You’re going to hear Jessica and her teacher Adam talking about how she did in her four weeks on The Pretenders. Listen to each week and answer the questions in pairs.

Week 1

1   What did Adam and Sally think of Jessica?

2   According to Adam, what two problems did Jessica have?

3   What three things did Jessica have to do this week?

4   How did she feel at the end of the week?

Week 2

 How did Jessica change her image?

 What did she learn to do this week?

 What did she have to do at 10 Downing Street?

 Was she successful? Why (not)?

Week 3

9   What did Adam think about Jessica?

10   What did she have to do this week?

11   What mistake did she make?

12   What did Adam say that Jessica needed to do?

Week 4

13   What was Jessica’s final test? How did she feel about it?

14   Did the interview go well for Jessica? Why (not)?

15   Did the judges realize that Jessica wasn’t a professional reporter?

16   Would Jessica like to become a reporter? Why (not)?


Week 1

1   They thought she was nice.

2   He thought she was too shy and nice, not aggressive enough. Also she didn’t know anything about politics.

3   Watch political interviews on TV, learn to speak more clearly, and read the political sections of all newspapers.

4   She felt exhausted.

Week 2

 She had her hair cut and got new, smarter clothes.

 She learnt how to interview someone (in front of the camera).

 She had to ask the Prime Minister a question.

 No: the Prime Minister didn’t hear the question.

Week 3

9   He thought Jessica was finally making some progress and was more relaxed.

10   She had to interview a politician from the Conservative party.

11   She said ‘Labour party’ instead of ‘Conservative party’.

12   She had to learn to carry on and not lost her confidence.

Week 4

13   She had to interview the Minster of Education ‘live’. She felt nervous, but well prepared.

14   Yes: she made him answer the question.

15   No. None of the three judges realized that Jessica wasn’t the professional reporter. She passed the test!

16   No because she’s much happier working in the library!


V = Voice-over, J = Jessica, A = Adam, M = Minister

V   Week one.

  When I got to the studio on the first day, I was really nervous. I met my teachers, Adam and Sally, and they were very nice to me but I could see that they thought it was going to be impossible to teach me to be a reporter in just a month.

A   The problem with Jessica at the beginning was that she was too shy and too nice. Political reporters need to be hard – almost aggressive sometimes – and I’ve never met anyone less aggressive than Jessica. And also she knew nothing about politics – she knew who the Prime Minister was but not much else!

  I spent the first week watching lots of political interviews on TV, and Adam and Sally taught me how to speak more clearly and more confidently. In the evenings they made me read the political sections of all the newspapers. It was very boring. At the end of the week I was exhausted.


V   Week two.

  Adam and Sally said I had to change my image for TV, so I had my hair cut and coloured, and I got new, smarter clothes. I must say I liked my new look. I spent the week learning how to interview someone in front of a camera.

A   Then came Jessica’s first big challenge. The Prime Minister was arriving home after a visit to the USA. She had to wait outside number 10 Downing Street with the other journalists and try to ask him a question.

  It was a disaster. I was so nervous I was shaking. There were a lot of other journalists pushing and shouting. They didn’t let me get near the Prime Minister. I tried to ask my question, but he didn’t hear me. I felt really stupid.


V   Week three.

A   Jessica was finally making some progress. She was more relaxed. This week she had to interview a politician from the Conservative party in a studio.

  In the beginning it was fine. But then I made a stupid mistake.

      [Flashback] SFX JESSICA   So could you tell us what the Labour party are going to do about… sorry, I mean the Conservative party…

      I said the ‘Labour party’ instead of the ‘Conservative party’. And after that I was really nervous again.

A   We all make mistakes sometimes. Jessica just has to learn to carry on, and not lose her confidence.


V   Week four.

  I spent the last week preparing for the test. It was going to be a live interview with the Minister of Education. There would be three professional reporters and me, all asking him questions. I’d done lots of research so although I was nervous, I felt well prepared.

  Minister, many people think that the real reason why there aren’t enough teacher is because their salaries are so low. Are you proposing to increase teachers’ salaries?

M   Well, let’s not forget that salaries are much higher today than they were under the previous government.

  Yes, but you haven’t answered my question. Are you going to increase them?

M   Well, we’re planning to spend a lot more money on education in the next two years.

  Is that a yes or a no?

M   There are no immediate plans to increase teachers’ salaries.

  So it’s a no then. Thank you Minister.

  When it was all over came the worst part. I had to wait while the judges decided which of us they thought wasn’t a professional reporter.

A   The judges gave their verdict – and incredibly none of the three realized that Jessica wasn’t a professional! She did very very well.

      Who knows, maybe one day soon you’ll be seeing her on TV… and this time she’ll be a real reporter, not pretending!

  It was a great experience and I was pleased how I did, but actually I wouldn’t like to change jobs. I’m much happier working in the library.

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