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Review as published in the SATEFL Newsletter, September 2001, Vol.21 No.1

Wallace and Gromit in A Close Shave

Peter Viney and Karen Viney

(Series: Oxford English Video; OUP 2000)



Video 0–19–459240–5

Student's Book 0–19–459243–X

Teacher's Book 0–19–459244–8


Following on from their adaptation of   The Wrong Trousers, the authors have brought out A Close shave, aimed at a slightly higher level.   It covers a wide variety of tenses, structures and functions at Pre-Intermediate level.   It has been adapted from the original film by the addition of a voice-over narrator, who unobtrusively comments on and encourages the characters.


The exercises are contextualised and extremely varied, covering vocabulary, stress, intonation and grammar.   Students are encouraged to listen to background noises and draw inferences, comment and predict on the actions and emotions of the characters.


The visual and verbal humour are on several levels and lend themselves to repeated viewing, without the danger of boredom ever setting in.   My pre-intermediate class were totally absorbed by the story, the tongue-in-cheek in-jokes and take-offs of cinema conventions.   They were enthusiastic about doing the exercises because they could see that they really added to their grasp of vocabulary and understanding of the story.


I can say with all honesty it was a wonderful teaching and learning experience for the whole class, including me.   Proof of their enjoyment is that they kept making references to the film and the jokes days later.   As for me, Shaun the sheep has won my heart and we're even thinking of cutting a lamb-flap in our front door.


Nina Vivanco

Basil Paterson College


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