La série possède désormais la plus grande audience de BBC Three, après le succès de Little Britain.
Gavin and Stacey est une série britannique écrite par et jouée avec avec Ruth Jones (Little Britain, Nighty Night, Fat Friends) et James Corden (The History Boys, Fat Friends), diffusée sur BBC3 puis BBC2 et qui a gagné de nombreuses récompenses.
Stacey (Joanna Page) vient du Barry, à Cardiff, et Gavin (Mathew Horne) est de l’Essex.
Mais la différence de milieu et de culture n’empêche pas leur romance, qui s’épanouit lorsqu’ils se rencontrent enfin pour la première fois après avoir longtemps flirté au cours de coup de fils de bureau.
Big Train est une série de sketchs complètement surréalistes, joués par certains des meilleurs acteurs comiques dont Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Spaced, Hot Fuzz), Julia Davis (Nighty Night, Human Remains) et Catherine Tate (The Catherine Tate Show; Wild West).
Quelques thèmes sont récurrents comme la vie professionnelle au bureau, la chirurgie et une fixation sur les jockeys.
La série déforme toutes les situations courantes en d’improbables scénarios tous les plus drôles les uns que les autres comme par exemple les avantages et les inconvénients d’avoir des mains immenses alors qu’aujourd’hui tout est à la micro-technologie…
Allez, voici un petit classique, “Do you speak English?”, histoire de se détendre un peu avant d’attaquer demain avec nos délicieux apprenants :
La vidéo est bien évidemment issue de la comédie Big Train, diffusée sur la BBC.
Love it :)
The Anglo-American World is but colonial. Its present extension is the result of England’s self-affirmation and ambition to become a major world power. Therefore, the words “empire” and “imperialism” describe England’s struggle for national and international sovereignty.
The first consequence of English expansionism was the west ward impulse of the Anglo-Saxon element, first into the Celtic periphery of the British Isles, then across the Atlantic and finally into Africa and Australasia.
The second more recent consequence is the emergence in the 20th century of multi-cultural societies both in Britain and in America but also across the British Commonwealth, which is constituted of the former British colonies.
Early English expansionism in the British Isles
The origin of British colonial adventures lies in the early step taken by English Kings towards the political, economic, and religious integration of the British Isles.
The Anglo-Norman enterprise
In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, became the master in England. His successors, the Anglo-Norman Kings, tried to increase their authority and international prestige (especially in front of France) by controlling the British Isles (first Ireland and then Wales).
In 1171, the English King Henry II landed in Ireland and was accepted by the Irish Kings as their overlord (=master). During the 13th century, many Anglo-Norman barons settled in Ireland where they were given land by the King. They introduced the French system of feudalism and forced the native Irish to become serfs.
In 1366, the English Parliament prohibited mixed marriages between Irish and Anglo-Norman and Irish laws and customs were abolished in English controlled areas. The colonization of Ireland had started.
In 1277, Edward I of England invaded Wales after the last Prince of Wales refused to acknowledge his authority. The country soon became part of the English Royal Estate and was re-organized into 5 countries, after the English model. In 1301, the English King became Prince of Wales.
The Anglo-Norman never managed to conquer Scotland. After a series of unsuccessful invasions, the English were finally forced out in 1314. Scottish independence was secured for 4 centuries.
B. Post-Reformation settlements
By consolidating royal power, the reformation indirectly encouraged England to extend her control over the British Isles.
In 1541, King Henry VIII, who has become head of the English church as wall as of the State, was proclaimed King of Ireland. The actual colonization of Ireland started in 1586 with the creation of the Munster Plantation in the South of Ireland.
Later on, in 1608, Scottish and English settlers were encouraged by the Government to cross the Irish Sea and to create farms in Ulster. This new settlement was the origin of contemporary Protestant Northern Ireland. In 1652, 2/3 of Irish land was given to Protestants.
Between 1536 and 1543, a series of administrative measures put Wales under the situation of total dependence on English legislation.
The situation of Scotland was different: between 1603 and 1707, Scotland remained a separate independent Kingdom but under the same King as England.
Formation of the old colonial empire
From trading posts to early settlements
A trading post is a place to carry on commercial business; it may be temporary and doesn’t imply settlement.
Right after the discovery of the New World in 1492, England’s self-affirmation as an independent and dominant European power led her to compete against Spanish and Portuguese colonial monopolies.
In 1494, by the treaty of Tordesillas, Spain and Portugal had divided the Western Hemisphere between Spanish and Portuguese possessions. In answer, England decided to send explorers to the New World.
In 1497, the Italian Sea Captain John Cabot explored the northern coast of America on behalf of the English King. He called the land he had recognized “Newfoundland”.
Later on, in 1577, an English Captain explored the West Coast of America: Francis Drake called the American Pacific sea coast “California”, legendary name of a mythical Eden.
Finally, in 1584, another sea captain, Sir Walter Raleigh, explored the Atlantic American coast for the Queen of England and called the place “Virginia” to celebrate his queen as the Virgin Queen.
In 1588, England took the status of a major sea power after defeating the Spanish fleet, the “Invincible Armada”. This early colonial experience had secured English mastery of the sea. It was the starting point of the Spanish decline.
In economic terms, several colonial joint-stock companies, in which several people invested money to found the colonial empire, were created in England. In 1600, the East India Company was created in order to favor trade with the East.
In 1606, 2 companies were created to encourage trade with America:
- Plymouth Company for the Northern part of the coast
- London and South Virginia Company for the Southern coast.
In 1672, the Royal African Company was given the monopoly of trade with Africa (and slavery). Therefore, the rise of Capitalism corresponds to that of colonial.
In human terms, the first successful and permanent English settlement in America was established in May 1607 with the creation of Jamestown in Virginia by adventurers and merchants in search of fortune.
A totally different experience took place in September 1620, when an English ship called the Mayflower reached the place later called Plymouth Rock with a small group of English dissidents on board, the famous Pilgrim Fathers.
This first successful puritan colony in America was motivated by religious reasons. From 1620 to 1640, some 25000 English independents took refuge in New England. The 3rd category of people who reached America was African slaves.
In 1619, the first shipload of slaves was brought to America on a Dutch ship. Finally, the last category of people in America is Native Americans. They proved to be essential to the survival of settlers in America.
The beginning of the European settlement gave the illusion of peaceful coexistence between European settlers and Native Americans.
In 1640, a rich colonist called John Rolfe married the daughter of a local chief, Pocahontas. Another Indian tribe helped the Pilgrim Fathers to avoid starvation by teaching them how to plant corns.
But the respected interest of both communities soon became opposed. The increase in the European population resulted in several problems over land ownership and the American settlers soon started to displace Indian population and sometimes used military action.
The original dream of peace turned into a bloody nightmare. Americans, however, were relieved to think their treatment of the Natives had never reached the savagery that was typical of Spanish colonization.
Mercantilism or the establishment of the colonial system
Apart from international prestige, the colonists constituted a vast and permanent captive market for English goods. It was also a source of raw materials and finally, it represented a convenient exile for embarrassing subjects.
The colonists played a major role in the definition of the new international economic system called mercantilism.
It was based on strict regulations protecting the home market and establishing monopolies on all exchanges with the colonies.
Between 1651 and 1662, a series of Navigation Acts gave English ships the exclusive control of all trade to and from the colonies.
This excluded all foreign nations and all colonial organizations from trading across the Atlantic: in order to secure new markets and new sources of raw materials, the system demanded a continual expansion through wars and invasions. The struggle for empire had started a long time before the late 19th century, called the Scramble for Africa.
The essential part of trade consisted in the famous “triangular trade” with the New World. Three geographical regions were involved in the triangle:
- Western Europe
- North America and the West Indies
Because of mercantilist regulations, most goods including African slaves had to transit either through England or through the West Indies.
This economic situation was considered unfair by a majority of colonists. It was one of the origins of the American Revolution.
The first British colonial empire
Lasted until the American independence, which took place between 1776 and 1783. This empire had two major poses: India and North America.
The stream of emigrants was directed namely towards America but in both cases, England and then Britain became involved in colonial wars against Holland, Spain, and France in order to protect and to extend her trading interests.
England had started trading with India in the late 18th century. The East Indian Company (EIC) was founded in 1600.
The 18th century saw the decline of the Indian Empire (Mogul) and military agreements with local leaders.
After 1757, the EIC controlled all trade with the West Coast of India, Bengal, and with Ceylan (Sri Lanka today).
In 1760, the French were defeated and driven out of India, except for a couple of trading posts that she kept on the coast such as Pondichery.
In 1773, Britain started to control India through a governor based in the town of Bombay.
In 1640, sugar cane agriculture was introduced in Barbados. In 1655, the English took Jamaica from Spain: it marked the beginning of the Spanish decline in the Caribbean.
On the American continent, the 18th century saw total domination of Britain on colonial land. In 1667, England invaded New Amsterdam, which later became New York.
After the 7-year old war with France in 1763, England took control of the French West Indies, of all French Canada, and of the whole French territory between the East Coast of America (New England) and Mississippi. Finally, England took Florida from Spain.
In 1763, the British King George III issued a royal proclamation leaving the rich Ohio valley to the Native American tribes that had helped the British against France. This political measure disappointed the settlers who feared overpopulation in New England. This was the second origin of the American Revolution.
In the 1760’s, the population of New England which was divided into 30 colonies had already reached 2.5 million inhabitants and 275 000 slaves were transported to America during the 18th century. 90 % were to be found in the South.
The loss of the American colonies in 1783 marked the end of the first colonial empire, yet, a second one was already forming in other parts of the world.
The second colonial empire
Australasia. In 1768, the British captain James Cook had already explored the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. After the discovery of Botany Bay that later became Sydney, a penal colony was established in Australia in 1788.
Prisoners and convicts were transported to Australia for hard labor. The settlement started much later in New Zealand, with a treaty with local Maori chiefs in 1840.
Africa. Before the 1880s, i.e. the Scramble for Africa, Britain showed little interest in the African continent. The government’s major occupation, apart from the slave market, was to secure the sea route to India. Therefore, Britain took the Dutch colony at the Cape (South Africa) in 1806.
Then, Britain insisted on receiving Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Later, Britain secured other places on the sea route to Suez (e.g.: the island of Malta). However, Britain accepted to take the responsibility of protecting a colony of liberated slaves in Sierra Leone founded in 1788.
Asia. The expansion started much later when Britain took Singapore in 1824. Later, in 1841, Britain established a trading post in Hong Kong she kept until July 1997.
Sommaire de la série From the Reformation to the birth of the American nation (1534-1776)
The State and the Nation
For Benedict Anderson, Nations are “imagined communities”: it means that there is a will of the people to do things together and this group of people is so large that people cannot know every member: hence, they imagine the other members like them, sharing the same value.
The State is an independent polity, a political unit with a fully independent legislature. Scotland is not a State but she is a Nation.
Until 1999, Scotland was described as a “stateless nation”. Now it has a legislature: she is referred to as a “partially-stated nation”.
Home Rule – Devolution
“Home Rule” is a concept developed by the Liberal Party at the end of the 19th century. The whole concept was “Home Rule All Around” (i.e. Home Rule in the UK).
Then, it meant self-government (independence, autonomy), and later: devolution proposals of the Labour Party.
For Scotland, Home Rule means Scotland governed by Scots in Scotland: it underlines Scotland’s sovereignty. On the other hand, devolution underlines the sovereignty of the British State.
Vernon Bogdanor defines devolution as “the transfer of powers from a superior to an inferior political authority. Devolution may be defined as consisting of three elements:
- the transfer to a subordinate elected body
- on a geographical basis
- of functions at present exercised by ministers and Parliament
The Scotland Act of 1998 set up the Scottish Parliament, its rules etc. Section 28: “this section does not affect the power of the British Parliament to make laws for Scotland”.
In theory, the British Parliament can still make laws for Scotland in Education for instance. The Scottish Parliament is subordinated to the British Parliament.
- Devolved areas: education, health, environment…
- Reserved areas: defence, foreign affairs, constitution…
Differences between the 2 electoral systems
England uses the single ballot simple majority system, also known as “the first-past-the-post” system: one round is always sufficient since the party which gets the largest number of votes wins.
This system was designed for only 2 political parties at the time. If there is more than 2 parties, it is unfair for parties whose electors are not located in the same area.
Example : General Election in Scotland in 1997 for the British Parliament:
Conservatives: 17.5% 0 seats (they never came first)
Liberals: 13% 10 seats (they came first several times)
The British Parliament is bicameral (2 chambers: House of Lords and House of Commons). Scotland uses a completely different system: there are 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament:
- 73 seats for the 1st vote: first-past-the-post system (vote for a candidature),
- 56 seats for the 2nd vote: additional member system. It restores some balance between the votes cast and the number of candidates: adds up some proportional representation.
The Scottish Parliament is unicameral: decisions are usually made quicker than in the British Pt since it is more constructive and consensual.
Therefore, the Scottish Parliament is more representative of the people of Scotland than the British Parliament is.
Sommaire de la série Scottish Politics: devolution
After the Union of 1707, Scotland started to export goods massively: especially linen, cattle, and tobacco (Glasgow was nicknamed the “tobacco metropolis”).
Gradually the Union came to represent career opportunities for the upper class and middle-class scots: some joined the Army in India, some became merchants in London and some others migrated to North America as settlers.
1760’s: 1st Industrial Revolution in Scotland. Until then, Scotland was a rural country. It became rapidly urbanized.
1760-1830: Scottish economy based on the textile industry (cotton, linen and wool).
After 1830, new industries appeared: the steel industry and the shipbuilding industry.
During Victorian Scotland (1837-1901), all industries were owned by the Scots. They were prosperous and exported their goods all over the world. There was no feeling of discontent for they were pride to be contributing to the Empire, adding up their prosperity.
In the 1880’s, Scottish home rule (more autonomy) emerged as an issue in Scottish politics. It was the result of 3 factors:
1. A growing feeling in Scotland that the Government was not devoting enough time and attention to Scotland
In comparison with time devoted to Ireland, Scotland felt neglected by the Government. The Irish people was rewarded for their violence when non-violent Scotland did not get any attention.
In 1853 was created the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights. It was close to the Conservative Party and complained about the fact that Ireland received more support from the British Government than Scotland and that Westminster lacked of Scottish MPs.
2. The conversion of William Gladstone to Irish Home Rule
In 1886, William Gladstone (a Liberal MP) introduced a Bill before Parliament: the Irish Home Rule Bill. It was due to the pressure of the Home Rule Association created in 1870 in Dublin. The association wanted a Parliament responsible for domestic affairs.
In 1871, in Aberdeen, Gladstone (not converted yet) said that if home rule was granted to Ireland then the same should apply to Scotland. In 1885, the Post of Secretary for Scotland was re-established (it had been abolished after the battle of Culloden in 1745) to promote Scotland’s interests and voice its grievances to the British Parliament.
The Scottish Office was created the same year: it was purely administrative (the Post of Secretary for Scotland led it). When Scots compared what they had (a people in London) to what Ireland had (its own Parliament), anger progressively arose.
In 1886, the Scottish Home Rule Association was set up. It was not a political party but a nationalist organization close to the Liberal Party. They wanted a Parliament responsible for Scottish domestic affairs and did not want to end the Union.
3. A growing nationalist sentiment in Scotland
London was considered as the center of the Empire and this was resented in Scotland. As for Government subsidies, London was getting the lion’s share, especially for galleries and museums. As a consequence: renewed interest for everything Scottish in Scotland, reinforcement of their distinct national identity.
A number of societies were created in Scotland to compete with their rivals in London:
- 1884: Scottish Geographical Society
- 1886: Scottish Historical Society
1895-1905: Scottish Home Rule was not on the political agenda of the Conservative Government (they were against it).
1906: the Liberals got the power but the question of Scottish Home Rule did not come immediately.
1910-1914: British politics dominated by:
- Irish Home Rule: legislation passed in 1912.
- Scottish Home Rule: Bill debated in 1913 but process interrupted by World War I.
After the war, a 2nd Scottish Home Rule Association was created for the first one became inactive.
The objectives remained the same: more autonomy and not independence. Not a political party and no candidates. Will to remain non-partisan. Means used: putting pressure on the Government and on the MP representing Scotland in Parliament. In spite of this pressure, there was no progress for Scotland at the Parliamentary level.
1921: the Parliament voted the Government of Ireland, creating the Irish Free State.Even after 1921, no results.
1920-1934: Creation of organizations and political parties
1920: Scots National League: much more radical organization: they wanted independence, promoted the Gaelic culture and language. Yet, it did not have a strategy to achieve independence. They lacked unity and split. The result of the split was:
1926: the Scottish National Movement : focused on culture. No strategy to achieve independence.
1927: the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Organization : created by students and members of the Labour Party. John MacCormick was one of the leader and he is still considered today as the father of modern nationalism. He was a moderateand wanted Scotland to stay in the UK. He managed to convince the other nationalist organizations to create a nationalist party.
1928: the National Party of Scotland : left wing party. Objective: not independence but Scotland within the framework of UK. The NPS was a party but his electoral results were poor.
Divisions appeared for the NPS was the sum of different organizations with different opinions (moderates and radicals). The radicals said the poor results were due to the moderates.
1932: the Scottish Party: right-wing party in Glasgow. An embodiment of reasonable nationalism. The press was very favorable to them.
As there was not enough room for 2 nationalist parties a fusion had to be made between the Nationalist Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party. They merged in 1934.
1934: the Scottish National Party: born of a left-wing party and of a right-wing party. The SNP is still divided, not homogenous, and has various political affiliations.
Sommaire de la série Scottish Politics: devolution
Scotland was never conquered by England. There were attempts but they failed. At the end of the 13th century, the wars of independence began.
In May 1st 1707, the Act of Union was ratified between England and Scotland: the Scottish Parliament and the English Parliament were suspended. They created the British Parliament and formed the Great Britain by the Union of Scotland and England.
At the time, Scotland was already a protestant country (the Reformation came in the 16th century, before then she was catholic). As England was also protestant, the two nations grew closer.
The Queen chose a number of men to represent Scotland and England in a commission to discuss the terms of the treaty of Union. Several Acts and events precipitated the Union.
1698 – 1699: expeditions to Darien
It was a total failure for the Company of Scotland :
- Scotland lost trading opportunities with France (due to the Reformation),
- the Navigation Acts (1660-1663) prevented Scotland from trading with English colonies.
In England, the East-Indian Company had monopole and money. Hence, Scotland wanted the same: that is how the Company of Scotland was set up in 1695. Its full name was “Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies”.
The East-Indian was not very happy and put pressure on English financiers who wanted to provide money to the capital of the Company of Scotland. The financiers finally withdrew and the Scots had to provide money themselves: a multitude of people giving little money.
The Company of Scotland established a trading-post in America: Darien, in the Isthmus of Panama. 1698 saw the 1st expedition to Darien. It was a terrible failure for many people died during the journey and by fighting against the Spaniards already settled there.
The 2nd expedition was also a failure and the people who had invested in the enterprise were ruined, just like the company. After that experience, the Scots thought the best thing would be a union with England (no more Navigation Acts and access to colonies trading).
1701: Act of Settlement (English Parliament)
The succession to the throne changed of line from the Stuarts to the Hanoverians. From 1689 to 1702, William and Mary ruled the country but they had no heir. Then, Mary’s sister, Anne came to the throne, from 1702 to 1714 but she had no heir either (in fact her child died in 1700). But what after Anne ?
Before William and Mary, James II was a Catholic ruling a protestant country. The English Parliament (protestant) did not want the Stuarts to rule any longer. The new monarch had to be Protestant (it is still on today).
Since 1603 (the Union of the Crowns: still 2 different states, 2 different parliaments but one king), there was one monarch over Scotland and England so if the monarch was changed by the English Parliament, it would also affect Scotland… Therefore, the Scottish Parliament decided to vote too.
1704: Act of Security
Nobody can impose a monarch on Scotland: “we’ll choose an ‘heir’ to Anne ourselves” [threatening tone]
1705: Alien Act
The English Parliament voted that Scots who lived in England would be made aliens: they would lose rights like that of inheriting land and imports of cattle, linen and coal would be prohibited.
It was an ultimatum for Scotland to accept the Union. It never came into force since Scotland agreed on discussing a treaty.
In 1706, the Treaty of Union was signed.
May 1st, 1707: the Union came into force. It was not the result of war or conquest but a treaty signed by 2 independent countries. As in a bargain, there were advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages for England:
- question of succession to the throne solved
- peace secured on its northern border
Advantages for Scotland:
- economic opportunities (new markets)
- political influence as part of the U.K.
- key institutions protected (law, education, Presbyterian Church)
- peace with England guaranteed.
Keeping the Presbyterian Church was more important than the Parliament because it was more representative of the population (plus it controlled education).
In Scotland, the Jacobites (who supported James Stuart) threatened the Union because the line had changed from the Stuarts to the Hanoverians. The Jacobite rebellions took place in 1708, 1715, and 1745. Jacobitism was crushed at the Battle of Culloden in 1745.
After 1750, the relationships between England and Scotland were reinforced by the expansion of trade with the colonies. The Union started to bring benefits for Scots at last.
Sommaire de la série Scottish Politics: devolution
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
- Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad : “A free and wandering tale”
- Lord Jim : How is Conrad’s first-hand experience of seamanship perceptible throughout the Patna episode ?
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
- Introduction to A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Background of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Structure in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream : a comedy
Richard III by William Shakespeare
- Richard III : the ambiguity of Richard’s evil
- Richard III : Order and Disorder, the Elizabethan problem
World War One Poetry
- World War One poetry : a problematic issue
- War Poet : Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)
- War Poet : Edward Thomas
- War Poet : Wilfried Owen
Regeneration by Pat Barker
- Introduction to Regeneration by Pat Barker
- The plot in Regeneration by Pat Barker
- The setting in Regeneration by Pat Barker
- First dialogue between Rivers and Sassoon in Regeneration
- Historical figures and fictional characters in Regeneration
- Landscape and mindscape in Regeneration
- A transformed vision of time in Regeneration