rey is delivered to Kylo Ren in an escape pod from the Millenium Falcon and then we get one of my favourite moments in the film. Kylo puts Rey in handcuffs and on the way to Snoke’s throne room they have a conversation. She explains that she’s confident Kylo will turn to the light because she’s had a vision. But Kylo explains that he’s also had a vision that Rey will turn to the dark. I suspected that Kylo would turn to the light, because there was more evidence for it. I didn’t really believe Rey would turn to the dark side, but there were a few things that suggested that she could - e.g. she was drawn to the dark side during her vision while training with Luke. She is pretty impulsive and often strikes out in anger, it seems - and that’s often the way towards the dark side. Then the doors open and Rey meets Snoke for the first time. Meanwhile, Luke goes to destroy the Force Tree and the ancient Jedi texts. Yoda appears and stops him. It’s wonderful to see Yoda again. He’s not CGI Yoda, it’s puppet Yoda. They actually used the original mould from Return of the Jedi. It works. Basically, he tells Luke that this is all a lesson and that Luke is a good master because he is teaching Rey the value of failure. “The greatest teacher, failure is.” - he says. Apparently Yoda still hasn’t perfected his grammar, despite failing to speak it correctly for probably about 900 years or something. Anyway, it’s a good lesson and it brings some redemption to Luke - who feels like he’s a lost cause. Everyone has to fail and it’s your failures that help you to improve. Success brings over-confidence and arrogance sometimes, whereas failure and accepting your failures brings us opportunities to learn. It’s true for learning English too - our failures are great learning opportunities. We have to say something wrong a few times before we can say it correctly. Expecting to get everything right first time is just unrealistic. Accept failure as the best way to learn, and not something to be ashamed of, you can overcome your problems and learn to be really strong. Yoda then destroys the force tree and (apparently) the sacred Jedi texts, as if to say to Luke - yes, you’re right - let’s destroy the past and start again. Luke is shocked that Yoda has done this (and apparently force ghosts can summon lightning now in Star Wars - fair enough, we were looking for some new force abilities, right? Apparently force ghosts can interact with the real world now - ok, fine) The tree burns, containing the books - and Luke says “But the sacred jedi texts!” and Yoda says “Read them have you? Page turners, they are not.” I laughed out loud at this line. Yoda’s two lessons for Luke: Failures are valuable learning experiences. Students always grow beyond their masters. Back to Snoke’s room. Snoke reads Rey’s mind, plays around with her - she attempts to fight back several times - grabs her light sabre but snoke makes it fly around the room - she grabs Kylo’s light sabre and Snoke flings her around the room. He seems impressed with her tenacity and he actually says “such spunk!” which made me laugh, because… well the word “spunk”. Do you know what that means? It’s a bit rude. Here are the two definitions. Courage, bravery, strength of character. Semen (offensive) He means defintion 1, but still - it’s a bit creepy that Snoke gleefully talks about “spunk”. Snoke is a horrible, creepy old git. He’s also really arrogant and wealthy - he wears a gold robe a bit like Hugh Hefner the playboy guy. He’s horrible. But the CGI motion capture is brilliant. He looks really realistic. Good job Andy Serkis and the special effects team. Snoke then reads Rey’s mind. I think he was considering whether she could be turned to the dark side, perhaps to become his apprentice and replacement for Kylo. That’s often the way it goes - but he summarises that she’s too pure or can’t be turned or something. So, he decides that Kylo should kill her, perhaps to complete his training. Meanwhile Kylo looks at the situation quite blankly except for subtle reactions and the movement of his eyes. It reminds me of how Vader observed the Emperor when he was attempting to turn Luke to the dark side. We suspected that Vader was loyal in his heart to Luke. Similarly, I suspect that Kylo hates Snoke and feels resentment towards how manipulative he is, and we suspect that Kylo has feelings for Rey or at least believes that Rey might join him somehow. I wonder if this is a romantic feeling or a strategic one. Snoke orders Kylo to kill Rey, and we still don’t know what Kylo is thinking. Rey looks up at him and simply says “Ben” - appealing to his good side. At this point Snoke gets really carried away, proclaiming that he can see Kylo’s thoughts and that Kylo is turning his lightsabre and is going to ignite it in order to kill his true enemy. But secretly Kylo is using the force to turn Luke Skywalker’s lightsabre which is sitting on the table next to Snoke, and as Snoke is convinced that he’s seeing Kylo’s intentions to kill Rey, perhaps he’s not seeing it clearly and in fact Kylo ignites Luke’s lightsabre killing Snoke. I found this really surprising and satisfying. The look on Snoke’s face - he’s so shocked! It’s also a really well-directed sequence. The lightsabre stabs Snoke in the side and then we see the scene from Kylo’s point of view, and Kylo pulls the sabre towards him, cutting Snoke in half! The ignited sabre flies through the air and Rey’s hand comes up to grab it. Rey stands and for a moment Kylo and her face each other and we wonder whether Kylo is going to attack her, or what will happen... Then everything goes in slow motion as Rey and Kylo, are attacked by 8 Praetorian guards and they fight back to back on the same side against the guards. This is an absolutely wicked sequence. The guards are fantastic. They wear this weird red armour which appears to be able to deflect some lightsabre blows. They also have different weapons - swords, staffs, a sort of whip that becomes a sword. It all happens incredibly quickly and the screen is filled with several fights at the same time. Sparks fly, Rey screams and roars as she fights, Kylo’s fighting style is brutal and sketchy. It’s raw power. At one point the wall catches fire and in the middle of the fight the room starts buring down. One of the guards gets thrown into some kind of fan unit and gets chopped into pieces. It all happens incredibly quickly and intensely. Rey also has some good moves. Again - I don’t know how she learned to fight like this. Let’s just say that growing up on a rough junk planet like Jakku meant that she had to learn how to defend herself, add to that the fact that she’s obviously gifted with force abilities and has had some light sabre fighting experience now - she’s also brave and intelligent. The two of them manage to fight off the guards and defeat them, but it’s not easy. At one point it looks like they’ve been beaten. Kylo is unarmed, Rey is held by one of the guards, but she manages to get out of it by dropping her lightsabre, getting out of the guard’s grip and then catching the sabre again in mid air before dispatching the guard. Kylo is still being held by the last guard, who is kind of strangling him. Rey quickly throws her sabre to Kylo who catches it and ignites it instantly, sending the beam through the guards face, who drops away, dead. What I like about this moment is that Kylo catches the lightsabre, ignites it, lets the guard drop and steps forward and he never takes his eyes of Rey at any point, and never blinks. Then, still staring intensely at Rey he steps forward. Rey tells him there’s still time and that they can save the Resistance. She assumes he’s turned good, but he hasn’t. He tells Rey they should let the past die and start anew - kill Snoke, kill Skywalker, let the Resistance die. Rey is sort of heartbroken and just says “Ben, don’t do this”. He also tells her who her parents are - I guess he saw it in a vision or something. He says that they were junk traders who just sold her off as a slave for money and that now they’re dead and buried in the desert. “You’re nobody, nothing…” “but not to me”. He begs Rey to join her, but she’s heartbroken and won’t do it. She sees that Kylo is beyond redemption at this point. I think Kylo has crossed a line and he’s the new Snoke. All these changes of position happen really fast. Surely, this is the interesting part of this film - what is really going on in Kylo’s head? Will he go good or bad? In Return of the Jedi we have similar questions about Darth Vader and ultimately he turns good, but in this one Kylo doesn’t. He’s the bad guy. He wants to kill her friends and he’s being very manipulative. He might be lying about her parents, even though she says she’s always known deep down that they abandoned her. But maybe he’s lying or something. Perhaps we’ll see. Or perhaps her lineage isn’t important and it doesn't matter what your family connections are. Anyone can be strong in the force. She goes to grab Luke’s lightsaber from Kylo and it ends up suspended mid air between them as they both struggle to grab it. The lightsabre explodes. In the film this part of the story is told in parallel with the other parts which I haven’t mentioned yet - namely the Finn and Rose storyline and the Poe/Admiral Holdo storyline. Finn and Rose storyline. Finn is going to escape and find Rey. Rose stops him. They work out together (cheesily) that the hyperspace tracking can be stopped if they disarm it from the lead ship. Finn has intel on the location of the tracker and they work out that they can get in and disable it, and save the Resistance. It’s surely a suicide mission. Poe agrees, and they call Maz Kanata for info. Maz Kanata is a crap character, isn’t she? A sort of vague orange Yoda who isn’t as interesting as Yoda. A complex and contrived plot is set up where Finn and Rose have to meet a code breaker who can help them access Snoke’s ship (is it Snoke’s ship or another ship - not sure). So they head to Canto Bite. “The worst type of people” Just park on the beach - bad move. But these kids don’t really know what they’re doing. A bit like the Cantina Bar but everyone’s rich. Weird horse things on a racetrack, they’re looked after by slave kids. Rose hates the town. Little drunk creature putting coins inside BB8. They get caught and thrown in jail. Pretty rubbish. Then Benicio Del Toro’s character turns up in the film. He’s great. I’ve always liked him in films. He’s an “engaging screen presence” to quote Mark Kermode. He overhears them discussing their plan and says he can get them in the room on the FO ship. Somehow he has a way to pick the lock and get out, and with BB8’s help they get away, so do Finn and Rose who escape on the horses, which smash up the casino resort before being released into the forest. This is a bit cheesy and feels a bit like a “message” about animal cruelty. I love animals, so fair enough - but it’s a very Disney moment. Anyway, DJ turns up in a ship with BB8 and they get rescued, and the fly towards the FO ship for their mission, which is to go undercover and turn off the hyperspace tracking, while the Resistance are still running away from the FO and slowly running out of fuel. DJ is an interesting character. He’s one of those ones who exists in the moral grey area between the good and bad sides, a bit like Boba Fett and even Han Solo at the start of Episode 4. I think this gives some much needed moral ambiguity. Also, he shows us that the rich people on Canto Bite make their money making and selling weapons to the FO and the Resistance. This adds a bit of complexity to the whole “intergalactic war thing” which underpins this whole series of films, and just shows that there’s more to this than just good guys vs bad guys - there’s a whole industry behind these wars that makes some people really rich. I think for some fans this is a bit too political for Star Wars, which is ironic considering how politics were involved so much in the prequel films. They make it onto the Supremacy (I think) and go undercover. BB8 disguises himself as one of those little black droids - a “mouse” droid I think they’re called. He’s disguised as one of them by hiding under a black dustbin as far as I can see. Amazingly nobody really notices them, including Finn who surely is a famous traitor by now … I say nobody notices them, actually an evil black version of BB8 does notice them. I love this evil BB8. He’s actually called BB9-E and it’s interesting how just a few changes in design makes this little droid instantly evil looking. I think I heard Mark Hamill talking about this in an interview - just a few changes - make the droid black, with a different shaped head and it just screams “Nazi!” It does look like a nazi version of BB8. Also, they manage to endow him with a lot of menace and malice. His red eye narrows with suspicion when he sees Rose, Finn, DJ and BB8. Long story short - they get to the tracker and it turns out that DJ has set them up - he betrayed them and he betrays the whole Resistance and their plan to escape to Crait because the FO offered him loads of money. Finn gets angry and calls him a traitor I think, or says something like “They’re the bad guys” - and DJ says something along the lines of “Good guys, bad guys, what’s the difference. They blow you up today, you blow them up next time…” I find his cynicism and pragmatism to be refreshing and interesting in the context of this binary good guys vs bad guys conflict. This is a really enjoyable bit of ambiguity and I really hope we see Benicio Del Toro’s character again. Perhaps the most interesting moments in all of Star Wars are the moments when there’s moral ambiguity - like the character of Boba Fett who is only interested in self-preservation and money, or the moments when Luke Skywalker appears to drift towards the dark side slightly in order to achieve things - specifically when defeating Darth Vader, or when Anakin/Vader goes dark and then light at the end. These are the interesting moments and DJ is an example of that. So, Finn & Rose are caught, The Resistance are screwed… Some people complain that the Finn and Rose storyline doesn’t achieve anything. But that’s the whole point - it’s another lesson in failure. Sometimes characters fail in films - it’s boring if they just succeed every single time - and anyway the Resistance were always the underdogs and Finn and Rose were never going to succeed with this plan anyway - it’s was a suicide mission. They’re lucky that they got this far. Back to what’s happening with The Resistance fleet. Leia is in a coma, Holdo takes over. Poe disagrees with her strategy - which appears to be just to jump ship and escape the fleet. He thinks it won’t work and it’s cowardly. He attempts a mutiny but gets stunned by Leia who she comes back. She uses a blaster set to stun. We haven’t seen this since episode 4 - blue rings firing out, rather than red or green laser blasts. It turns out that Holdo’s plan is not to just escape the ship, but to evacuate to a nearby planet that they’ve been heading for. Poe wasn’t aware of this because he was demoted. They plan to escape to Crait where there’s an old rebel base. They can use that as a defensive fortress and can call for support from around the galaxy. Just as well really, because Finn and Rose’s mission has failed. Then we discover that DJ has told the FO about this plan to evacuate to Crait and the FO begin attacking the escape vehicles as they head towards Crait. The Resistance is screwed now. Finn and Rose’s mission to stop the hyperspace tracking has failed and now the FO know about the other plan to escape to Crait and are blowing up the escape transports. Also, at this moment it looks like Rey is about to be executed by Kylo Ren. Finn and Rose are about to be executed. Oh yeah and Captain Phasma has turned up too - apparently she didn’t die in Episode 7. She doesn’t really do much, except being Finn’s nemesis. Leia and the rest of the Resistance have boarded the escape transports to Crait, but Holdo stays with the main fleet, and when she realises that the escape transports are being attacked she suddenly decides to sacrifice herself and aims the Raddus at The Supremacy (Snoke’s ship) and goes into hyperspace. WOW - a really mind blowing moment and done really well because the Raddus enters hyperspace and flies at lightspeed through the Supremacy and a bunch of other FO ships causing massive damage and a huge explosion and it’s all done instantly and in total silence, followed by a really cool sound effect. Silence used to great effect. The explosion on The Supremacy gives Finn and Rose the chance to avoid being executed and they fight back against Captain Phasma and the storm troopers while the whole hangar bay explodes around them. There are tie fighters falling on the floor and blowing up, AT-AT walkers crashing here and there. In the midst of all this chaos, Finn and Phasma have a battle and Finn fights with a lot of spirit. Rose shoots Phasma but the blast deflects off her armour. Cool moment. Phasma appears to have the upper hand in the fight and knocks Finn into a lift shaft, but clearly Phasma hasn’t seen the Original Trilogy - we know that there are moving platforms that go up and down in these shafts and of course Finn hasn’t fallen to his death, he reappears and smashes Phasma in the face, cracking her mask. She says “You’ll always be scum” before falling into an explosion. I doubt that she’s dead. She’s bound to come back next time. “Rebel scum” - this is the default insult for Rebels or Resistance fighters it seems. Scum is a bit like a dirty layer that floats on the top of old water or something. It’s just a generic insult, but it was used once in Return of the Jedi when an imperial officer said it to Han Solo and it sounded cool - so now the word is used a lot. These films still trade a lot on nostalgia for the old films, and it works. Finn and Rose manage to escape the burning ship - how? They’re rescued by BB8 driving a AT-ST “scout walker” thing, which made me go “Yeah, right?!” out loud in the cinema when I first saw it. People complain that Rey’s character is too perfect and that she can do anything and that this is unrealistic and unfair and some sort of feminist agenda or something, but BB8 (and R2D2 for that matter) is also a perfect character who seems to be able to do anything. He takes out FO guards, he can pilot an AT-ST walker, he can get blown up and assemble himself again, he can fix any problem on an X-Wing - but nobody complains about that. OK, so now the storylines come together. The Resistance (Leia, Poe and the few remaining other people) make it to Crait and set up their base there. God knows why it takes the FO so long to attack them here, but it does. Maybe they needed a bit of time to set up all the awesome weaponry that they’re going to use to smash through this big door to this old Rebel base where The Resistance are hiding. Finn and Rose escape The Supremacy with BB8 and join the Resistance on Crait. The idea is that The Resistance can defend themselves here, call for help and then wait for the help to arrive. The thing is, no help comes. None of their allies out in space care. No Lando Calrissian or anyone like that - nobody’s coming to help them. So it’s about a couple of hundred REsistance members vs the FO with their huge AT-M6 walkers. They have trenches, with some defensive weapons and this huge reinforced door protecting them, and a few very sketchy looking ground fighters, and that’s it. The FO have a massive battering ram cannon which is “Death Star technology” - basically a smaller version of the Death Star’s big green laser that can blow up planets. This is what they’ll use to break through the door. The idea is that The Resistance need to somehow destroy the cannon if they stand a chance of surviving. Now, what about Rey. Last time we saw her she was locked in a tug of war with Kylo over Luke’s blue lightsabre, which caught in the middle between the two of them, explodes. Apparently Kylo was knocked out by the explosion and Rey managed to escape in Snoke’s personal ship, and she took the fragments of the light sabre with her. We see Snoke’s dead body, his tongue sticking out, lying on the floor. Also both his hands were severed when Kylo killed him - this is pretty neat because someone always gets their hand or hands removed in Star Wars films, in this case it was Snoke, but he also lost the whole top half of his body. I wonder if we’ll ever find out Snoke’s back story, but I guess we never learned The Emperor’s backstory in the original films, he was just a powerful old dark side user and that’s it. I think we probably knew more about him than Snoke though, and I admit that we could have used just a little bit more exposition about Snoke - just a bit of detail. I think the hardcore fans are very upset about this, because they spent 2 years coming up with very elaborate theories about his origin - like, he’s Mace Windu, or he’s Darth Plageius (The Emperor’s old master). It seems he’s not that important, and anyway we don’t need an origin story for everyone, do we? I expect there will be a book about him coming out or whatever. Then General Hux comes into the room and can’t believe what he’s seeing - Snoke is dead, his tongue sticking out and everything. Kylo is still unconscious and Hux actually goes for his gun - he would have killed Kylo in his sleep probably - because they don’t like each other and Hux would probably like to take control of the FO, but Kylo wakes up. They argue and then Kylo force chokes Hux, which is very reminiscent of Darth Vader. Hux capitulates and calls Kylo “Supreme Leader” - “The Supreme Leader is dead - long live The Supreme Leader!” So, Kylo is in charge of the FO now. So, the confrontation on Crait. The FO approach the base with the big gun. The Resistance launch a counter attack with these beaten up old speeder things. There’s almost no way they can win. The Millennium Falcon turns up at the last minute and helps out by making all the Tie Fighters chase it. This is another big emotional moment, when the Falcon turns up to save the day - or save that particular moment anyway - the music swells (John Williams’ score is brilliant again) - there are some stunning visuals as the Falcon is chased by Tie Fighters through these crystal caves and tunnels under the surface of Crait. But ultimately, the Resistance mission to destroy the battering ram cannon can’t win and Poe calls it off. This shows us that he’s learned something about leadership and strategy from the beginning of the film. But Finn doesn’t want to give up and he’s about to sacrifice himself for the Resistance by flying his ship into the cannon in a suicide mission. I was convinced he was going to do it, but at the last minute Rose crashes into him and saves him. This is a really cheesy moment I have to say. First of all, you can see from the wide shots as Finn is flying that Rose is nowhere near him - but again, this is a bit like that moment with the detonator button that gets caught by Rose’s sister at the start of the film - movies often break the rules of physics like this - so I’m willing to let it slide. And then there’s the moment where after Rose saves Finn she gives a little speech saying “We don’t do this to destroy the things we hate, we do it to protect the ones we love,” and then she kisses him. So this is a slightly forced romantic moment first of all, but the sentiment is nice. We should protect the things we love rather than destroy the things we hate - and it’s all sweet and good and nice, but I thought about a moment from Episode 3 - a crucial moment when Anakin turns to the dark side. He decides to join Emperor Palpatine precisely because he thinks this is how he’s going to save the one he loves - Padme. He is seduced by the dark side because he wants to prevent Padme from dying. So, it’s all about point of view isn’t it. Protecting what you love, destroying what you hate - they’re sort of two sides of the same coin aren’t they? Still, I think the basic message is nice - love conquers hate. I do agree with that. Be careful of doing things for hateful reasons. We should be motivated by love, basically. But isn’t this a slightly selfish thing for Rose to do? She stopped Finn from potentially saving the entire Resistance just because she personally loves him. But maybe The Resistance were screwed anyway. I think the point is - we shouldn’t think about this toooooo much. We shouldn’t expect Star Wars to be this perfect flawless thing. As I said before, I think the good things in this film outweigh the bad things But then again - if you’re angry about this Star Wars film, that’s fine - it’s up to you. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. Everyone has their own subjective reaction to the film. So it looks like The Resistance are screwed then. Somehow Finn manages to fly back to the base or perhaps even drag Rose back there - I’m not sure how, but I dunno, maybe he used some of those trenches or something, or maybe one of the crashed speeders still worked. Leia looks defeated. She says that hope is lost. But then Luke Skywalker turns up. There’s an emotional moment when he speaks to Leia - they agree that Kylo wasn’t Luke’s fault, and Luke comforts Leia by giving her a memento of Han Solo - a pair of dice that used to hang in the Millenium Falcon. Luke then goes out to face the First Order armed with his Light Sabre. When I saw this I was really excited and yet didn’t know what to expect. Luke said it himself that he couldn’t face the entire FO armed only with a laser sword. Kylo, in his command ship, orders everyone to fire on Luke, using all their weapons. The AT-M6 walkers all fire on Luke. Kylo is enraged - shouting for more more more! This really is overkill. There’s just a huge cloud of red dust where the lasers are firing. Hux says “that’s enough” and the guns stop. Kylo slumps in a seat. He should be satisfied, but he’s not. He’ll probably never be satisfied. We’re all thinking - surely Luke isn’t dead! And of course he isn’t. He steps out of the cloud of red dust, unscathed. He looks up at Kylo’s ship and even brushes his shoulder dismissively, which is pretty cool. There’s something strange about Luke. He looks younger. His beard and hair are shorter. He has no dust on him. Kylo is furious again and instructs his soldiers to take him down to the surface to face Luke. Kylo says “I suppose you’ve come here to save my soul” Luke: No. This was awesome, I can’t really explain why. Also, Mark Hamill in this film is absolutely brilliant. He’s really developed as an actor since the original trilogy. He ignites his light sabre - and it’s the blue one. Weird, I thought the blue one got split in two when Kylo and Rey were fighting earlier. Kylo doesn’t seem to notice this because he’s in a rage. He ignites his crackling red light sabre. I love Kylo’s brutal style and the way he stands sort of hunched over. Luke looks really cool in his classic Jedi clothing. Kylo runs at Luke and attacks him but Luke manages to avoid all his attacks. He does some pretty cool moves where he kind of rolls out of the way, making Kylo really angry. This is not the epic gymnastic light sabre combat from the prequels. This is a lot more about the drama between the two characters. There’s a lot more emotion and feeling in this than in watching Anakin and Obiwan jumping from object to object swinging their lightsabres again and again until you’re emotionally uninvested in the action. This is much more like a Japanese samurai movie, where the swordplay is brief but intense. In fact Luke looks a lot like a samurai in this scene and that is fantastic. So atmospheric and powerful. An interesting detail in this fight is that Kylo’s feet leave red marks on the floor where the salt gets disturbed, but Luke’s feet make no impressions on the floor at all. Apparently you can also see salt particles falling from Kylo during the fight, but nothing falling from Luke. Only later do we realise that Luke isn’t really there at all - he’s doing a force projection from Ahch-to and it’s all part of a plan to mentally defeat Kylo while giving the remaining members of the Resistance a chance to escape. Luke tells Kylo - “today the Resistance is reborn and you can never defeat me.” He also does some Obiwan Kenobi stuff to him, saying “If you strike me down in anger I’ll always be with you, just like your father.” That’s got to hurt! Kylo angrily charges at him and swipes his lightsabre at Luke but the blade passes straight through his body. At the time I was thinking - wow, has Luke been hiding his power all this time? Is he immune to lightsabres? Then I thought, oh wow he’s a force ghost! Then it’s revealed that the real Luke is meditating on a rock in Ach-to. This whole thing is a force projection! Luke then says to Kylo - “see you around kid.” and disappears. That’s a Han Solo quote too! I think what this means is that Luke is going to haunt Kylo as a force ghost - he’s always going to be there and Kylo will never have peace, he’ll always be reminded of how he murdered his own father. Then Luke disappears and Kylo is in a rage again. What I like about this: We don’t get a big light sabre duel, but that makes a change - at least we have some really interesting character-based interaction. Luke manages to teach Kylo a lesson without using violence. He only uses defence. He defeats Kylo mentally. He sacrifices himself to save the Resistance. He shows Rey that the force isn’t just about lifting rocks, controlling people’s actions or being really good with a lightsabre - it’s also about introspection and peace. Also, I like the fact that in the midst of all this fighting, explosions - Luke has learned how to win a battle without using violence. In fact, I respect Luke’s decision to just go on an island to live like a hermit. At least he’s decided that he’s fed up with the incessant fighting and war. He’s perhaps the only character to say that he’s had enough of the fighting - and isn’t this a sort of logical progression of what he learned while facing the emperor in Episode 6. He threw his lightsabre away and refused to fight or give in to his anger because he is a Jedi. Don’t blame Luke for choosing to go to that island and for feeling like a failure - he was actually just trying his best to prevent any further catastrophe. This feels like the true way of the Jedi - from a certain point of view. Also, he’s demonstrating incredible force power by doing this projection. This is something new that we haven’t seen before. Again, some people are pissed off with this saying “That’s not how the force works!” but honestly I’m glad that we’re seeing some new force powers in this film. It’s about time we had some slightly new things. By doing this, Luke also manages to create the myth of Luke Skywalker, which will no-doubt be told again and again. He’s accepted his place as a myth and how important and powerful this can be as a way of inspiring new generations to have hope. This is beautiful. Luke has always been a symbol of hope, but he’s a fallible human who couldn’t always live up to his own myth, but he manages at the end to do it in his own way according to how he understands the light side of the force - using defence not attack, without using violence, fighting a mental battle. Then on Ach-To we see Luke collapse from the strain of doing this massive force projection. He climbs back up onto the rock and stares out across the ocean at the sunset, and it’s two suns. This made me cry! I couldn’t help it. It just took me straight back to the moment in Episode 4 when Luke was not much more than a boy staring across the desert at the dual sunset - full of aspiration and dreaming of adventure, and that’s how he ends his life. I can’t put it into words really, but this got me right in the feelings. It’s pretty ridiculous I know, but there it is. Luke then disappears in the same way Obiwan did and Yoda did. He becomes one with the force. I guess this means that he’ll be back as a force ghost in episode 9. Good - I really like Mark Hamill and I hope to see more from him. Meanwhile, the last remaining members of the Resistance have worked out that there must be a way to get out through the back of the caves by following the crystal foxes that live there. There’s quite a magical moment where one of the beautiful crystal foxes leads them to a gap at the back, but it’s filled with boulders. Rey is on the other side - she’s used the tracking device to follow their position from the surface, in the Falcon with Chewie. She works out that the pile of boulders is blocking them from escaping and she’s going to need to use the force to move them all. This is a bit ironic because earlier in the film Luke told her that the force isn’t about lifting rocks! But apparently sometimes it is! Of course she manages to lift all the rocks, freeing the last remaining members of the Resistance and they escape in the Falcon. There must be just about 10 people left! But Leia says they have all they need to start again. They’re the spark that will light the fire to burn the First Order down, etc. We see also that Rey has managed to keep the sacred jedi texts - they’re in a drawer on the falcon. So I suppose this means she can learn the ways of the Jedi properly and maybe she’ll get some help from Luke’s force ghost. Kylo and Rey have one more force vision before the Falcon leaves. They stare at each other and Rey closes the door - signifying that she’s closing herself off from him, I suppose. But surely the interesting thing going forward will be their relationship. Will she be able to turn him back to the light, or defeat him somehow? Will Kylo turn her to the dark somehow? What’s going to happen to Kylo? I quite like the idea that he’ll be haunted by Luke - a bit like the way Macbeth is haunted by his friend Banquo in the Shakespeare play Macbeth. In the final scene of the film we see some of the slave kids on Canto Bight - one of them is telling the others the legend of Luke Skywalker - him standing up against the entire First Order. It reminds me of how C3P0 tells the Ewoks the story of the rebellion. The other children are enthralled by the story and seem genuinely inspired. This shows that the legend of Luke Skywalker gives hope to the next generation. Then the kids are told off by their cruel slave owner boss type guy and one of the kids goes out to sweep the yard. He grabs the broom using a force pull - showing that he is force sensitive, and then he looks up at the stars and sees a distant spacecraft fly across the sky. The End! I suppose this scene means that: Anyone can be strong in the force - you don’t have to be part of a specific bloodline Luke’s legend is an inspiration to the poor, lost or forgotten people The Resistance is not dead and there’s still hope left in the galaxy That’s a nice message isn’t it? So in summary, I found The Last Jedi to be bold in the way it refuses to pander to the fan theories and expectations, brave in the way it pushes the saga forwards by doing some new things and letting some old things die, nuanced in the way it allowed the characters to develop in complex and quite flawed ways, fun in how it included some pretty weird comic moments and just awesome in the way it dealt with several key moments of action that were fuelled more by emotion than by technical skill. I think it’s an intelligent film, a surprising film, it’s one of my favourite Star Wars episodes and I’m looking forward to seeing it again so I can pick up on some more of the subtle details that made it enjoyable. I have no idea how episode 9 is going to carry on - and I like that feeling. Apparently JJ Abrams is going to conclude the saga by directing episode 9. JJ is obviously a very competent filmmaker and someone who understands the core appeal of Star Wars but I’m also a little bit worried because JJ has an approach to making films that involves posing lots of mysterious open ended questions rather than by providing satisfying resolutions. Think of Lost, the TV show - it was brilliant at setting up lots of questions and mysteries that kept the audience guessing, but none of those questions and mysteries were adequately explained in the end. I just hope that episode 9 can at least bring some resolution to the story, rather than just leaving it all open to the interpretations of the slightly unhinged fanbase. I look forward to reading your opinions if you have them.
11/01/182h 10m

503. My Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Part 1)

Talking about the new Star Wars film including the audience reaction, English accents you can hear in Star Wars, and a run-through of the plot with my thoughts about the events and characters. Plot spoilers throughout the episode! Transcript available (below). Episode page:  italki offer:  Transcript (95% complete) This episode is all about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Some of this stuff that I’m saying is scripted, some parts are not - but if you want to read along with me while I’m talking, which can be a great way to work on your English, see specific phrases I’m using and so on - if you want to read along with me, check out the page for this episode on my website. In fact there will be two episodes about Star Wars. This one, which is just me talking about the film, going through the plot, giving my thoughts and discussing the audience reactions to the film, and also the next one, which will be a conversation about the film with my brother and my dad. We went to see the film together while they were here at Christmas time and afterwards I managed to record a conversation with the them and you can hear their reactions and some general rambling about it - that’ll be in the next episode. So, at least 2 episodes about Star Wars. I was wondering if I should devote so much time to this, especially considering that some of you probably aren’t into Star Wars at all. Then I thought to myself - “Well, how do I choose my topics when I know that I can’t please everyone?” Often the deciding factor is - do I want to talk about it myself? Would I want to listen to it? The answer to those questions is yes. When I came out of the cinema in December having just seen this film I just wanted to hear other people’s comments about the film, and I looked for podcasts about it and youtube videos and stuff, and if I was learning English I would definitely like to hear someone talking about this film in English. Certainly for my ideal learning French podcast I would want to hear someone discussing the film in some depth in clear French - I am still yet to find this elusive perfect French version of Luke’s English podcast! And also, you know what? I just really want to talk about Star Wars for a while just because it pleases me to do it. So there you go, that’s my justification for doing these episodes. SPOILERS There are spoilers for the film throughout this episode - so if you haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, you might want to wait before you listen to this. I’m pretty sure the film has been out for a while in most places. I understand that it came out in China on 5 January - a bit later than in other countries. So I think there’s been enough time now for me to do some spoilers. If you’re not a fan of Star Wars (which is totally fine of course), I understand that this might not be for you. I don’t expect everyone to be into Star Wars - it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed since childhood. So if you’re just not a Star Wars fan - I totally understand, but you’ll just have to put up with an episode or two about Star Wars this time, or you can just skip them - it’s totally up to you. If you want to listen to something else from me, like perhaps an episode about vocabulary, or an episode with various jokes, an episode with a mystery adventure story or an episode with grammar and pronunciation questions answered - let me remind you that you can download the LEP App completely free and there you will find at least 7 exclusive app-only episodes that deal with those things specifically. Just check out the app store, download the LEP app, check the App-Only Episodes category and away you go. And of course you have the entire episode archive there which you can peruse at your leisure. But for this one and the next one, it’s all about Star Wars - and if you are a fan, I hope you will enjoy being immersed in the world of Star Wars The Last Jedi for a couple of episodes. Let me say again very clearly there will be spoilers coming as I am going to talk about exactly what happens in The Last Jedi in quite a lot of detail. Please don’t let me spoil this film for you - even if you’re keen to listen to this new episode I strongly recommend that you wait until you’ve seen the film first. So, perhaps the people I have left with me now are: Fans of Star Wars who have already seen the film. And maybe some other LEPsters who might not be big fans of Star Wars but are just happy to listen to me talking about it, even if it includes plot spoilers. I should also say that I might lose some more of you when I say that I really liked Star Wars The Last Jedi - not everything, but on the whole I really enjoyed the film and I feel like the good things definitely outweigh the bad things. I have seen it twice now, and so there’s always a chance that I might change my opinion after seeing it a third time, but I don’t think so. I said I might lose some more of you when I say that I enjoyed this film and that is because the response to this film has been very divided. Plenty of people like it a lot but having said that plenty of people dislike and even hate this film. This reaction mainly comes from so-called “hardcore fans” online who are posting very negative reviews on YouTube as well as on film review websites like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. But I’m quite a hardcore fan and I loved it. In terms of my fandom, here is a summary. I grew up with the films. Watched the original trilogy over and over again throughout my life. Watched ROTJ in the cinema. As a teenager I used to have lots of fun speculating about the backstory of certain characters and so on. As a child I used to think I was Luke Skywalker, as I’ve said in previous episodes. I was quite obsessive about it growing up. In the 90s and 2000s I saw the prequel films and was disappointed by them. I found them to be badly written and directed, with pretty bland characters and too much CGI. Not everything was bad about the prequels - I like the Darth Maul scenes, the pod-race, the scenes between Obi Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett but that might be it I think. I found the rest of it to be more like a Saturday morning cartoon in places. More recently I saw reviews of the prequel trilogy on YouTube that cemented my opinion of those films as being rubbish. I’m talking about Mr Plinkett’s reviews, by RedLetterMedia. Very astute criticisms of the prequels, with some twisted humour thrown in. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the prequel trilogy “ruined my childhood” as some fans have said (and are also saying about The Last Jedi). I think if your childhood can be ruined by a fantasy film that you watch as an adult, then perhaps your childhood was already quite flimsy in the first place. What this phrase really means is that the films spoil the Star Wars franchise, which was such a key part of your upbringing… Anyway, the prequels didn’t ruin my childhood but they did disappoint me a bit. Then it was announced that more Star Wars movies would be released, after Lucasfilm was taken over by Disney. 2 years ago The Force Awakens was released and I really enjoyed it, even if it was very derivative of the original Star Wars films (episode 4). It basically copied the plot of Episode 4 - but I’m alright with that. I thought it was done in a way that was far closer to the original spirit and aesthetic of Star Wars and that was really pleasing. Also they introduced a few new characters that was interesting. Also, in 2015 Rogue One was released - a film set just before Episode 4. This was a sort of war movie inspired episode that didn’t have any Jedi or lightsabers, but told the story of how the rebels managed to get the plans to destroy the Death Star. I really enjoyed that too! It feels like Star Wars is good again. I love reading about fan theories and speculations on forums (like Star Wars Leaks on Reddit) and I do watch lots of dumb YouTube speculation videos about Star Wars, and there were a lot of them released onto YouTube before The Last Jedi came out. But I like to think that I have my fandom under control. I love the world of Star Wars and I feel invested in the stories, but I try not to expect too much from the films. I remember the prequel trilogy - I used to get my hopes up really high before each film was released and I was disappointed each time. Also, I know that your enjoyment of these films is largely a question of taste and a question of subjective experience. What makes a bad film for some people makes a good film for others. The relationship between the fans of Star Wars and the films is very complicated. A lot of people feel very personally invested in this franchise. The fans feel that they own the franchise or that it represents their own personal life, childhood, dreams, imagination and everything. It’s strange how Star Wars can do that. When it is at its best it manages to touch people in the most personal and profound ways. Also, the level of speculation and theorising among the fans has created such massive expectation from the films that it’s almost impossible to please everyone now, and when a film fails to meet people’s specific vision for the story and characters it can feel like a very personal disappointment. But I think some fans are expecting too much from Star Wars now. They’ve put it on a pedestal - which is a way of saying that they expect it to be perfect and to live up to their highest expectations all the time. But it’s just a movie franchise and to an extent it’s a children’s movie franchise. I think some people just need to chill out a bit and stop expecting so much from the films. Saying that, there is bound to be someone out there listening to me who disagrees, who says I’m being an apologist, who says there’s no excuse for what they’ve done. When I read some of the negative reactions, I honestly think - “did we see the same film?” Some people are so angry! It makes me wonder if perhaps there are other things going on, like that these people are not just angry with the film, but they’re angry with what they see as a certain political agenda being expressed through the film. This probably feeds into the ongoing saga of the war between right-wing people (who don’t say they’re right wing) and what they describe as liberal social justice warriors. I see these arguments all the time online in comments sections and so on. The angry ones (whatever their political position) get furious when there’s a suggestion that a film is being used to promote feminism, or to promote ethnic diversity or perhaps animal welfare or environmental issues. A hint of this in a film makes some people really mad. There’s a bit of this in The Last Jedi - some strong female characters, black, asian and hispanic actors in prominent roles, a storyline about animal cruelty… Part of the hatred aimed at SW is fuelled by this stuff. But also, some people don’t like it because they think it’s bad storytelling, and because of the way some characters are dealt with - particularly Luke Skywalker. A lot of people can’t stand the way he is represented in the film. Added to that, there’s the humour. Some people have really taken against the moments of humour which they think don’t fit in with the tone of the film as a whole or the whole franchise in general. I’m talking there about some reasons why the film is disliked by some people - but not everyone of course. Plenty of people like or love this film too although it’s hard to tell what the overall audience reaction has been. I think it’s fair to say that the film is dividing people, particularly the more serious fans. I don’t know what you thought of The Last Jedi. There are some pretty strong feelings out there. You might disagree with me when I say I like it, but I hope you hear me out on this. Of course the film is not 100% perfect or anything but generally I think there is a great deal to be enjoyed about it. Story recap I’d like to now go through the film from start to finish, describe what happens and give my thoughts on each part. You remember the numbers don’t you? OT - Original Trilogy (4, 5, 6) PT - Prequel Trilogy (1, 2, 3) ST - Sequel Trilogy (7, 8, 9) Also Rogue One that fits in before episode 4. The Force Awakens The Resistance are searching for Luke Skywalker because they need his help. There’s a missing piece of a map hidden inside the droid BB8. A scavenger girl called Rey finds the droid. Han Solo and Princess Leia had a son who turned to the dark side. The Last Jedi - Opening Crawl How did it feel in the cinema at this point? I was trying to keep my expectations realistic. I thought - if I expect too much from this I might be disappointed. It’s just a film and ultimately it’s just a space fantasy. It seems silly to invest so much into it. Having said that, I was really looking forward to getting stuck into some new Star Wars and I had no idea what was coming. The Lucasfilm logo appeared and I was really trying to just stay calm but I have to admit it was difficult. I felt really nervous. Star Wars logo + music and I was already getting chills and started welling up. I know it’s a bit pathetic or something, but there it is. Somehow these films just take me directly back to my childhood. It’s like stepping back in time and going straight back to my living room when I was 7 years old and my Dad was younger than I am now and I’d never had any real experiences, I’d never left home, never had my heart broken, never fallen in love… I was a bit emotional during this film. I just can’t help it. Also bear in mind that I was watching this while fully expecting my wife to give birth to our baby at any moment. I literally had my phone in my hand and every single vibration I expected was a text from my wife saying that her water had broken. Anyway, I was feeling very emotionally susceptible while watching the film, which is fine - I’m in touch with my feelings, there’s nothing wrong with that, is there? The opening crawl started and it’s impossible not to get excited by this, if you’re a Star Wars fan. For some reason I can never really read it and take it in. Episode VIII THE LAST JEDI The FIRST ORDER reigns. Having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy. Only General Leia Organa's band of RESISTANCE fighters stand against the rising tyranny, certain that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will return and restore a spark of hope to the fight. But the Resistance has been exposed. As the First Order speeds toward the Rebel base, the brave heroes mount a desperate escape.... The First Order are now in complete control of the galaxy after having blown up the republic with Starkiller Base. The Resistance are on the run, escaping from their base. The First Order are closing in, with vastly superior weaponry, ships, and so on. They blow up the base as remaining resistance ships escape, but they’re being pursued by a First Order fleet. In an effective but costly counterattack led by Poe Dameron, Resistance fighters manage to destroy a First Order dreadnought. One of the FO officers is played by Ade Edmondson, and all the Brits are delighted. Admiral Hux is played by Domhnall Gleeson, Irish actor. He really “hams it up”. First bit of controversial humour. “Holding for Admiral Hugs” etc. FO officers are pretty incompetent and Gleeson plays a lot of his scenes for laughs - it’s a completely over the top performance. Old fashioned RP, and general frothing at the mouth. A note about accents: In SW almost all the Imperial Officers have old fashioned heightened RP accents. This is because this is the accent that Americans associate with an evil old empire - because the British Empire was an evil old empire for the USA. This association still exists - more so in the 70s but still today. Also, it means stuffy formality. Obi Wan Kenobi also had an old school English accent, but that was to suggest that he came from an era that no longer exists - the old republic. It just fits the character. His British accent gives him class, dignity and suggests that he is more than just a “crazy old man”. Vader also had a bit of an RP British accent, but this gradually changed into a trans-atlantic American accent. Still old fashioned and formal in tone, but a bit American. That’s just because the voice actor - James Earl Jones - was a classically trained American actor. These great actors really brought a lot of weight and class to the original films and this was repeated in the prequel trilogy. They chose more well trained British actors because they have class. This includes people like Terence Stamp. In this sequel trilogy (ST), accents are also used to create certain feelings and associations with the characters. The FO officers still speak in old fashioned RP in order to give that sense of old empire (think of the naval officers in Pirates of the Caribbean who speak in a similarly old fashioned way). Supreme Leader Snoke speaks in formal British RP. We don’t know much about him (and I’ll come to that in a bit) but basically he’s a bit like the Emperor - probably very old and powerful and he is the Supreme Leader of the First Order so of course he has the old fashioned English RP accent. Most of the other characters speak American English though, and this seems to be the default accent for “ordinary person” in the Star Wars universe. This includes Han Solo - a kind of cowboy smuggler flyboy kind of guy, and Luke Skywalker- just a farmer from a desert planet. Nobody special (or at least that is the background he has come from). Also, most of the new characters speak with standard American accents - Finn is just an ordinary guy - quite a low level person since he used to be just a stormtrooper and he speaks with an American accent, although the actor is actually from Peckham in South London. Apparently he auditioned in his normal voice but it just didn’t feel right. He auditioned in an American accent and it just fit the character better. Poe Dameron also has a standard American accent. As I said - ordinary people, rebels, not part of the empire. But then there’s Rey. She speaks with quite a posh English accent, although not in the formal way that the FO officers speak. She is definitely just a normal person too, and according to this film she is nobody special (unless this is just a trick and in episode 9 they will reveal something special about her, but I don’t think so - again, more on this later). So why does she have this English RP accent? I don’t really know! Perhaps the actress doesn’t do a very good American accent and this is just her normal voice. Perhaps they just wanted to arouse our interest in this character by giving her a distinctive and classy voice, like Obi Wan Kenobi. The fans certainly took this point as a big clue about her origins. A lot of people believed that because she is force sensitive and speaks in a posh English accent that she must be related to other force users with this accent like Obi Wan Kenobi or perhaps even Emperor Palpatine. There are other details that support these fan theories. But apparently her accent doesn’t mean this. But still, it’s interesting to note that although she grew up on an insignificant planet and lived as a scavenger for all her life, she still speaks with quite a posh English accent, when all the people around her on her home planet of Jakku don’t have the same accent. Her slave owner for example (because in TFA she appears to be basically a slave or at least someone who works for food rations rather than money) - her master or boss speaks with a working class cockney English accent. Just a note on accents there. Next time you watch these films in English, think about that. Back to the plot. The Resistance avoid getting blown up by the First Order ships - massive battleships called Dreadnaughts. Poe Dameron bravely and recklessly flies right up to the FO dreadnaught and does some Top Gun style maverick moves, taking out lots of gun turrets and generally being a brilliant pilot. He clears the way for the Resistance bombers. WW2 style bombers. Star Wars always took inspiration from WW2 films. The bombers are laden with cool-looking round black bombs. Some people say “but there’s no gravity in space!” - but this is Star Wars not Star Trek. It’s fantasy, not science fiction. If your argument is that it doesn’t make scientific sense then sorry, that’s a bit invalid considering Star Wars has never stood up to scientific scrutiny. It’s an emotional character driven fable set in space in a galaxy far far away a long time ago. It’s more like a greek myth or an episode of Flash Gordon than 2001 A Space Odyssey. There are some classic moments of Star Wars fighter combat in space, including a fat guy with a beard who instantly dies. This is something that happens in so many Star Wars films, beginning with Episode 4 when a fat bearded pilot called Porkins dies, and it happens again in Episode 7 I think, and then here we go again - a fat bearded pilot buys the farm almost instantly. It’s a running joke. I wonder how the fat bearded guy community feels about this. Poe is an awesome pilot but an incredible risk taker and he ends up getting most of the Resistance fleet destroyed, except for one lone bomber which somehow manages to get through the FO defences. Super-dramatic sequence with the last remaining bomber. This feels like the ending sequence of the film rather than the start. How could anyone not find this exciting and brilliant? This is Rose’s sister. She’s a gunner on the bomber. All the other crew have been killed. It’s up to her to drop the bombs. Very dramatic stuff with the trigger button. She falls and the button is on a ledge above her. There’s a suggestion that Leia uses the force to help her. She also holds onto a necklace - the other half belongs to her sister Rose. The button drops down but she seems to miss it. This is executed in a slightly cheesy and cliched way by Rian Johnson. The button clearly drops past her and out of reach but in slow motion we see the button dropping from another angle and her hand comes from nowhere to grab it. It’s exactly the same thing that happens in Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise when he is in a high security room trying to steal some classified information or something. He’s suspended from the ceiling and a bead of sweat drops from his forehead. If it touches the floor, he’s dead basically. The bead of sweat falls and is definitely going to land on the floor but his hand comes in and stops it at the last minute. The magic of the movies, right? Some people probably found that annoying, but it’s just a trick that’s been used in countless other movies. Movies always play with time, they slow it down, speed it up, use different angles and so on in order to raise the tension. The worst you can say about this sequence is that it’s a cliche. I personally found it to be good old fashioned dramatic tension and the moment when she presses the button and the bombs drop onto the dreadnaught very satisfying. Massive explosion and the dreadnaught is destroyed, although at great cost to the Resistance. That was a really exciting sequence. I didn’t mind the jokey dialogue between Poe and Hux. I love the way the FO officers are quite ridiculous. I always found that funny in Star Wars anyway. But there is a hell of a lot of war in this film. Of course - it’s Star Wars. But I remember James saying in another episode that we did about Star Wars once - will this war ever end? Probably not. It’s going to go on and on forever. It’s a pity that this is all about war and that this is great entertainment for us. War as entertainment. That’s a bit of a pity. You see it a lot in other films too, like Avengers Infinity War for example. War war war - explosions and explosions. The Resistance fleet jumps into hyperspace and escapes, for now. Poe gets told off by General Leia who demotes him. Poe’s character arc in this film is that he has to learn how to develop from a reckless if brilliant fighter pilot to a strategic and inspiring leader of the Resistance. One of the complaints about the film is that none of the characters develop. I disagree. Most of the characters have clear character arcs. Hux gets told off by Supreme Leader Snoke who throws him around the room and drags him across the floor using the force. So, I think Hux is summoned to Snoke’s throne room along with Kylo Ren. Snoke is really pissed off but Hux reveals that they are actually tracking the Resistance through hyperspace - something that wasn’t possible before - hyperspace tracking. Some fans are pissed off about this - that it’s a new thing that’s come from nowhere but this was mentioned v quickly in Rogue One, so there it is - it’s not completely out of the blue that this is possible. This kind of gets him off the hook with Snoke. Then Hux leaves Snoke alone with Kylo Ren who is still wearing his mask from episode 7. This is a cool scene. Snoke bullies Kylo - explains how he’s disappointed, how he’s lost faith in him, how he is still conflicted despite having killed Solo. He said when he found him he thought he had so much potential and raw power and that he could be the new Darth Vader but he’s just a boy in a mask who got beaten by a girl. To be fair to Kylo he had been shot when he took on Rey, but still. Snoke really makes him feel small and useless. Snoke is manipulating him but in a very cruel way. He basically slaps him down. In fact he gives him a jolt of force lightning. Kylo stands up defiantly and Snoke shocks him quickly sending him flying backwards. I suppose to teach him a lesson - like a cruel parent or something. When this happens we see Snoke’s power used casually and also his guards quickly adopt fighting positions when Kylo stands and then return to their original positions after a couple of seconds. These guards look badass and cool, and better than the Imperial Guards that (badly) protected Emperor Palpatine in the original films. Snoke looks amazing. Kylo feels utterly humiliated and furious at this point. Adam Driver’s performance is great. It’s understated, except for the moments when he flies into a rage. We don’t quite know what’s going on inside him, except for subtle looks he gives, subtle changes in his expression which suggest that he’s feeling hurt, angry, determined, impatient, calculating. He’s a bit of an enigma. He never blinks in the film, I think. He never quite reveals his hand. I feel sympathy towards him, considering how Snoke bullies him, builds him up and knocks him down. I actually think he’s a bit more interesting than just a guy in a mask. Vader is of course a brilliant villain, but he’s also really ridiculous. The helmet is a bit over the top. Kylo removes the mask and this is a good idea - in terms of the film making. It allows us to see Adam Driver’s performance. I like the way he is mostly quite blank in his expression - it’s hard to read him. Then at certain key moments we see the conflict inside him. I like the fact that we never really know which way he is going. Is he turning good or bad? Or is it possible that he’s going in a completely new direction - against The Resistance & Luke Skywalker but also against Snoke who is using and abusing him? Kylo is upset and very angry - not only does he remove the mask but he destroys it against the wall of the lift. He smashes it to pieces. This guy is calm and expressionless one minute and completely unhinged the next minute and I love that. He orders his ship to be made ready. The Resistance are just licking their wounds from the bomber run on the dreadnaught. Poe is feeling gutted that he’s been demoted. Finn wakes up inside his bacta tank thing - some sort of medical body suit he’s been wearing while recovering. There’s a bit of comedy when he walks out of the medical ward wearing this ridiculous suit with pipes sticking out of it and liquid going everywhere. It looks pretty dumb, but it doesn’t really do any harm to the film or to Finn. Just a slightly goofy moment. Poe sees him and kind of fills him in on the plot. I think at this point the First Order ships suddenly jump out of hyperspace right behind the Resistance and The Resistance are shocked to discover that the First Order have somehow tracked them through hyperspace. The thing is, The Resistance are a certain distance ahead of the First Order ships - just out of range of the FO’s big weapons. I admit that this part of the plot is quite contrived. We now have a sort of standoff, or a low-speed chase in which the FO can’t get any closer because their big ships aren’t quite fast enough and The REsistance ships are relying on their shields and their mobility to keep out of range of the FO’s guns. I don’t know why the FO can’t just do a really quick hyperspace jump so they’re immediately behind The Resistance ships and then use their big weapons. I don’t really understand why the FO ships aren’t faster and why their big weapons have such a short range - but honestly, I don’t really care. It doesn’t matter that much to me. The situation is this - the FO decide to play the long game. They’re convinced that eventually The Resistance will run out of fuel and then their shields will fail and they’ll fall within range and the FO will be able to destroy them. They also know that The Resistance can’t escape through hyperspeed. So they wait. That’s good enough for me! It shows the arrogance and cruelty of the FO - enjoying the feeling that they have the upper hand and perhaps even relishing the dominance of their position. In terms of the film it allows other things to happen in the meantime and works as a kind of ticking clock device, which is really common in many films. A ticking clock or ultimatum which gives a sense of urgency to everything that happens. The protagonists have to hurry because they’re running out of time. Kylo then goes out on an attack run against The Resistance with a few other FO fighters. First time we’ve seen Kylo in his own Tie Fighter. It’s a bit like Vader’s tie fighter or perhaps the fighter flown by Anakin Skywalker in the prequels. Kylo also does some spinning, which is something Anakin was known for doing in the prequels. It’s quite a nice touch since Kylo is Anakin’s grandson. Kylo destroys a lot of The Resistance x-wing fighters in the hanger on their ship The Raddus. Loads of Resistance pilots die. Kylo is a badass pilot. He flies past the bridge of The Raddus, where his mother Admiral Leia is situated. There’s a cool moment when the two of them obviously become aware of each other through the force. Kylo is planning to blow up the bridge, killing everyone, including his mother, but he pauses and seems to be wrestling with inner conflict. We see Leia perhaps reaching out using the force. This is a great emotional moment and really good performances by both Adam Driver and Carrie Fisher. A lot of emotion is shown in their faces. Kylo doesn’t shoot his missiles into the bridge. He can’t kill his mother, apparently. Maybe Leia is using the force to control his mind or something, or perhaps Kylo hasn’t become completely dark yet and the light part of him has mercy on her. It’s interesting anyway - to see his conflict and to consider where his loyalties really lie - with Snoke or with Leia. We don’t really know, but he doesn’t launch his missiles in any case. However, the two tie-fighters by his side do shoot their missiles and the bridge is blown up - sending everyone hurtling out into space, including Leia. Kylo is then told to return to the FO fleet and he seems frustrated - perhaps because his mother has just been blown up, or because he resents being given orders by General Hux. At this moment I feel like he’s going to turn back to the light side, or at least that he’s not completely loyal to Snoke and the FO. This conflict is really interesting and I don’t see why some people don’t see this as a really positive point about the film. Trying to work out Kylo Ren is fascinating. I reckon the best things about this film are the inner conflicts in the main characters. There is depth, contradiction, failure, confusion and pain in these characters, and the film shows this to the audience, rather than explaining it in really clumsy dialogue like you get in the prequel films. Kylo flies back to the FO fleet. Then perhaps the most controversial and weird moment in this film happens. This is the one that a lot of people really don’t like. This is the end of part 1. Part 2 - coming soon.
10/01/181h 7m

502. The Birth of My Daughter

Talking about the birth of my baby daughter, including accounts of the main events and how it all felt. Listen carefully for descriptive vocabulary for describing emotions and feelings as well as the language of childbirth previously explained in episodes 491 and 492. Episode page  italki offer 
04/01/181h 24m

501. Merry Christmas! / Listener Correspondence

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, giving some news and responding to some messages from listeners about vocabulary lists, pronouncing "can't" without sounding rude and more... Episode page  italki offer 
24/12/171h 4m

500. [2/2] EPISODE 500 CELEBRATION! (PART 2)

Celebrating 500 episodes of LEP with a mega-ramble featuring lots of messages from listeners, expressions of gratitude, a cool announcement for all my listeners, some singing, some talk of becoming a dad, the future of the podcast, Star Wars, and loads of fun and good times. Thank you for listening!  italki offer - Episode page -  GET THE LEP APP! 
17/12/171h 32m

500. [1/2] EPISODE 500 CELEBRATION! (PART 1)

Celebrating 500 episodes of LEP with a mega-ramble featuring lots of messages from listeners, expressions of gratitude, a cool announcement for all my listeners, some singing, some talk of becoming a dad, the future of the podcast, Star Wars, and loads of fun and good times. Thank you for listening! Parts 1 & 2 are both available on this page. italki offer - Episode page -  GET THE LEP APP! 
17/12/171h 40m

499. Prince Harry & Meghan Markle / Royal Family Quiz (with Amber)

Talking to Amber about the UK's Royal Family, including our thoughts on the upcoming wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, some royal gossip & rumours, and also a Royal Family Quiz with questions about the monarchy today and in history. So, expect to hear our thoughts and some facts about this very traitional British institution. Notes available. italki offer  episode page 
12/12/171h 28m

498. The Rick Thompson Report: Brexit Negotiations

Talking to my Dad about the current situation with the UK's Brexit negotiations with the EU. Listen to hear explanations of what is going on with Brexit, how Northern Ireland is involved, what motivates Brexiters and some comments about other bits of international news - all delivered by my Dad with his clear and coherent English. Notes and transcriptions available. italki offer Episode page 
08/12/171h 13m

497. Film Club: Withnail & I (with James and Will)

Talking about a classic British film which not many learners of English know about. Listen for explanations of the film, its appeal, descriptions of the characters and events, the type of people who like the film and a few bits of dialogue too. Notes and videos available. Episode page  italki offer 
05/12/171h 24m


Rambling about life, learning English, Star Wars, screwing up paper into a ball and more... Episode page  italki offer 
30/11/171h 4m

495. Australian Stereotypes and Cliches (with Oliver Gee) ~didgeridoo sounds~

Discussing stereotypes and cliches about Australia with podcaster Oliver Gee who comes from a land down under. Learn about Australian English, Aussie accent, Aussie slang and exactly what you should say whenever you meet a true blue Aussie, mate! Vocabulary list available. Hooroo. Episode page  Spoken offer  
27/11/171h 4m

494. Who Wants to be Good at English? (The Rematch) with Rick Thompson

Testing my Dad on his knowledge of English, using words that are frequently confused by native English speakers. Will my dad be able to identify the words, spell them and explain the differences? Listen to learn 20 words and phrases which native English speakers often get wrong. You will also hear Dad and me discussing topics such as catching a squirrel, what he would say to Donald Trump and Paul McCartney if he met them, stories of police drug busts at university, how my dad would deal with a zombie apocalypse, and which one is worse - Brexit or Yoko Ono's 'singing'? Vocabulary list with definitions and examples available. Episode page  italki offer 
22/11/171h 25m

493. Catching Up with Amber & Paul #7 (Human Pollution)

Amber and Paul are back on the podcast as we catch up with their recent news and the conversation goes off on many tangents covering subjects such as: pollution and fog in Paris, a possible new word - 'pog', other potential new words of the year, Harvey Weinstein, wanking in the office, 'human pollution in the swimming pool', Paul's recent showbiz news, seeing The Rolling Stones on stage and a slightly worrying email from a LEPster. Includes a cameo appearance by young Hugo, saying his first words on the podcast. Episode page Spoken offer   
17/11/171h 8m

492. Becoming a Dad (with Andy & Ben) Part 2

The second part of this conversation with Andy Johnson and Ben Butler, and we talk about the moment of childbirth and take a quiz about becoming a father. Vocabulary is explained in the second part of the episode. Vocabulary list available. Episode page  italki offer 
12/11/171h 14m

491. Becoming a Dad (with Andy & Ben) Part 1

A conversation and vocabulary lesson about childbirth and becoming a father, with Andy Johnson and Ben Butler from The London School of English. Listen to Andy and Ben talking about their experiences of becoming parents, how their babies were born and more. Vocabulary is explained in the second half of the episode. Vocabulary list available. Episode page  italki offer
08/11/171h 4m

490. Discussing Friendship - with Martin and Dan The Man from Rock n' Roll English (Friendship Phrasal Verbs)

Hello! In this episode of the podcast I am talking to Martin Johnston and his mate Dan The Man from the Rock n Roll English Podcast and we're going to teach you some phrasal verbs and other expressions relating to friendship, while also putting their friendship to the test. Martin and Dan are lifelong friends. They know each other very well but they spend a lot of their time bickering and getting at each other. What's going on in this friendship? Do they really like each other or not? Let's find out in this episode and you can learn lots of vocabulary while we're doing it. Episode page:  italki offer: 
03/11/171h 35m

489. A Rambling Conversation with Mum (Part 2) + Vocabulary

Here's part 2 of this conversation with my Mum in which you can hear us wittering on about the bookshop where Mum works, some of the books she's read recently, and some of her podcast and film recommendations. Vocabulary is explained at the end, and there's a vocabulary list with definitions available. Episode page:  italki offer:  
30/10/171h 36m

488. A Rambling Conversation with Mum (Part 1) + Vocabulary

A conversation with my (lovely) mum in which we generally witter on about a number of different things including some British history, ways of describing rain, different expressions for talking (like rambling and wittering), my mum's accent, what she thinks of this podcast and some of her podcast recommendations. Vocabulary is explained after the conversation and there is a vocabulary list available. Episode page: italki offer: 
26/10/171h 31m

487. Learning Languages and Adapting to New Cultures (with Ethan from RealLife English)

A conversation about travelling and learning languages with Ethan from RealLife English. Ethan is very well-travelled, having lived in at least 6 different countries. He's also learned a few different languages to a good level as an adult. Let's talk about his advice for adapting to new cultures and learning languages in adulthood. Vocabulary notes and language test available below.  Episode page: Spoken offer:  
22/10/171h 34m

486. Difficult Words to Pronounce in English (with Paul Taylor) Part 2

With this one you can continue to listen to Paul Taylor and me discussing the tricky relationship between spelling and pronunciation. There are lots of jokes, impressions, funny accents and useful comments about this important area of the English language. Use this episode to avoid some very common mistakes in English pronunciation, and try not to laugh on the bus while you're listening!  Check the episode page for word lists, transcriptions and my video of 40+ difficult words to pronounce in English. Episode page:  italki offer: 
13/10/171h 0m

485. Difficult Words to Pronounce in English (with Paul Taylor) Part 1

Listen to Paul Taylor and me discussing the tricky relationship between spelling and pronunciation. There are lots of jokes, impressions, funny accents and useful comments about this important area of the English language. Use this episode to avoid some very common mistakes in English pronunciation, and try not to laugh on the bus while you're listening!  Check the episode page for word lists, transcriptions and my video of 40+ difficult words to pronounce in English. Episode page:  italki offer: 
13/10/1754m 36s

484. Try not to Laugh on the Bus (with Paul Taylor)

A conversation with Paul Taylor involving several cups of tea, recipes for French crepes, our terrible rap skills, a funny old comedy song about English workmen drinking tea, some improvised comedy role plays and a very angry Paul ranting about bad customer service in France! Your challenge is to listen to this episode in public without laughing out loud, especially in the second half of the episode. Good luck, may the force be with you. Vocabulary list, song lyrics, definitions and a quiz available (link below). Episode page:  Spoken offer: 
08/10/171h 36m

483. A Rambling Chat with Moz

The second part of my conversation with my friend Moz, this time covering subjects such as podcasting vs YouTube, bathing naked in a Japanese spa, sharing personal information online (like a story of bathing naked in a Japanese spa), the role of artificial intelligence & social media, murdering mosquitoes and meeting a crack addict on the streets of London. Vocabulary list and quiz available. Episode page: italki offer: 
01/10/171h 11m

482. The Murder Mile True Crime Podcast (with Moz) More Creepy Stories of Murders in London

My friend Moz, who runs a murder-themed tour company in London, is back on the podcast to talk about some more creepy stories of crimes from London's history and his new podcast. Vocabulary list available on the website. Episode page:  italki offer: 
26/09/171h 11m

481. Holiday Diary (Final Part) "Endeavour to Persevere"

The final part of the holiday diary series. This one is about visiting the Navajo Nation, meeting some Navajo people, seeing more natural wonders at Monument Valley and The Grand Canyon, a couple of film recommendations our experience of the solar eclipse and a few more anecdotes about the rest of our road trip. Transcript + more on the episode page. Episode page:  Spoken voice calls: 
20/09/171h 34m

480. Holiday Diary (Part 7) Big Rocks! Geology & A Short History of the Earth

In this episode I'm going to continue telling you stories of my recent holiday and there will be descriptions of impressive rocky landscapes, a sort of geology lesson and a brief history of planet earth. Expect plenty of solid descriptive chunks of vocabulary as this holiday diary continues.  Spoken calls: Episode page: 
18/09/171h 24m

479. Holiday Diary (Part 6) The Madness of Las Vegas / 11 Gambling Idioms

This episode includes anecdotes and descriptions of our short visit to Las Vegas, including stories of more rental car issues, Las Vegas craziness, winning and losing $$$ and 11 common English idioms that come from the world of gambling. Episode page:  italki offer:
14/09/171h 12m

478. Holiday Diary (Part 5) An Encounter with The Church of Scientology

More thoughts and comments inspired by things that happened during my recent holiday. In this one I'm discussing stories about the Church of Scientology and the claims that it is a cult. Listen to find out what happened in this part of my trip. Check the episode page for the vocabulary list with definitions. Episode page:   
12/09/171h 9m

477. Holiday Diary (Part 4) The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

The holiday diary continues and in this chapter we visited Bel Air in L.A. and so here is an analysis of the lyrics to Will Smith's rap from "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air", a famous TV show (and a very serious piece of work, haha) from the 90s which was set in Bel Air itself. Topics covered: TV pop culture, racial politics, slang English. Episode page: italki offer: 
09/09/1756m 27s

476. Holiday Diary (Part 3) Astronomy, Astrology & Flat Earth Conspiracy Theory

In this episode I talk about visiting the fantastic Griffith Observatory and then ramble about Astronomy vs Astrology and ludicrous flat earth conspiracy theories. Includes various bits of vocabulary throughout the episode. Spoken offer: Episode page: 
06/09/171h 37m

475. Holiday Diary (Part 2) Modern Art: Is it amazing, or is it rubbish?

Talking about some modern art which I saw while visiting several galleries in Los Angeles. Includes descriptions of different movements in modern art, details about some famous artists and their work, some thoughts about whether modern art is really amazing, or maybe just a load of pretentious rubbish! (Spoiler alert: it depends) italki offer: Episode page: 
03/09/171h 21m

474. Holiday Diary (Part 1) New Arrival, New Destinations

Hi everyone, I'm back from my holiday so here's a new episode of the podcast. In this one you'll hear me talking about some recent news (including quite a big announcement) and then an account of what we did on holiday including some descriptions, opinions and stories. There's talk of disturbing political events, dodgy car rental experiences, and a couple of beautiful cities where urban life meets wild nature. Enjoy! italki offer: Episode page: 
31/08/171h 12m

473. Explaining the Rules of Cricket (with Dad)

Everything you need to know about the world's 2nd most popular spectator sport, cricket. I'm joined by my Dad, Rick Thompson and we describe the rules, the appeal of the game and also some expressions in English that come from cricket. italki offer: Episode page: 
22/08/171h 26m

Why does the UK have so many accents? (Recorded February 2017)

This episode was originally recorded in February 2017 and is being uploaded in August 2017. In this episode I’m going to answer several questions from listeners about accents, including how regional accents occur in the UK and why there are so many accents there. Video available. italki offer: Episode page: 
16/08/171h 16m

472. Andy's Story of Survival / Why Andy Runs Marathons (with Andy Johnson)

Talking to Andy about why he runs marathons, including vocabulary relating to doing exercise, health, fitness, technique, injuries and medical care. italki offer: Episode page: 
11/08/1757m 46s

471. Stepping on Lego, Self-directed Learning, Accents (with Andy Johnson)

Talking to Andy about stepping on Lego, Andy's job, self-directed language learning, accent, and British/American English. italki offer: Episode page: 
06/08/1747m 13s

I'm going away on holiday - back in a few weeks!

I'm going on holiday until the end of the month, so I'm going to disappear for a while. Listen to this message because it has a few announcements about what's happening with the podcast while I'm gone. Transcript available. Episode page 
02/08/1725m 57s

470. Understanding the Liverpool Accent

Helping you to understand and appreciate the Liverpool accent and Scouse English, featuring clips of comedy a short history of Liverpool and interviews with famous footballers, actors and musicians. Episode page: italki offer: 
31/07/171h 22m

469. British Comedy: John Bishop

Helping you to understand a comedian with a Liverpool accent - learn vocabulary, culture and accents in English. Episode page: italki offer: 
27/07/171h 16m

468. Punk - Music & Culture (with James)

A bit of pop culture history in this episode, talking about the musical movement of punk and the social situation in which it happened. With James Thompson Episode page:  Spoken offer: 
24/07/171h 19m

467. A Boiling-Hot Evening Ramble - Comments & Questions

Rambling (in my sweltering hot flat) about the benefits of playing football, giving encouragement to a shy new listener, some prepositions with transport, comparing formal and informal styles and commenting on the risks of using humour in emails. Episode page with notes and transcriptions:  italki offer:   
20/07/171h 23m

466. Get this word into your life

Highlighting and clarifying vocabulary that you heard in episodes 464 and 465, with a focus on phrases and uses of the word get. Episode page:  italki offer: 
15/07/171h 35m

465. How I make episodes of the podcast (Part 2)

Talking about the technical side of making podcast episodes, including fascinating* insights about my recording equipment and an exciting** anecdote game. Includes upbeat music to absolutely guarantee*** that you will not be bored during the episode! *insights may not actually be fascinating **management holds no liability for any lack of excitement experienced ***not actually a legally binding guarantee Spoken offer: Episode page for notes: 
10/07/171h 22m

464. How I make episodes of the podcast (Part 1)

Talking about the creative side of making podcast episodes, including some thoughts on how to come up with ideas and how to speak in front of an audience. Watch out for various phrases with 'get' during the episode. Episode page on Spoken - 2 free lessons & 20% discount: 
06/07/171h 16m

463. News, Comments & Questions

Giving some news, responding to comments & questions, rambling about new shoes and getting lost in the jungle. Episode page with links etc:  italki offer:  
03/07/171h 24m

462. British Comedy: Bill Bailey

In this episode I talk to you about one of my favourite stand up comedians from the UK. We’re going to hear some of his comedy and use it to learn English. Episode page for scripts, videos, notes: Spoken offer:
28/06/171h 11m

461. 25 Deceptively Difficult Questions (with Amber, Paul & Sarah)

An episode about the tricky little questions that we use when socialising. What are the appropriate answers? What are the subtle differences? How do native speakers use these questions? Can you take the test and get all the right responses to my list of deceptively difficult questions?  Episode page:  Spoken offer:  25 Deceptively Difficult Questions - Proper Introduction Transcript! Hi everyone, This is an episode about social English, the kind of English you use when you’re socialising, particularly the little things you say when you greet someone or at the beginning of a conversation. There are many ways to say “hi” and also lots of ways to say “how are you?” or “what are you doing?” The tricky thing is being able to judge the subtle differences in the questions with the presence of auxiliary verbs or modals which change the meaning slightly from the past, to the present to the future or with slightly different levels of formality. I’d like to do a test in this episode today. I am going to test you, so get ready. A Test Here’s what’s going to happen. I’ve prepared a list of 25 questions. I’m going to read them to you in a moment. As I say each question, what I want you to do is to think really quickly and really naturally about the first thing you would normally say when you hear that question. What’s the first answer that comes into your mind? Let’s see if you answer correctly. To find out the proper answers we’re going to listen to me directing those questions at Amber, Paul and Sarah. Then you can listen out for how they answer them and the comments we make afterwards, which should explain these tricky little bits of English. Not only can you learn some essential social English in this episode, you can also hear plenty of humorous conversation between the four of us. Sarah’s baby is also there in the background. I’m sorry if this bothers anyone. I’ve removed some of those noises but a few are still there. I think it sounds fine and adds a bit of atmosphere and after all she is a very cute baby. So, the test. Let’s get started. Are you ready? Just give the first answer that comes to mind. Also, you should know that some of the questions are intentionally incorrect. So, if you hear a question which is grammatically wrong or just not used ever, you can say “wrong”. Ok, so, your quick answer to the question, or “wrong” if it’s incorrect. I’ll say the question once quickly, once slowly and once again quickly. Some of these questions may seem extremely simple - the point of this is the pragmatics of social English and how you should give certain stock answers to some questions. They get a bit harder as they go along. Also, you can try to repeat the questions too. They’re going to come pretty quick, so use the pause button if you want. Here we go. You might think these are easy, but that's why this is called 'deceptively' difficult questions. *4 questions are intentionally incorrect. Can you spot them? What are you doing? How are you doing? How’s it going? How are you going? What’s happening? What’s going on? What’s going down? What’s going up? What’s up? How do you do? How are you? How have you been? How have you been up to? What are you up to? What have you been up to? How long has it been? Can I use your phone? I can’t use your phone, can I? Do you mind if I open the window? You don’t mind if I open the window, do you? What are your plans for later? What are you up to later? Can you tell me where is the best bar in town? Do you know how long is it going to be? Would you be prepared to give me a 5% discount? Ta = thanks You’re now going to hear all those questions and how Amber, Paul and Sarah will respond to them. See if you got them right or wrong! I’ll go through them again quickly at the end. Listen to the whole episode for all the correct answers and explanations. Don't be a ninja! Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Cheers! Luke
24/06/171h 10m

460 Catching Up With Amber & Paul #6 (feat. Sarah Donnelly)

Conversation and language analysis with the podpals and guest Sarah. Hear some conversation about being married to a foreign person, bringing up kids to be bilingual, and learn some slang in Australian and Northern Irish English. Vocabulary is explained at the end.  italki offer: Episode page:  Text also reproduced below (including vocabulary lists) Introduction This episode is choc-a-block with natural conversation and language. Yesterday I had Amber and Paul over to the flat, and I also invited Sarah Donnelly, a friend of the podcast. Sarah also brought her baby who she had since she was last on the podcast. There’s no relation by the way between her being on the podcast and having a baby. Purely coincidental. Anyway, the four of us sat around the table yesterday in the blistering heat to record some podcast material and that’s what you’re going to hear. Sometimes you can hear the baby screaming and gurgling in the background but I don’t think it spoils the recording really. She hasn’t learned to talk yet, but who knows being on the podcast might help a little bit in some way. The conversation is a bit chaotic because there are 4 people, sometimes talking over each other. If you like you can imagine you’re in a business meeting. A business meeting in which no business actually takes place, nobody observes the rules of formality and where the participants just chat with each other. So, not much like a business meeting really, but anyway a meeting of sorts, and this is the kind of thing you might have to deal with in the future if you go to a meeting in English and there are a number of people discussing things and you have to keep up. It’s good practice to listen to this kind of thing to help you prepare for that kind of situation. This recording was slightly shorter than the usual full-on ramble that we have together. But I’m going to do a bit of language analysis at the end. I’ll pick out a few words and phrases and will clarify them after the conversation has finished. Also there’s another language-related episode coming soon with Amber, Paul and Sarah. Here now is a discussion between podpals Amber and Paul, also featuring Sarah Donnelly the American with Irish roots who has been on this podcast before, most recently talking about the US Presidential Elections with Sebastian Marx. Things we all have in common: We’re all English speaking expats in France We are all with French partners, either married or “paxed” We’re all comedians on the stand up scene too In this chat we discuss a few things, such as the complexities of being with a foreign partner, bringing up a child in a foreign country to be fully bilingual, getting married and what it feels like for the bride and groom on the big day, Amber’s podcast which was recently released online, Paul’s upcoming gig in Australia, Sarah’s Irish roots and some English slang from New Zealand, Australia and Northern Ireland. Questions Here are some questions for you to consider as you listen. This can help you to focus on the content. Are you or have you ever been with a foreign person in a relationship? What are the difficulties of that? What’s the best way to bring up a child to be bilingual? Is it possible to raise a bilingual child when only one of you speaks one of the target languages to the child? Are you married? How did it feel for you on the big day? Did you cry? Have you ever been a guest at a wedding, and did you cry? Have you heard Amber’s podcast, which is called Paname? It’s now available at Can you identify different English accents and dialects from around the world? How about American vs British, or different areas of the UK? How about Ireland and Northern Ireland? What about Australia and New Zealand? Do you know what their English sounds like? Right. Consider those questions as you listen to this conversation and hold on until later when I’ll explain some of the vocabulary and some cultural stuff too, maybe touching on different accents, wedding vocabulary and more. But now you can listen to Amber, Paul, Sarah and me, melting in my boiling hot apartment. Vocabulary and other language points - Explained It's really hot It’s hot as hell It’s boiling It’s sweltering It’s baking It’s blisteringly hot Being partnered with a French person is hard work. I have one hour’s worth of material on this. One hour’s worth of something 5 minutes’ worth of something We’ve got 3 days’ worth of food left I’ve got about 10 minutes’ worth of battery left Bringing Up Children Bringing up a baby in a foreign country with a foreign partner - will they speak English? Bring up a baby Raise a child Be raised in / to Grow up Do you have experience of bringing up a baby to be bilingual? Let us know. If just one parent speaks English, and the rest of the time it’s French with school, friends and everything else - will the kid be bilingual? Anglophone Francophone Condone/Condemn I don’t condone the hitting of a child (stupid thing to say actually - but that’s what happens when you joke - sometimes you go over the line a bit - obvs I didn’t mean it) Condone / condemn Paul's Wedding An out of body experience We were so stressed out Crying To cry To be in tears To well up To choke up Neither of us cried I thought everybody would be in tears I welled up a bit I was choking up Walk down the aisle The altar Her parents aren’t with her any more. They passed away. Paul’s dad gave her away. “It was so sweet that it was your dad that was giving her away.” I’m left-handed I can’t grip it like I like to grip it. (innuendo) He’s jumped ahead. (he’s gone to the innuendo before we realised it) Some ninjas came out of the woodwork. (to come out of the woodwork) to appear after having been hidden or not active for a long time: After you've been in a relationship for a while all sorts of little secrets start to come out of the woodwork. Mildly disapproving. From Cambridge Dictionary Online. They feel like they’re going to do mistakes. Make mistakes. Aussie slang   G’day mate, how are you going? Arvo: afternoon Barbie: barbeque Bogan Chockers Fair Dinkum Fuckin’ oath! Sweet as Strewth! (Cliche) Kiwi slang The slang is pretty similar to Aussie or UK slang, but the accent is different. For years I couldn’t differentiate it from Aussie, but the more you hear the more you realise how different it is. Watch Flight of the Conchords to hear lots of it. Episode in the pipeline.
20/06/171h 5m

459. Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon

Rambling on about so-called "facts" I found on the internet, while sitting in direct sunshine wishing I had beer. Episode page: Audible audiobook offer: 
17/06/171h 2m

458. The Rick Thompson Report: Post-Election 2017

Talking to my Dad about the results of the UK's general election on 8 June 2017. Episode page:  italki offer: 
14/06/171h 11m

457. Conclusions about Language Learning from the David Crystal Interview (Part 2)

A follow-up to episode 455 consolidating the insights of Professor David Crystal including various pearls of wisdom about language learning. Episode page:  italki offer: 
09/06/1753m 4s

456. Conclusions about Language Learning from the David Crystal Interview (Part 1)

Discussing and clarifying what David Crystal said in episode 454. Conclusions about language learning and linguistics.   Episode page: italki offer: 
09/06/171h 6m

455. David Crystal Interview (Part 2) Questions from Listeners

Talking to the world's top writer and lecturer on the English language, Professor David Crystal. In this episode, David answers questions from listeners. Episode page: italki offer: 
06/06/1757m 53s

A Message from Amber

Hi everyone, this is just a quick 3min episode with a message from Amber about her podcast. Details below. Amber's podcast is now on iTunes and on her website Check it out! Luke
01/06/172m 52s

454. David Crystal Interview (Part 1) Professor of Linguistics

Talking about language with one of the world's top linguists, Professor David Crystal. italki offer: Episode page: 
31/05/171h 3m

453. The 36 Questions that Lead to Love (with Amber & Paul)

Listen to Amber, Paul and me answering questions designed by psychologists to help couples or friends become closer and more intimate. Episode page:  italki offer: 
27/05/171h 12m

452. A Conversation About Language (with Amber & Paul)

Discussing language with Amber & Paul, including issues such as errors made by native speakers, language change, whether language standards are declining, the effects of technology on language and how to cut an avocado without injuring yourself. Episode page:  italki offer: 
24/05/171h 1m

451. Film Club: Alien Covenant

Another film club episode, this time about the Alien franchise and a review of the new film "Alien: Covenant". The film is in the cinemas now and you could watch the other films at home (with or without subtitles) for some more English listening practice. italki offer: Episode page: 
22/05/171h 13m

450. Comments & Questions

In this episode I’m going to go through some questions from the comment section and give a bit of news. There will be some grammar, some vocab, some reactions to recent episodes and some bits relating to how you can continue to push your English with this podcast. Spoken offer: Episode page: 
16/05/171h 21m

449. Film Club: Touching the Void (Part 2) Learning a Language is Like Climbing a Mountain

Part 2 of this Film Club episode looking at the award-winning documentary "Touching the Void" which tells the story of a mountain climbing expedition which goes wrong. Listen to this episode and then watch the film on Netflix or DVD for that extra bit of English input. Episode page: italki offer:
13/05/171h 5m

448. Film Club: Touching the Void (Part 1) Learning a Language is Like Climbing a Mountain

A film club episode about the award-winning documentary film "Touching the Void" about a mountain climbing expedition which goes wrong. It's an amazing true story and there are lots of things to learn from it, including lessons about motivation and attitude towards any challenge. The film is available on Netflix and DVD. Check it out and use this episode to help you understand it all. Episode page: italki offer:
12/05/1754m 45s

447. What is this, British Humour? (with Amber Minogue)

What is British Humour? Is it funny? Does it even exist? How does it relate to our communication style and culture? In this episode I go through the main points of my British Council Teacher Talk about British Humour. Amber and I discuss the definition of British humour, the way it works, how it's different or similar to other humour in other places, and some examples of typical humour in the UK. Episode page: Spoken offer:
08/05/171h 26m

446. British TV: Top Gear

Talking about one of the UK's most popular television programmes, Top Gear. This episode features lots of vocabulary related to cars, but a lot more too including your guide to how to speak like Jeremy Clarkson. Episode page:  Spoken offer: 
05/05/171h 26m

445. British Podcast Award / Hello to New Listeners / 17 Vocabulary Expressions

In this episode I’m going to talk a little bit about the results of the British Podcast Awards and also do a sort of introduction to the podcast for new people who might be listening for the first time. I’m going to bring you up to speed on what this podcast is all about and also recommend a few episodes from the archive that you could listen to. Also - for the dedicated language learners, at the end of the episode I’m going to explain 17 expressions which you’ll hear as I’m talking. Which expressions will they be? You’ll have to wait and see. Episode page - italki offer - 
01/05/1755m 29s

444. The Rick Thompson Report: Snap General Election 2017

Politics is back on LEP as I talk to my Dad about recent developments in the UK, specifically the General Election which is due to take place on 8 June. Episode page: italki offer: 
25/04/171h 20m

443. The Trip to Japan (Part 2)

Describing my recent trip to Japan and exploring the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. Episode page:  Spoken offer: 
21/04/171h 42m

442. The Trip to Japan (Part 1)

Describing my recent trip to Japan and exploring the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. Episode page: Spoken offer: 
21/04/171h 28m

441. Andy Johnson at the IATEFL Conference

A conversation with Andy Johnson, talking about the IATEFL teaching conference, millennials, more tales of Andy's appearance and the possibility of a WWE wrestling match between Andy and me. Episode page 10% off all courses at London School Online - use offer code LUKE10 
18/04/171h 26m

440. This Pile of Books on my Desk

In this episode I just want to talk to you about this pile of 16 books I have on my desk. These are (mostly) books I haven't read yet but which I picked up recently. I have lots of piles of books like this lying around and I must read them all but I can't find the time! Anyway, I think they're really interesting. I either received them as presents, was recommended them by friends and family or I bought them for myself when visiting book shops over the last year or two. I love books, and browsing bookshops is one of my favourite things. If only I was a faster reader! Episode page italki offer 
06/04/171h 32m

439. Reading Books to Learn English

This episode is all about books. I’m going to recommend some self-study books for learning English, talk about the value of reading books in English and then go through some of the books which I have in a pile on my desk and talk to you about them - just to inspire you to do some more reading this year, in English of course! Epsiode page italki offer 
06/04/171h 9m

438. Hi Luke, I have a question!

Here’s another episode done in a similar style to the last one, with some news, some rambling and some questions and comments from the website. Topics in this episode will include: My live comedy show in Tokyo on 13 April, LEPster meetups, humour, grammar, understanding TV and Movies, Breaking Bad, Logan and more... Episode page: Spoken: 
04/04/171h 38m

437. Ramble News - 31 March 2017

A rambly episode with some news from the UK, some comments, some questions, some updates about LEPster meetups in Moscow, Tokyo and London and more. Episode page: italki offer: 
31/03/171h 27m

436. The Return of The Lying Game (with Amber & Paul) [Video]

Amber, Paul and I play another round of The Lying Game, in which we each tell a story and the others have to guess if it's true or a lie. Listen for story telling, questions and general fun, plus some jokes at the end of the episode. Video available. Episode page: italki offer: 
28/03/171h 2m

435. Catching Up With Amber & Paul #5 [Video]

Amber & Paul are back on the podcast in this episode as we respond to some questions and comments from the website and social media. Video available. Episode page: Spoken: 
24/03/171h 14m

434. Interview with Paul Taylor - "WTF France?" [Video]

Interviewing Paul Taylor about his comedy projects, including "What the F*ck France" on Canal+ / Youtube and his stand-up shows #Franglais and The Paul Taylor Comedy Night. Video available. Episode page: Spoken offer: 
21/03/171h 14m

433. British TV: Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (Part 2) [Video]

Learn more authentic English directly from the mouths of these native speakers in an episode of the popular British TV show "Kitchen Nightmares" with famous chef Gordon Ramsay. Videos and vocabulary lists available. Episode page: italki offer: 
16/03/171h 15m

432. British TV: Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (Part 1) [Video]

Talking about restaurant culture in the UK, an introduction to one of the UK's most famous chefs and a chance to learn some authentic English from a popular British TV show featuring Gordon Ramsay. Video available. Episode page: italki offer: 
14/03/171h 14m

431. Restaurants & Hotels / Really Strange TripAdvisor Reviews (with Amber)

Talking to Amber about our experiences in restaurants & hotels and some truly bizarre TripAdvisor reviews. Episode page: Spoken promo: 
09/03/171h 32m

430. Discussing Language Learning & Life with Fred Eyangoh

Talking to Fred about history, geography, comedy, learning English and cutlery. Episode page italki offer 
05/03/171h 34m


[Yes, that is a lizard in an aquarium - listen to the episode to find out more] This is an episode with some rambling about recent news, LEPster meetups, transcript project team, listener comments & questions, teaching phrasal verbs with 'in on' and some music. This episode is also available as a video. Episode page: italki offer: 
01/03/171h 22m

428. British Comedy: Limmy's Show (Part 2)

Analysis of another sketch from Limmy's Show. Listen to informal English spoken in a Glasgow accent, and understand it. Episode page: 
23/02/171h 32m

427. British Comedy: Limmy's Show

An episode analysing more British comedy, this time focusing on a couple of sketches from Limmy's Show, an award-winning TV comedy produced by BBC Scotland. See link for transcriptions, notes and videos.  Episode page 
22/02/171h 31m

426. Thompson, Taylor & Minogue: Victorian Detectives (Part 2) with Amber & Paul

Listen to the conclusion of this mystery story in which Amber, Paul and I attempt to solve a series of kidnappings in Victorian London. Episode page: italki offer: 
16/02/171h 16m

425. Thompson, Taylor & Minogue: Victorian Detectives (Part 1) with Amber & Paul

Join Amber, Paul and me as we attempt to solve a series of mysterious kidnappings in Victorian London. Full story text available. Episode page: italki offer: 
13/02/171h 31m

424. With Andy & Ben from The London School of English (Part 2)

Talking to Andy Johnson and Ben Butler about teaching English to millennials, cross-cultural experiences we've had as English teachers and some funny stories about Andy. Episode page London School Online (use offer code LUKE10) for a 10% discount 
08/02/171h 7m

423. With Andy & Ben from The London School of English (Part 1)

Talking to Andy Johnson and Ben Butler from The London School of English about many things including teaching English for specific purposes and some old anecdotes. Episode page 
06/02/1750m 24s

422. Learning British Dialects with Korean Billy

Talking to Billy from Korea about his videos about regional British dialects and accents. Episode page: italki offer: 
02/02/171h 38m

421. Skateboarding - A New Olympic Sport (with James)

A new episode with James about Skateboarding, which will be a new event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. James has been a skater for most of his life and used to write articles for a skateboarding magazine, so he's exactly the right person to talk to about this. Episode page: italki offer: 
29/01/171h 13m

420. Anyone fancy a brew? Let's have a nice cup of tea!

Everything you need to know about the culture of tea-drinking in the UK, including a full guide to how to make a nice cup of tea, English style. Episode page: italki offer: 
26/01/171h 11m

419. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Spoiler Review (with James)

Talking to my brother about the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. SPOILER ALERT! Episode page: Spoken offer: 
23/01/171h 10m

418. The Rick Thompson Report: Technology and The Future (January 2017)

Talking to my Dad about developments in technology in the future. italki offer: 
19/01/1759m 12s

417. New Year's Resolutions and Language Learning in 2017

Let’s look towards the coming year and talk about new years resolutions for language learning in 2017. I talk about the UK's most common new year's resolutions, my resolutions for improving my French and then talk about ways we can work on our language learning this year. 
15/01/1747m 49s

416. What was the most popular episode of LEP in 2016? + more podcast statistics

Here is an overview of how 2016 was for Luke's English Podcast including some details about the top 5 episodes, the top 20 countries, and more statistics for the last 12 months. 
13/01/1751m 18s

415. With the Family (Part 3) More Encounters with Famous People

Here's the final part in this trilogy of episodes recorded at my parents' house on Boxing Day. In this one my mum, dad and brother tell us a few more anecdotes about their encounters with some well-known people. Episode page 
10/01/1754m 40s

414. With the Family (Part 2) My Uncle Met a Rock Star

Listen to my uncle Nic telling some stories about British rock stars he has met over the years, including an encounter with one of the most famous musicians in the world! 
05/01/1740m 27s

413. With The Family (Part 1) Mum's Cooking + Vocabulary (with Uncle Nic)

Happy New Year! This new episode features a conversation I recorded during the Christmas holiday with my mum and my uncle Nic about how to cook a great Turkey dinner. Listen for some family conversation and then vocabulary explanations. Click here for the page for this episode 
03/01/171h 11m

412. British Festivals and Holidays (Part 2)

Here's part 2 of this episode all about special days and celebrations in the UK throughout the year. Transcript and videos here 
26/12/1658m 45s

411. British Festivals and Holidays (Part 1)

Here's an episode all about special days and celebrations in the British calendar. You'll hear cultural information about holidays and customs, and some pronunciation work on how to say dates and the months of the year. Transcript and videos here 
26/12/161h 18m

Please consider donating to "Doctors Without Borders"

This is a quick message not a full episode and I just wanted to say a few words about donations, essentially this: If you’re thinking of sending me a donation this Christmas, you could instead consider sending your donation to a charity in order to help people who are in need of our assistance at the moment. So, rather than sending something to me, send it to others, by using a reputable charity like Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) by going to  Episode page: 
22/12/1615m 3s

410. Teaching 12 Idioms in the Street / On the Set of Paul's TV Show (with Amber)

Amber & I teach you 12 idiomatic English phrases while attending the filming of an episode of Paul's TV show on the street in Paris. Click the link below for videos and photos, and a list of the idioms with definitions - 
20/12/161h 13m


A rambling conversation with Amber about Christmas and more! 
16/12/161h 33m

408. Catching Up With Amber & Paul #4

Amber & Paul are back on the podcast and we do the usual catching-up session and go off on a few tangents about Amber's play, Paul's showbiz life, marshmallows, microphones, tea & coffee, accents and more... Visit the page for this episode to see a couple of videos - link coming soon. 
13/12/161h 19m

407. Reflections on Language Learning & Working as a Translator: Interview with Kristina from Russia, Winner of the LEP Anecdote Competition 2016

In this episode you'll hear me talking to Kristina from Russia, the winner of the LEP anecdote competition this year. We talk about her work as a translator and interpreter, her reflections on language learning, how she learned English to a good level and some other bits and pieces! Click here for more info 
07/12/1649m 52s

406. Grammar (Past Continuous Tense) / UK Media Bias / Brazil Football Tragedy

More responses to questions and comments from listeners, including a comparison of past continuous & past simple verb tenses, comments about bias in the UK's media, the BBC, the newspapers, the Chapecoense Plane Crash in Colombia, and more. 
04/12/161h 10m

405. British Accents in The Lord of the Rings (Part 2)

In this episode we continue to analyse the various British accents that you can hear in the film version of The Lord of the Rings. Let's consider the accents of some of the main characters, such as Frodo, Sam, Pippin, Merry, Treebeard, Elrond, Boromir, Gandalf, Saruman, Legolas, Gimli and the orcs. 
30/11/161h 4m

404. British Accents in The Lord of the Rings (Part 1)

Talking about the different British accents you can hear in the Lord of the Rings movies. 
30/11/1659m 28s

403. Competition Results / War Story / Grammar & Punctuation / My Dad's Accent

The final results of the LEP Anecdote Competition, some podcast admin and responses to some comments & emails from listeners including a war story, some grammar (noun phrases, possessives & apostrophes) and a question about my Dad's accent. 
29/11/161h 15m

402. The Rick Thompson Report: What’s Going On? Nov. 2016 (Post-Truth Politics, Cricket and Tetris)

Talking to my Dad about recent news, and we talked about Brexit, post-truth politics, the US election, the right-wing press in the UK, the political landscape in the EU, the rules of international cricket and the music from Tetris. 
23/11/161h 7m

401. ‘Switch off your editor’ to improve your fluency in English

Welcome back to the podcast. This is episode 401 and it’s about developing your fluency in English. I’m going to talk about creativity, open and closed thinking and about how turning off your internal editor can help you to make more progress in your language learning. 
21/11/1654m 15s

400. The Pink Gorilla Story 2

I've decided to celebrate the 400th episode of LEP by making up an improvised comedy story, just for fun. In fact, this is the long-awaited sequel to The Pink Gorilla Story from episode 125. 
18/11/161h 22m

399. The Return of Molly Martinez (with Dane Nightingale)

Talking with two American friends about journalism, how the internet works, the US presidential election results, California's new marijuana laws and puffins. 
15/11/161h 18m

398. US Election Ramble + Message + Song

In this episode I want to talk about two things: My first impressions of the US Presidential election result, and then some things I said in the last episode of this podcast. I just want to clear up some comments I made last time. I just want to get straight into it. So here we go. Click here for the page for this episode 
09/11/161h 6m

397. An 80-Minute Ramble

Talking spontaneously about gloves, mittens, OO7, Bob Dylan, an LEP app, The Walking Dead, Oasis, Black Mirror, The Crown, a bit of politics and some 10-year cave-aged cheddar cheese. Click here for the page for this episode  ‎ 
07/11/161h 22m

396. The LEP Anecdote Competition - ROUND 2

This episode is round 2 of the LEP anecdote competition. You'll be able to hear the 10 anecdotes that got the most votes from round one and some language feedback afterwards. Click here to vote for your favourite stories in the poll 
28/10/161h 10m

395. "Have you ever...?" with Paul Taylor and Robert Hoehn

In this episode I'm joined by Paul Taylor and Robert Hoehn and we do a speaking exercise that I often use in my classes to help my students to practise using different grammatical structures in their speaking. I thought it would be interesting to record some native speakers doing the exercise too, so that's what you'll hear in this episode, as well as various little anecdotes, a few jokes and general chat. The conversation contains swearing and a few humourous comments which shouldn't be taken too seriously. Click here for the page for this episode 
27/10/161h 11m

394. OPP: Other People's Podcasts (Part 4)

Here are some more of my favourite podcasts. You might like to listen to them too, even if they're difficult to understand because they're not specifically for learners of English. It's good to challenge yourself sometimes, so why not try listening to these. If I like them, you might like them too. Click here for the page for this episode 
23/10/1655m 18s

393. OPP: Other People's Podcasts (Part 3)

In this episode I'm going to recommend some other people's podcasts that you might also enjoy. Last time, in episodes 236 and 237 I recommended some of my favourite podcasts. I recommended a mix of British and American podcasts. This time I'm going to tell you about some more but we're focusing only on British podcasts this time - ones that are produced in the UK and on which you can listen to British voices. Click here for the page for this episode 
22/10/1642m 45s

392. What are the most essential skills of a good foreign language learner?

This episode is full of what I hope will be more useful insight and advice on how to learn English as an adult so that you don't end up sounding like a robot, because you're learning English or at least maintaining your English and it's a long-term process, there are right and wrong ways of doing it and I want to support you along the way. The main aim of this podcast is to help you stay on track as you continue to develop your English, trying to find new ways and improving the old ways so that you get a grip on this language. This episode represents not just my ideas but also the thoughts, conclusions and recommendations of plenty of other linguists and polyglots who certainly should know what they're talking about because they've either studied the process of language acquisition or they've learned multiple languages themselves. Contained in this episode is a distillation of lots of experiences, research and common knowledge about language learning, including my own thoughts and practical tips which I've picked up after 15 years of teaching English as a foreign language. I hope this will be a motivating, inspiring and interesting episode for you to listen to as part of your English learning journey. So, let's go. Click here for the page for this episode 
19/10/161h 21m

391. Discussing Language, Culture & Comedy with Alexander van Walsum

Here's a conversation with a friend of mine who originally comes from the Netherlands but he has lived all over the world. You're going to hear us talking about cultural differences, Dutch stereotypes, doing business in France, the UK and the USA, the different communication styles in those places, doing stand up comedy and getting Darth Vader's signature. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it. Click here for the episode page 
17/10/1650m 50s

390. The Rick Thompson Report: Hard Brexit / U.S. Election

This is a conversation with my dad about recent news, including a Brexit update, the US presidential election, Obama's plans to send people to Mars and back and more... Click here for the page for this episode 
14/10/1659m 17s

389. US Presidential Election 2016 - Trump vs Clinton (with Sarah & Sebastian) Part 2

Here is part two of my conversation with Sarah and Sebastian from the USA about the upcoming presidential election. In this episode we turn our attention to Hillary Clinton. Click here for the page for this episode 
11/10/1646m 46s

388. US Presidential Election 2016 - Trump vs Clinton (with Sarah & Sebastian) Part 1

The presidential election in the USA is about a month away and I've been meaning  to talk about this subject on the podcast for ages. So in this episode you're going to hear me in conversation with a couple of American friends of mine who you might already know from their previous appearances on this podcast - Sarah Donnelly and Sebastian Marx. We sat down in my flat today to talk about the elections, Hillary Clinton, DonaldTrump, their thoughts, feelings, opinions and predictions on the whole thing. Click here for the page for this episode 
11/10/1644m 20s

387. LEP Anecdote Competition Entries - Please Listen & Vote

Voting is now open in the first round of the LEP Anecdote Competition. You can listen to all the anecdotes on the page for this episode and vote for your favourites using a simple poll. I'll give you the full details and instructions in this episode. I'm also going to talk about the results of the podcast survey I did recently and a couple of other things, including the top countries for LEP this week. Click here for this episode's page 
07/10/1647m 44s

386. Breaking the Intermediate Plateau (Part 2)

Here's part 2 of this episode about ways you can push your English to higher levels even if you feel that your progress is stuck or moving very slowly. Click here for the page for this episode 
05/10/1642m 2s

385. Breaking the Intermediate Plateau (Part 1)

This episode is about ways you can push your English to higher levels even if you feel that your progress is stuck or moving very slowly. I'm talking about a very common phenomenon in English learning called the intermediate plateau. This is where you seem to stop making progress and can't reach and advanced level. Click here for the page for this episode 
05/10/1653m 54s

384. Teaching Grammar & Social English

In this episode I'm talking about recent things I’ve been teaching in my classes including some grammar and some social English. There's an absolultely massive amount of grammar crammed into this epsiode and quite a lot of silly improvisation too! 
30/09/161h 8m

383. More Ian Moore

In this episode you are going to hear part 2 of my conversation with Ian Moore and I've decided to call this one "More Ian Moore" - do you see what I've done there? "more Ian Moore" I bet nobody has ever made that joke about his name before, right? Before we listen to Ian Moore, I just want to mention a few things... Click here for the page for this episode: 
27/09/161h 17m

Please take my survey / Anecdote Competition / 'Russian Joke' Video

This is just a 'quick' message from me to you about a podcast survey on the website, a reminder of the anecdote competition, a new video I've made about the Russian joke and some more rambling about things like The Beatles and conspiracy theories. The next 'proper' episode will be uploaded in a few days. Click here for the page for this episode to take the survey: 
23/09/1628m 2s

382. Mod Culture with Ian Moore

Today on the podcast I'm talking to Ian Moore, who is a professional stand up comedian, published author and mod from London. Ian is probably the best dressed man ever to appear on this podcast. He is also a professional talker with many things to say. In this part we talk mainly about mod culture. italki offer: 
21/09/1659m 11s

381. Discussing Cultural Differences (with Amber & Paul)

In this episode I'm talking to my friends Amber and Paul about cultural differences, particularly in the ways we communicate with each other in different countries. Details:  italki offer: 
16/09/161h 3m

380. Catching Up with Amber and Paul #3

In this episode the PODPALS Amber and Paul are back and we're going to have the normal catching up session in which they talk about what they have been up to recently. As usual we sit on the terrace and get interrupted by insects, the sun, neighbours on their balconies around us (including a naked man eating his lunch) and the inevitable references to a certain Russian joke that always comes up in our conversations. Episode page: italki offer: 
12/09/161h 11m

379. The LEP Anecdote Competition

Details of a new LEP competition / Competition rules / Advice & Tips / Inspiration / Some Funny Anecdotes Transcript & videos here: italki offer: 
07/09/1654m 3s

378. Holiday in Thailand (Part 2)

Here is part 2 of this description of my recent holiday in Thailand. In this one you can hear more stories and descriptions about different parts of the country, learning how to cook, a conversation with a monk, doing yoga every day, a couple of messages from listeners and some reflections on gratitude, forgiveness and guidance. Transcript and notes here italki offer 
05/09/161h 26m

377. Holiday in Thailand (Part 1)

This episode contains stories and descriptions of my recent holiday in Thailand. You'll hear some facts about Thailand, some descriptions of Bangkok and a few stories about funny experiences that happened while we were there. Part 2 is coming soon. More details and transcriptions below. Enjoy!  italki offer 
03/09/161h 17m

I'm going on holiday - no podcasts for a while

This is not a full episode of the podcast - I'm just letting you know that I'm going away for a few weeks so there will be no podcasts for a little while. We're getting away from it all for a few weeks. I probably won't be online much, perhaps not at all. A couple of places we're going to don't have any internet at all. It's going to be a bit of a digital detox. So, I won't be uploading episodes for a while, and I won't be responding to comments and stuff, but I look forward to reading your comments when I get back. More details here 
12/08/1623m 50s

376. A Game of Mini Golf and a Pint (with James)

In this episode my brother James and I go for a game of mini golf in the local park, and then head to the pub for a pint of beer. While doing that we have a discussion about English history, life in the countryside vs life in the city, the London riots of 2011 and how James feels about being a guest on my podcast. I've uploaded a lot of new episodes recently but that's going to stop soon when I go away on holiday for a few weeks. Click here for more details and a transcript of some sections of the episode  Audible offer 
12/08/1653m 45s

375. The LEP Pub Quiz (with Alex Love)

In this conversation Alex is in Edinburgh in Scotland and I'm in Warwick in England. In the previous episode we talked about pub quizzes and how they're a common part of pub culture in the UK, so I thought we would play a kind of pub quiz with each other. The only problem is that neither of us are in a pub, but that doesn't matter - this is a podcast and you can use your imagination. Details here Audible offer 
12/08/1651m 1s

374. Alex's Edinburgh Fringe Report

In this episode I talk to Alex Love in Edinburgh about his show, some details about the culture of pub quizzes in the UK and we go off on several quite instructive tangents about stag and hen parties, male strippers, The Smurfs and the anatomy of giant squid, which are large sea creatures with tentacles. That sounds quite random but it's not really. It's actually perfectly logical and it will all become clear as you listen to the conversation, and I think there's quite a lot to learn about British culture in this episode as you'll see. I've also highlighted a lot of vocabulary for you to watch out for. Click here for the details Audible offer 
12/08/1647m 20s

373. Who Wants to Be Good at English?

This episode is a game show hosted by my Dad, with me as the contestant. The aim of the game is to see how many words I know. My Dad designed this quiz for his students of journalism at the university where he works sometimes. The quiz is specifically designed to highlight what he considers to be common misuses and misunderstandings of words. His opinion is that journalists writing and presenting on television should use words in exactly the right way, even if many people use those words to mean different things in general everyday use. italki offer: 
10/08/1649m 51s

372. The Importance of Anecdotes in English / Narrative Tenses / 4 Family Anecdotes

This episode of the podcast is all about telling anecdotes in English. Anecdotes are little stories about our experiences that we share while socialising. It's important to have a few anecdotes of your own and to know how to tell them properly. In this episode I'm going to give you some advice for how to tell an anecdote and then you're going to listen to some true anecdotes told by members of my family that I recorded yesterday evening during dinner.  italki offer 
09/08/161h 10m

371. In Conversation with Rob Ager from Liverpool (PART 2: Film Analysis / Hidden Meanings / Stanley Kubrick / Conspiracy Theory)

This is part 2 of my conversation with Rob Ager from Liverpool, who makes documentaries about films and publishes them himself on his website Collative Learning. If you haven't heard part 1 yet, you should check that out before listening to part 2. In this conversation we talk about Rob's approach to film analysis, hidden meanings in films, the work of Stanley Kubrick and the conspiracy theory about the moon landing. More details here italki offer  
07/08/1646m 29s

370. In Conversation with Rob Ager from Liverpool (PART 1: Life in Liverpool / Interest in Film Analysis)

Today on the podcast I'm talking to Rob Ager from Liverpool, who is probably best known for his film analysis videos on YouTube in which he discusses classic Hollywood thrillers, sci-fi and action movies in quite astonishing levels of detail, often focusing on deep psychological and political themes and hidden messages that most viewers probably wouldn't even notice. His videos are carefully constructed documentaries, made for educational purposes and all of them feature a voice-over commentary by Rob in which he analyses the film and gives his observations. italki offer: Http:// 
07/08/1643m 45s

369. Pokémon GO - It's just a game, OR IS IT?

Today I'm talking about Pokemon Go. It's a global phenomenon and there are lots of things to say about it. It's not just a stupid game, there's a lot more to it than that. So, in this episode I'm going to describe Pokemon the game, then talk about Pokemon GO, including what it is, how it works, what people are saying about it, why it's so significant, what some of the good points and bad points are, and what this might mean for the future. Notes & transcript here: italki offer: 
03/08/161h 17m

368. The LEP Annual General Meeting 2016 / QUESTIONS

Welcome to the LEP Annual Meeting 2016, which actually doesn't take place on an annual basis. In this meeting I'm going to deal with various points of admin (including a language point about words like 'annual', 'biannual', 'biennial' etc, Pokemon Go, Transcript Collaboration, LEP Meet-Ups, Comedy shows, music, torrent sites and a comment from a vampire) and I'm going to ask you various questions during the episode. Please give your answers to the questions (any of them) on the page for the episode here:  italki offer: 
02/08/161h 19m

367. Talking about Nothing with Alex Love (Invaded by Robot Aliens) PART 2

Hello and welcome to part 2 of this conversation with my friend Alex Love. If you haven't already heard part 1, I suggest you go back and listen to that. I've divided this episode into two parts just because I thought it was a bit long and that it would be easier for you to deal with two slightly shorter episodes than one epically long one. Click here for the episode page  italki offer: 
31/07/1642m 56s

366. Talking about Nothing with Alex Love (Invaded by Robot Aliens) PART 1

On the podcast today I am in conversation with Alex Love, who you might remember from some previous episodes of this podcast. Alex Love regularly performs stand-up comedy gigs in London and in Manchester where he now lives. At this moment he's preparing for the Edinburgh Festival where he will be performing a one-hour show which he has written himself, called "How to Win a Pub Quiz". The show is a mix of stand-up comedy and pub quiz trivia and it has had some good reviews at previous festivals. If you're in Edinburgh this August you can see Alex's show at a venue called The Stand in rooms 5 & 6 (venue 319) at 12 o'clock midday from 4 to 14 August. Click here to visit the page for this episode  italki offer: 
31/07/1652m 36s

Quick Hello / Notting Hill Carnival Audio

Hi everyone, in this episode I'm just letting you know that I'm very busy at the moment, which is why I haven't uploaded an episode for a while. Normal podcasting will resume soon. In the meantime, you can listen to the audio track from a video I did in 2009 at the Notting Hill Carnival. There are 40 phrasal verbs in the video. Can you find them? You can see the video below, with a full transcript and all the phrasal verbs in a list + definitions. You're welcome! Click here for the page for this episode 
27/07/1637m 5s

365. BREXIT: 3 Weeks Later (A conversation with my Dad)

In this episode I finish the series I've been doing about Brexit in the same way that I started it, by having a conversation with my Dad. First I'll highlight some vocabulary and phrases, then you can hear my Dad giving his comments about what has happened since the UK voted to leave the EU three weeks ago. 
17/07/161h 5m

364. TEN TOP TIPS for Learning English

LEP is back after a two-week absence. This episode is about top tips for learning English. Here are some ideas about learning English that have occurred to me in the last couple of weeks of teaching intensive general English classes at school. Click here for the page for this episode 
15/07/1655m 52s

363. Muhammad Ali & The Rumble in the Jungle

This is a special episode about Muhammad Ali and the story of one of his most famous fights, "The Rumble in the Jungle". In the episode you'll hear me give a biography of Ali and then I go into lots of descriptive detail about the fight, exploring exactly what happened in and out of the ring and why he is now considered not only one of the greatest boxers but one of the most outstanding people of recent times. The episode is almost 100% transcribed. See below for details 
03/07/161h 37m

362. Getting things off my chest! (Part 2) Brexit / Football

Hello, welcome back to the podcast. This is part 2 of a fairly long rant I recorded today about the Brexit situation and England's awful performance in the football yesterday. There might be some strong language and swearing. There will also be lots of fairly strong political points of view from me. Please listen to the whole thing and try to avoid knee jerk reactions. If you disagree with me please feel free to leave a comment because I am open to other points of view - but I encourage you to fully flesh out your opinion, don't just give your knee-jerk reaction without backing it up with some evidence or justification. Click here for a transcript 
28/06/161h 7m

361. Getting things off my chest! (Part 1) Brexit / Football

Here's another episode about what's going on in the UK at the moment - in politics and in football. I know I am talking about this subject a lot at the moment, but I just can't help it - it's too big. Too many things are happening! So there will be more Brexit & football in this episode and then it'll be back to podcasting as usual. Oh and by the way there will be some swearing in this episode because I'll be sharing some comments from some angry people online and generally there has been quite a lot of swearing and kicking of furniture all across the country since Friday - especially yesterday while watching England get knocked out of the Euros. Swearing is rarely appropriate - remember that. Only at the right time in the right place. E.g. when watching England play football, or while thinking for two seconds or more about the EU referendum. Also, another preface here - you'll notice that I'm pretty unhappy about things at the moment, but don't worry I'll bounce back, and Luke's English Podcast will continue with the usual sort of episodes soon. I just have to get some things off my chest about what's been going on. Click here for a transcript: 
28/06/161h 9m

360. THE DAY AFTER BREXIT (Thoughts and feelings)

The UK has voted to leave the EU. Here are my thoughts and feelings. 
24/06/1659m 5s


It's referendum night and I've decided to share my stand-up comedy material about the EU referendum in this episode of the podcast, because after today I might not be able to use these jokes ever again! This works much better in front of a live audience of course - so you'll have to imagine that! Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening to some of my 'jokes' and humorous comments about this big moment in UK history. By the way, when I recorded this I didn't know the result of the referendum. Click here for more information 
23/06/1648m 38s

358. World Music Festival in Paris

Join my wife and *me as we walk around the streets of Paris during the annual World Music Festival. You'll hear live music, descriptions of the scene, a couple of conversations with people we met, and the sounds of this amazing evening in the city of light. It's another long episode, but I hope you listen to all of it because I just really want to share the atmosphere and moments of this special event. Check here for photos 
22/06/161h 39m

357. Learning Languages with Olly Richards

In this episode I'm talking to Olly Richards the polyglot from England. Our conversation covers points about what accent you should learn to speak with, the importance of developing clear pronunciation and effective communication in English, using Periscope to listen to native English speakers and the physical side of learning a language. See below for a transcript to the introduction, more information and links to Olly's work. 
19/06/161h 2m

356. News / Football / Brexit / Events in the UK / Jo Cox

Hello welcome to this LEP meeting. I've called this meeting in order to deal with some stuff that's going on at the moment. On the agenda for today we have some news, some football updates including the England vs Wales game from yesterday, some more Brexit chat and then at the I'll talk a bit about the incident that happened yesterday involving a British MP called Jo Cox, which is a pretty tragic story. That's still developing and we don't know the full facts yet. It just happened yesterday and by the time you listen to this it might have developed further. Click here for the page for this episode 
17/06/161h 14m

355. EURO 2016 Football: Hooliganism & Violence in Marseille / England vs Russia

In this episode I talk about the EUROs including how it feels having the championship here in France, the violence in Marseille that occurred between English fans, Russian fans, local French fans and the French police this weekend, and the England vs Russia game that happened on Saturday. I welcome your comment on this subject so please share your thoughts under the page for this episode. A transcript is available for 95% of this episode. Click here to visit the page for this episode  Image:
13/06/161h 10m

354. Would You Rather...? (with Amber, Paul & James Simpson)

aka "The Accordion Legs Episode" Listen to Amber, Paul, James Simpson and me as we play a light-hearted speaking game called "Would you rather...?" and hear about having accordions for legs, being stuck in a lift with a pair of wet dogs and living on a desert island with a mermaid (or merman). You'll also hear the results of the interactive lying game from episode 343. There are notes and some transcriptions below. Share your comments on the page for this episode. How would you answer these 'would you rather' questions? Notes and transcriptions here 
09/06/161h 32m

353. Award Ceremony / Paris Weather / Crazy Idea

This episode started with no title and no particular aim, but I ended up chatting about walking the red carpet at the ELTon awards, the rain and floods in Paris, getting struck by lightning, the revolution of fibre optic internet at home and a crazy idea about doing live podcast recordings around the world. Listen up! More details here  Buy English lessons on italki and get a 100ITC discount here 
07/06/1647m 46s

352. BREXIT: Key Vocabulary and Concepts

This is a vocabulary episode about the language of BREXIT. Click this link for all the vocabulary 
07/06/161h 39m

351. BREXIT: Should the UK leave the EU? (A conversation with my Dad)

Hello everyone, I hope you're well. Here is an episode featuring a conversation with my Dad about Brexit - The UK's referendum on the EU. Finally! I've been mentioning this for a while so here it is. You've seen it in the news, you've read it in the papers - the UK is having a referendum on membership of the European Union and who knows, we might end up leaving. It's all over the news and the internet in the UK at the moment, everyone's talking about it - you can't escape it and it's going to get more and more intense the closer we get to 23 June, the date of the referendum. I've had plenty of messages from listeners asking me to talk about this on the podcast, so here we go. Click here for the LEP Brexit poll and more  #brexit #eureferendum #english #language #learning
29/05/161h 19m

350. Film Club: X-Men Apocalypse (Review) SPOILER ALERT

This is the final episode in this superhero series and simply put, I'm going to make fun of the latest X-Men movie. Now, you might not be into the superhero stuff and I totally understand, but let me give you a heads up about this episode. Basically, I didn't like the film and so I'm more interested in poking fun at it than talking about it seriously. So, that might make it more fun to listen to than the other superhero ones I've done lately. You can just kick back and enjoy me taking the mickey out of this film. 
25/05/161h 4m

349. Who's the best superhero? (with Paul Langton)

More movie-relating talking in this episode as I speak to my friend Paul Langton. Expect plenty of very descriptive vocabulary about different characters, backstories, abilities and weaknesses. Click here for notes and transcripts 
24/05/161h 15m

Can I have a quick word with you? (It'll only take about 15 minutes)

Hi listeners - this is just a 15 minute episode. I just want to have a quick word with you. The thing is, I'm worried about a few things and I wanted to talk to you about them. Have a listen to this episode or read the notes below. Let me know what you think about what I'm saying in the comment section. Thanks! Luke :) 
23/05/1615m 51s

348. Film Club: Marvel / Captain America Civil War (Part 2)

Here is part 2 of this episode about superhero films and the Marvel cinematic universe. Before you listen to this I suggest that you listen to part 1. Where was I at the end of the last episode? I was giving you my history of superhero movies over the last 30-40 years, and the plan is to go into more detail about the recent Marvel films and then review the new Captain America movie. *No spoilers * So, let's continue. Click here for transcript/notes 
19/05/1657m 12s

347. Film Club: Marvel / Captain America Civil War (Part 1)

In this episode I'm talking about superheroes, Marvel movies and the latest Captain America film. By the way, I will do my best to avoid spoilers. I am only going to mention information which is basically common knowledge. I don't think listening to this will really spoil your enjoyment of any of the films in the marvel universe. So, you shouldn't worry about spoilers. Click here for transcript / notes 
19/05/1655m 31s

346. Rambling on a Friday Afternoon

Phrasal Verbs & Idioms / More NY Stories / Politics / Leicester City / Google Adverts Welcome back to another podcast episode. It's nice to be back in your headphones or speakers. In the last episode of this podcast I talked to you about some recent bits and pieces such as the ELTon award nomination, my recent trip to New York and some other stuff. I also gave you a language task to keep you on your toes. I'm going to continue along the same lines in this episode and I have a list of things here to talk about and we're going to continue with the language spotting exercise. 
13/05/161h 17m

345. ELTon Award Nomination / Phrasal Verbs & Idioms / Brooklyn / The Revenant / Museum of Natural History & More

Breaking News! LEP Nominated for a British Council ELTon Award for Digital Innovation. In this episode you'll hear me talking about what's been going on since I recorded the last episode, including: LEP's nomination in the British Council ELTon awards, Leonardo DiCaprio fighting a bear in The Revenant, my adventure to the American Museum of Natural History and more. Also - for all the vocab hunters out there - watch out for some phrasal verbs and idioms. 
11/05/161h 23m

344. A Totally Terrific Talk on the Terrace with The Tangential Trio (feat. Tom Morton)

What? Another new episode? Slow down Luke! We can't keep up! OK I will slow down, I promise. I am going on holiday tomorrow and I will be quiet for a couple of weeks so I just wanted to upload another podcast before I go. While I'm away you'll have a chance to catch up with all these new episodes. This is #344 and it's another rambling conversation with podcast PALS Amber & Paul, but this time we're joined by a fourth member of the team. Could this be The Fantastic Four that LEPster Olga mentioned in a recent comment? Only you can decide... Topics of conversation in this totally tangential talk on the terrace include: jingles, voice overs, the Queen's birthday, the monarchy, Princess Diana and more... Click here for the page for this episode  Groovy background music c/o Photos (clockwise - left to right) Princess Diana, a ladybird, Fantastic Four logo, The Queen, Tim Curry, Dave Grohl, LEP logo)
22/04/161h 23m

343. The Interactive Lying Game (with Amber & Paul) / Descriptive Adjectives with T / Three is a Magic Number

In this episode I'm joined by podcast pals Amber & Paul and we're playing the Lying Game again, but this is a special version because this is The Interactive Lying Game. I know - it's exciting. Try to control yourself. Find details, adjectives, nicknames, polls and links to song lyrics on the page for this episode here 
20/04/161h 32m

342. Paul's "La Bise" Video Success / Audition Story (with Amber & Paul)

In this episode I'm joined by podcast pals Amber & Paul and we talk about Paul's hit youtube video about French kissing habits, his newfound success as a stand-up (he's the hottest kid in town), some online abuse he's had and then an anecdote about an audition that we attended recently, which involved a surprising misunderstanding about accents. There's also a brief language focus on using relative clauses with 'which' to extend your sentences when speaking. Enjoy! Click here for the page for this episode and to watch Paul's video  Image: c/o Robert Hoehn / French Fried TV
18/04/161h 7m

341. Catching Up With Amber & Paul, Again

Amber & Paul are back on the podcast after a 4 month absence. What have they been doing? Let's catch up with them again, and respond to some comments from listeners. This episode was recorded in the open air, up on the terrace of my flat in the April sunshine. Click here to find the page for this episode 
15/04/161h 0m

340. LEP Photo Competition Results & Winners / It's LEP's 7th Birthday

Results & winners of the LEP photo competition announced, and - it's the 7th birthday of Luke's English Podcast! This episode is long but you don't have to listen to it in one go. You can listen, pause, do something else, listen later and so on. Click here for the page for this episode to see photos and vote in a poll about names: 
07/04/161h 43m

339. A Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 2 of 2)

Here is the concluding part of this detective story, which is based on a text adventure by Peter Carlson on In the first part you heard me playing an adventure game in which I have to analyse clues and choose the right options to continue a story and solve a murder. Before listening to this episode you should listen to part 1 of the story. Click here here to listen to part 1: In this episode (part 2) you'll hear the rest of the story, and if you don't understand what's going on - don't worry, I'll explain it at the end and you can read a summary of the story below. Enjoy! Visit the page for this episode here 
03/04/161h 6m

338. A Murder Mystery Detective Story (Part 1 of 2)

In this episode I'm going to read through an interactive text-based adventure story. The story takes place in Victorian-era London (19th century) and we'll play the part of an expert detective who, like Sherlock Holmes, tries to solve a complex murder mystery. Follow me as I read through the story and attempt to solve the crime in the process. Can you understand the evidence and make the right decisions to solve the case? You can read the text-based adventure story and play the game yourself at For all the relevant details, click here 
31/03/161h 13m

337. MURDER MILE WALKS: Stories of London's Most Infamous & Shocking Murders [Some Explicit Content + Swearing]

In this episode I'm talking to Moz on his canal boat in London. We talk first about issues relating to swearing on television, and then Moz tells us some true stories about murder on the streets of London. Moz has recently launched several walking tours of Soho in central London and over the last year or two he has been researching local court records in order to tell these true stories in full detail. CAUTION: this episode contains some explicit content including descriptions of violence and horror. There is also some strong language and swearing at the end of the episode. Click here for the page for this episode 
23/03/161h 36m

336. Drinking Scottish Whisky at a German Business Meeting While Wearing a Kilt and Playing a Flute... and other stories (with Carrick Cameron)

This episode features another natural conversation with a native English speaker. This time I'm talking to my mate Carrick, who I've known for about 10 years now. He is a teacher who used to work in the same school as me, back in London. We have a few things in common, like the fact that we've both had a few strange travelling experiences as English teachers, including the time when he once attended a meeting in Germany that involved not only the usual business work but also the drinking of some very rare and expensive scotch whiskies, which meant that the meeting turned into a kind of musical party with guitar and flute playing, quite a lot of whisky drinking, a late night and then, unsurprisingly, a bit of a hangover the next day. Listen to hear a few anecdotes, some authentic English conversation and more. 
16/03/161h 28m

335. VOCABULARY REVIEW: Phrases & Expressions from Episode 334

This episode is a chance to review and explain some of the vocabulary that you heard in my interview with Craig Wealand. Download the episode and read the list of words in this episode here 
13/03/1659m 20s

334. Interview with Craig Wealand (from InglesPodcast)

This episode features an interview with English teacher and podcaster Craig Wealand from Craig is originally from Essex in England, but now lives in Valencia in Spain where he works as an English teacher and Cambridge examiner for the British Council. Craig has been an English teacher for over 20 years, and for the last few years he has also been producing episodes of his learning English podcast, which won the award for Best Educational Podcast in the UK Podcaster awards last year. In the episode we find out about Craig, talk about his career, his teaching experiences, his podcasting and also I ask him some random "quick fire" questions, just like he does with guests on his podcast. The page for this episode: 
09/03/161h 27m

333. More Misheard Lyrics ♬

OK, the last misheard lyrics episode was pretty popular and I've had several shouts of "more!" from the LEP community, so here we go again! What's this all about? Well, first of all it's a sequel to a previous episode of LEP. That's #281 "Misheard Lyrics" so you could listen to that before you listen to this. Basically, this episode is all about those moments when you mishear song lyrics. Let's have some fun listening to some songs, while trying to understand the lyrics! Click here for song titles and show notes 
01/03/161h 32m

332. Olly Richards: English Polyglot - Top Advice and Strategies for Language Learning

This episode could make a huge difference to your English learning. So listen up and get ready for a motivational boost! Joining me on the podcast today is Olly Richards - a polyglot who speaks 8 languages. Olly has some very motivating and practical advice on how to learn languages as an adult. There's so much to learn from Olly in this episode, so I really want you to pay attention and have a proper think about the ways in which you are learning English. (I really sound like a teacher, don't I? - or your Dad or something - "Now pay attention! Sit up straight! Put that down! Stop fidgeting. Listen to the man! This is very important for your English in the future!) Click here for all the info 
26/02/161h 28m

331. How's your English? (and why speaking is so important)

Hi listeners, I've got a big big slice of podcast pie for you in this episode because I'm going to talk to you about some important considerations for language learning, some ways that you can push your English to new levels with LEP, and I'm going to talk about italki, which is a really great service that you can use to arrange conversations with native English speakers online from the comfort of your own home, and why as a listener to this podcast, you should check it out. There is also a transcript for this episode already available at so check that out too. 
22/02/161h 23m

330. Let's Play... Grand Theft Auto 5 (and learn some English while doing it)

Hi listeners - this is a multitasking episode in which I record a podcast while doing something else at the same time. In this case I'm playing the classic computer game "Grand Theft Auto 5". Listen to hear some general discussion of the game, descriptions of what's happening while playing and some other bits and pieces. Transcript for the introduction available here: 
17/02/161h 42m

329. A Rambling Chat with James (News, Stories & Jokes)

My brother has been visiting me in Paris this week and so just the other day I made him a cup of tea and got him on the podcast for a rambling chat. In this episode you'll hear us discussing these things: What we've been up to in Paris this week Jim's first stand up comedy performance Last Thursday's performance of "Sorry, we're English" with Paul Taylor Differences between Paris and London Some UK politics about the EU referendum Some USA politics about the presidential elections and candidates like Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Other news stories about drones, eagles, mosquitos and why women yawn more than men Jim's 'talking dog' joke Jim's dog anecdote That's it! There will be more language-oriented episodes of the podcast coming soon. Thanks for listening! Click here for the show notes 
14/02/161h 18m

328. Cooking with Luke - Verbs and Expressions in the Kitchen

I've been quite busy marking exams recently and haven't had a chance to upload any episodes for a few weeks, but today I managed to record this episode while preparing dinner. So in this one you'll hear me in the kitchen, multitasking - cooking a chicken dinner (recipe below) while describing everything that I'm doing. In this episode you'll learn some verbs for preparing food, words to describe different kitchen utensils and other language related to food and eating. Also, I ramble on about a few other things, as usual! Expect more podcasts to arrive in the near-ish future when I have a bit more time. Thanks for listening! Episode page 
03/02/1652m 38s

327. The LEP Photo Competition - Please check out the photos and vote

Hello listeners - this episode is all about the Luke's English Podcast photo competition which I launched in December in episode 313. I've received loads of photos from listeners and they're now presented on the page for this episode on my website, and they look fantastic, so please do have a look at them! In this episode I'm going to tell you how you can vote in the competition, and I'm also going to teach you some specific vocabulary and expressions for describing photographs, which is particularly useful if you're taking a Cambridge exam like FCE or CAE. That's what's going to to happen in this episode, so let's go! 
20/01/1637m 13s

326. Catching up with Oli (Part 2)

Here's the second part of the recent chat I had with my cousin Oliver. In this one we talk about becoming a Dad and predictions for the future. What will society be like in the next 10-20 years? What changes will we see in communication, technology, travel and other areas? What kind of world will Oliver's daughter grow up in? These are all questions we discuss in the episode. Watch out for language related to the future, technology, communication and childcare. Also, listen until the end to hear Oli play a nice tune on the guitar. Click here to go to the page for this episode on 
20/01/1659m 35s

325. Catching Up with Oli (Part 1)

Here's a 2-part episode featuring a conversation with my cousin Oliver in which we talk about first some challenges he faced over the last few years (including dramatic things like a scooter crash, a tropical disease, a burglary and how he completely flooded his own house) and then some more positive things about being a father and predictions for how society will be different in the future. Also, listen for some general news and announcements about Luke's English Podcast. 
18/01/1644m 55s

324. David Bowie (Part 2)

Hello, welcome to Luke's English Podcast, which is a  podcast for learners of English around the world. You are now listening to part 2 of a special episode about English musician David Bowie who died just a few days ago on 10 January 2016. The aim of this episode is to talk about David Bowie's significance as an artist, to consider some of the themes of his work and to look at why so many people had such a strong emotional attachment to him. Hopefully after listening to this episode you'll be better able to have conversations about David Bowie, but also about art and culture in general. You can find almost everything I'm saying transcribed on the page for this episode. Click here to read it and to access other content 
14/01/1657m 34s

323. David Bowie (Part 1)

This episode is all about the life and work of David Bowie, the English musician who died just a couple of days ago. In the episode you'll hear me talk about the cultural significance of Bowie as an artist, why he is such a legend of British music, and what his music means to me personally. I hope you can use this episode as a way to learn more about British culture. Almost 100% of the episode is transcribed on the page for this episode - click here to read it 
14/01/1659m 52s

322. With The Thompsons

Hello again, how are you? Welcome back to the podcast. Here's a new episode for your listening pleasure. This one is a rambling conversation with my parents and my brother about everything and nothing. Click here for notes and ting 
07/01/161h 30m

321. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens - SPOILER REVIEW

Welcome back to Luke's English Podcast. Happy New Year. This is an episode of Luke's Film Club, and this time I'm joined by my brother James as we talk about the new Star Wars film in full detail including our thoughts, theories, favourite bits and memorable characters. This episode is full of SPOILERS, so be warned if you haven't already seen the film. Click here for more information 
04/01/161h 33m

320. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

In this episode I'm going to read you a classic Christmas story - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. You can read the story as well as listen because the whole thing is included on the page for this episode. Click here for a transcript 
23/12/1551m 58s

319. Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens - Reaction (No spoilers)

I saw Star Wars today VII and here's my response. No spoilers. :)   
16/12/1529m 23s

318. The Lying Game 2: The Rematch (Part 2) with Amber & Paul

Welcome back to The Lying Game 2: The Rematch (Part 2). In this episode you can hear Amber, Paul and me continue our competitive game. Who's going to win this time? Will it be Paul, finally? Listen to find out what happens, and for details of the next version of the lying game which will be interactive. Click here for notes and more: 
16/12/1549m 59s

317. The Lying Game 2: The Rematch (Part 1) with Amber & Paul

This episode is called "The Rematch". It's one of those episodes that involves a competitive game between Amber, Paul and me. In the last one of these, called The Lying Game, this happened: The scores were level between me and Paul. Even stevens. We then played a tie-breaker. I told a story about the tooth fairy. Paul talked about burning down his house. I identified it as true. Since then, it has come to light that I may have cheated. I swear that I didn't, but some clever listeners noted that a story Paul told in The Lying Game was one he'd already told on the podcast before. So, I admit that a rematch is necessary, and here it is. This is The Lying Game 2: The Rematch. Click here for the page for this episode 
11/12/151h 7m

316. British Comedy: Tim Vine (Part 2)

Listen to Luke explain the rest of Tim Vine's stand up routine from the video "One Night Stand". Learn some natural phrases and bridge the linguistic and cultural gap between you and native speakers of English. Click here for notes and to see the video: 
07/12/151h 19m

315. Do me a favour - Take my Business English Survey!

Hello listeners, this episode of the podcast is entitled: Do me a favour - Take my business English survey! It's called that because I'd like to invite you to take a very quick survey on my website. You can find the survey at Please do take the survey. It'll just take you a couple of minutes, but it will be extremely helpful for me because I'm planning new ways to help you. So, do me a favour and take the survey! Listen to this whole episode to find out all the details. There's a transcript available too. Click here for the transcript & survey 
03/12/1519m 0s

314. Luke's Guided Sleep Meditation

Fancy brushing up your grammar while getting a really good night's sleep? Yes? Well, this episode is for you. It's a guided sleep meditation to make you feel all drowsy and relaxed with added hypnopedia - that's hypnosis and sleep learning both at the same time. So, kick off your shoes, turn down the lights, lie back, relax and drift off into an ambient dream state, while learning some English in the process. Don't listen to this while driving. Transcript here  zzzzzzzzzZZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzzz
01/12/1548m 27s

313. British Comedy: Tim Vine

In this episode we're going to listen to some stand-up comedy by a popular British comedian called Tim Vine, which should be pretty challenging because he tells lots of puns and fast jokes. Send me your photos: But before that, I just want to tell you about a new competition that I'm launching today for listeners to this podcast. This is the Luke's English Podcast photo competition. For all the details, to download this episode and to watch a video of Tim Vine, click here 
27/11/151h 9m

312. The Words of the Year (Part 3) with Amber & Paul

Here's the third part in this series about the Collins Dictionary Words of the Year 2015. Listen to the episode to hear Amber, Paul and me discuss the rest of the words in the list. I'll also explain and clarify some vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation from our discussion. There are vocabulary notes and more information here 
25/11/151h 33m

311. The Words of the Year (Part 2) with Amber & Paul *contains some rude language

Welcome to part 2 of this series about the Collins Dictionary Words of the year 2015. In this episode you'll hear me discuss these new words with Amber and Paul. I'll also explain and clarify a lot of the things you'll hear in our conversation. ***This episode contains some rude language and explicit content.*** Click here to read vocabulary notes and more 
18/11/151h 17m

310. The Words of the Year (Part 1) with Amber & Paul

In this series of three new episodes Amber, Paul and I talk about a list of the 10 Words of the Year which have been added to the Collins English Dictionary. We're going to explain the words and discuss the issues behind them and I'll also explain and clarify a lot of the language you're going to hear in our conversation. For a transcript of the introduction and vocabulary notes click here 
18/11/1552m 25s

Attacks in Paris - Paul Taylor's Eyewitness Account

Hi listeners, this episode of LEP is all about the terrorist attacks which happened here last Friday evening. I'm joined by Paul Taylor and we're just going to try to talk about what we saw, what happened and what's going on. Click here for a transcript of some parts of this episode  #eyewitness #parisattacks #report
16/11/151h 20m

309. The Lying Game (Part 2)

Welcome back to the second part of this double episode. In part 1 you heard me playing a speaking game with Paul & Amber. Go back to part 1 for the details of the game, including the rules. Part 1 ended on a cliffhanger, with the scores even at 2-2-2. Even stevens! Listen to this episode to find out more. TEACHERS: At the end there's a 15 minute section in which I explain exactly how to use this game in your English classes. You can download a simple .pdf worksheet (below) which you can use in your classes (just tell your students about LEP, or send me a little donation). Listen until the end of the episode to get my full instructions on how to use this awesome game to teach your students grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and speaking skills in a really awesome way. Click here for more information and to download a .pdf of classroom material for teachers 
11/11/151h 4m

308. The Lying Game (Part 1)

Hello, welcome back to LEP. This episode is called the lying game, and it's one of those ones in which I play a speaking game with my friends Amber and Paul. Click here for the page for this episode A transcript for the first 15-20 minutes is available, just click the link given above. In the introduction you'll hear me welcome new listeners, talk a bit about my speaking speed on the podcast, mention the importance of listening to native speakers of English (even if it's a bit difficult to understand every word) and explain some of the content of the conversation you'll hear between Amber, Paul and me. Then, the speaking game begins properly. I really hope you have as much fun listening to this as we did recording it, because we really enjoyed ourselves! In part 2 (coming soon) you'll hear the conclusion of the game and I'll explain how I use this activity with my students in my English classes. 
08/11/151h 9m

307. The Mystery of Corporate Jargon & Management Speak (Part 2) with Paul Taylor

'Peeling back the onion' on management speak and corporate jargon. This episode focuses on defining and explaining the examples of language you heard at the beginning of the last episode. You'll hear Paul and me going through all the phrases and by the end you should be able to understand it all, and you could create your own version of bullsh*t bingo! Click here to read definitions and to print some bulls*t bingo cards 
04/11/1543m 5s

306. The Mystery of Corporate Jargon & Management Speak (Part 1) with Paul Taylor

Why do people in meetings at work keep talking about "thinking outside the box"? Why does my boss say we need to "get all our ducks in a row"? And why does my project manager want to "touch base with me offline"? If it's all a mystery to you, don't worry - LEP is here to decode all this weird language. If you work in an office in an English-speaking country I'm sure you'll have heard of 'corporate jargon' or 'management speak'. This is one of the things that people complain about the most, in offices all around the UK. It seems that managers, bosses, project managers, corporate leaders all speak a strange version of English full of bizarre idioms, over-complicated metaphors and unnecessarily big words. But what is 'management speak', why do people use it, and why do people find it so annoying? In this episode I'm joined by former Apple employee Paul Taylor as we 'peel back the onion' and decode the phenomenon of management speak. Listen to find out all the details and to learn some management speak in the process. Click here for transcripts and notes 
28/10/1546m 4s

305. Back To The Future (Part 2)

In this episode I'm going to talk about: lessons we can learn from the story, a few fun facts, the 2015 predictions, how the DeLorean works, theories about time travel and some temporal paradoxes in the story. So strap in, let's go back to the future again. Click here for a transcript & more information  #backtothefuture #timetravel #2015predictions
22/10/151h 19m

304. Back To The Future (Part 1)

Hello listeners, welcome to Luke's Film Club, this is one of those episodes of Luke's English podcast in which we focus on a classic moment from the movies. This one is an episode about Back to the Future, which is one of my all time favourite films and I'm not alone because it's one of the most popular films of the last few decades, all over the world. It's a really entertaining and fun film, which also contains some sub-texts related to the complexities of time travel as well as a few visions of the future. Also, in the film's sequel, the main characters Marty McFly and Doc Brown end up travelling into the future - and to what date? October 21, 2015. That's today (when recording this). So it seems to be the perfect moment to do an episode of Luke's Film Club, devoted to this modern classic. This is basically international Back to the Future day, and there's only one! So, this has to be the day on which I record this episode. This episode mainly deals with the plot of the 3 Back To The Future films. The next episode will deal with other stuff like future predictions, time travel and technical details of the DeLorean. Click here for a transcript: 
21/10/151h 20m

303. The Battle of Britain

This year marks the 75th anniversary of The Battle of Britain, and since this is such a pivotal moment in British history, I thought it would be appropriate to cover it in some way in an episode of this podcast. Also, I was asked recently by a listener in the comments section of my website to talk about the story of the Battle of Britain, specifically the role of one particular group of Polish pilots known as Squadron #303. So, here it is - the story of one of the most important moments in modern British history - The Battle of Britain, and the contribution made by a small group of pilots from Poland. 
19/10/151h 3m

302. Bad Dentist / Star Wars / Adam Buxton / Headphone Jams / Jarvis Cocker

Hi, this is the second part of a two part episode in which I'm telling you a few things about recent trending news stories, some anecdotes and other things that are in my head at the moment. There's no specific language focus this time. Instead I'm focusing on general cultural information. Last time I talked about David Cameron and the pig, a story of a bad gig, and who the hell is Ronnie Pickering? In this one I'm going to ramble on about a bad trip to the dentist, some rising excitement about the new Star Wars film, Adam Buxton's new podcast, some music that has been bouncing around inside my head, some news about a new jingle which is in the pipeline and how I want to hunt Jarvis Cocker for my podcast but I don't know how to do it! If you don't really understand those things, then listen on! All will be explained! All you have to do is listen. Click here for more information 
14/10/1552m 7s

301. David Cameron & The Pig / Bad Gig Story / Who is Ronnie Pickering?

In this episode I'm going to have a bit of a ramble about some stuff that's in the news at the moment and a few other things that have come into my brain. I'm not going to teach you anything specific in this one, no language anyway - just some bits and pieces about modern day British life. So generally I'm just going to keep you company for a while and talk to you one to one for the duration of the episode. Just you and me, and perhaps a bus load of commuters. Click here for more information 
11/10/1556m 35s

300. [2] EPISODE 300 (PART 2)

Welcome back to this landmark episode of the podcast. In this one we're going to carry on listening to messages from guests I've featured on the podcast over the years, then we'll hear messages from some extra-special celebrity fans, as well as some of imitations of me sent in by lepsters. Click here for more information and to make a donation 
07/10/151h 9m

300. [1] EPISODE 300 (PART 1)

Here it is - Episode 300. This is quite a landmark episode for me. I've been doing the podcast for 6.5 years now, and I've uploaded about 300 hours of content for you to listen to. In this episode I talk about the significance of the number 300 in history, and then we take a trip down memory lane and hear messages from people I've spoken to on this podcast over the years. Click here for more information and to make a donation 
07/10/151h 5m
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