How to Reach B1 Level in English
To learn English is easy. But, to master everything about it and to learn how to use it in a particular context, is harder.
There’s nothing better than relaxing at home and watching some entertaining series on Netflix. While you’re at it, why not try these British TV shows to improve British English.
Language study materials often use practical exercises that make the learner retain knowledge and information easier. Although these exercises are great in language learning, it can be quite repetitive and boring. Besides, things like British accents and pronunciations are hard to learn without real-life input, innit? If you want to learn the real thing, you need materials that show how words and sentences are spoken and used in real-life daily conversations.
Aside from practicing with native speakers, one of the best ways to learn accents and pronunciation is watching other people. The intonation and stress in a sentence can be changed depending on the situation. This part of language learning is hard to learn without input from other people.
Fortunately, you can get enjoyable materials without leaving your home, as long as you have a good Internet connection and a Netflix subscription. Viewing TV series is a great way to learn using sentences and phrases effectively. Gear up your most comfortable house attire and make yourself some delicious snacks. We’re checking out the best Netflix series to learn British English.
“Black Mirror” is a TV series set on different timelines with different characters. The story is different in each episode and tackles a variety of things about modern society, especially about technology. One of the best things about this series is its interactive properties, where the viewer’s choice can affect the overall story. In language learning, things are easier to remember if you put some input. Hence, Black Mirror’s interactive elements further enhance the learning experience, on top of gripping stories and unforeseeable twists.
Genre: Sci-Fi, Alternate Reality, Dystopian Fiction
Year Released: December 2011 - present
Seasons: 5, 22 episodes
There’s no doubt about it: The Queen plays a big part in everyone’s life in the United Kingdom. Her life story is even featured on Netflix and is one of the best shows right now. Known for its accuracy and great storytelling, “The Crown” is a good TV series that can teach some British accents and pronunciations. You might also pick up a thing or two from the Queen’s English, which is the standard or the “posh” language while enjoying the show.
Genre: Historical Drama
Year Released: November 2016 - present
Seasons: 4, 40 episodes
“Sherlock” is a TV series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book “Sherlock Holmes”. It is regarded as one of the best detective series on Netflix right now. Although the story and acting are both great, this show is not for beginners in English.
Some words and phrases might not sound natural to a non-English speaker. For example, in a scene with John and Mike, the latter asked if John “got shot”. Mike was asked if John had served in the military, and not literally “got shot”.
Don’t forget to turn the subtitles on and pause the video if you missed something.
Genre: Crime and mystery, based on “Sherlock Holmes.”
Year Released: July 2010 to January 2017
Seasons: 4, 13 episodes
“Call the Midwife” is a drama series that focuses on a group of friends who are working as midwives during the 1950s to 1960s. It’s a lighthearted series that is highly recommended for binge-watching. The story was based on the memoir of Jennifer Worth, who became a midwife in London’s East End, which was a place known for its poverty at that time. If you want a new twist of medical drama, away from the white and serious environment of modern settings, this one is for you.
Year Released: January 2012 - present.
Seasons: 9, 78 episodes
If you still want comedy, but with a bit of seriousness in the topic involved, “Sex Education” might be the TV series for you. It centers around the character of Otis Milburn, who are having insecurities and contradictory feelings about sex. This reaction was partly because of her mother’s job as a sex therapist and is open about the topic.
After successfully giving good sex advice to the school bully, Otis decided to open a sex advice business with his friend Maeve. Since it is set in modern times with teens as target demographics, the accent is relatively easy to understand and pick up.
Year Released: 2019 - present
Seasons: 2, 16 episodes
The British television scene is known for its great crime and thriller shows, and one of the best right now is “Bodyguard”. It tells the story of a police officer named David Budd, who used to be working in the British Army but suffers from PTSD. As a member of the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch, he needs to protect the Home Secretary, Julia Montague.
Will he be able to perform his duty when he despises the politics and principles of the one he is supposed to protect? Check this action-packed TV series to find out. Unfortunately, there is still no news for a second season.
Genre: Police political-thriller
Year Released: August 2018
Seasons: 1, 6 episodes
Have you ever wonder how living in England was like during the 860s when the Vikings are still around? If you like the rugged and ancient feels of the “Game of Thrones” set, you would also like “The Last Kingdom”. The first season tells the story of Uhtred, a Saxon who was raised by the Vikings.
While trying to find his real identity, Uhtred’s loyalty is often tested. Will he accept his ancestral roots, or will he choose the people who have raised him? The series is based on Bernard Cornwell’s novels, except in season 3, in which it was solely produced by Netflix.
Genre: British historical fiction
Year Released: October 2015 - present.
Seasons: 4, 36 episodes
If you want to watch a non-fiction tv show, you might want to try this Netflix exclusive, “Our Planet”. David Attenborough, who is known for his works as a natural historian, took the role of being the voice of this documentary. “Our Planet” was released in 2019 after four long years of filming.
The show featured places like Serengeti, Raja Ampat, the Atacama Desert, Pantanal, Gunung Mulu National Park, Madagascar, and Cape Peninsula. It is a breathtaking and educational documentary that viewers of any age would enjoy.
Genre: Nature documentary
Year Released: April 2019
Seasons: 1, 8 episodes
Also known as “The Great Britain Bake Off”, the “Great British Baking Show” is one of the longest-running cooking competitions in British television. This show is a very popular one in the UK and is highly recommended for people who like to cook or bake.
A group of amateur bakers will try to impress the judges by showing their baking prowess. If you’re wondering, this is the equivalent of America’s “MasterChef” competition, but only involves baking. The judges of this show consist of Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, and Prue Leith.
Genre: Television baking competition
Year Released: August 2010
Seasons: 11, 103 episodes
Do you prefer a little bit of gang action? If that’s the case, “Peaky Blinders” might be your cup of tea. Set in 1919, just a few years after the first World War, this show follows the story of Tommy Shelby and his gang. The five seasons of this show features how the gang survived and thrived throughout the years, as well as the hardships they needed to face to get far in the criminal world. “Peaky Blinders” is a mixed bag of different ideas that features the period between 1919 and 1829. If you like to know more about the pre-WWII period, you would love this show.
Genre: Period crime drama
Year Released: September 2013 - present.
Seasons: 5, 30 episodes
“Collateral” is originally a BBC Two drama that is now being distributed by Netflix. Another police procedural story, the show focuses on Kip Glaspie, a detective inspector. He is tasked to investigate the murder of a pizza delivery driver who was murdered in London. Through Glaspie’s investigation, stories of different characters who are connected to the murder are revealed to the viewer.
Although it was written as early as 1973, “Collateral” was only produced and released in recent years. It only has four episodes, which means that you can fit this show in one weekend.
Genre: television drama thriller
Year Released: February 2018
Seasons: 1, 4 episodes
“Broadchurch” is another police procedural show which focused on the murder of the 11-year-old boy named Danny Latimer. This murder had stirred the attention of the small and peaceful town of the show’s titular town, Broadchurch. All of the seasons made for this show have been connected to this murder.
The creator of the series, Chris Chibnall, originally intended the show to be a trilogy. Unfortunately, it seems like there would be no additional season to be released in the future. But you can rest assured that you’ll enjoy this show, as all seasons received positive reviews throughout the years.
Genre: serial crime drama
Year Released: March 2013 - April 2017
Seasons: 3, 24 episodes
Learning English via Netflix is quite a crazy idea for those who haven’t tried it yet. After all, you’re just watching a TV show (entertaining or not). To successfully learn something from Netflix, you might need to apply these learning tips and tricks.
Netflix often adds subtitle features on its international releases. It's a great language learning tool if utilized properly. By using subtitles, the viewer can memorize the word and how it was pronounced and used in a sentence.
Another great way to improve your British accent is by imitating each sentence from TV shows. Instead of just memorizing words and meanings, imitating the sound gives you chances of making input in the learning experience. Simply put, you will learn something fast if you do it. Imitating a British accent makes you a better British English speaker.
Not all words and phrases in British English can be pronounced correctly after a few tries. If you encountered a difficult word to pronounce, include it in your list of words that need improvement. Work on these words slowly until you’re confident enough to use them in conversations.
The British English accent is one of the most famous accents in the world. It's a bit tough to learn if you’re not used to its unique sounds and phonetic rules. For learners who are having difficulties in acquiring the accent, another option you can take is learning online via language platforms such as JustLearn. Also try to train yourself in recognizing the difference between various English accents, like Australian and British English. As always, keep yourself inspired and enjoy learning new languages.
Aside from practicing with native speakers, one of the best ways to learn accents and pronunciation is watching other people. The intonation and stress in a sentence can be changed depending on the situation. This part of language learning is hard to learn without input from other people. Fortunately, you can get enjoyable materials without leaving your home, as long as you have a good Internet connection and a Netflix subscription. Viewing TV series is a great way to learn using sentences and phrases effectively.
Black Mirror, The Crown, Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Sex Education, Bodyguard, The Last Kingdom, Our Planet, Great British Baking Show.
Utilize The Subtitle Feature. Netflix often adds subtitle features on its international releases. It's a great language learning tool if utilized properly. By using subtitles, the viewer can memorize the word and how it was pronounced and used in a sentence. Pause And Imitate. Another great way to improve your British accent is by imitating each sentence from TV shows. Instead of just memorizing words and meanings, imitating the sound gives you chances of making input in the learning experience. Simply put, you will learn something fast if you do it. Imitating a British accent makes you a better British English speaker. List Down Hard Words And Phrases. Not all words and phrases in British English can be pronounced correctly after a few tries. If you encountered a difficult word to pronounce, include it in your list of words that need improvement. Work on these words slowly until you’re confident enough to use them in conversations.
To learn English is easy. But, to master everything about it and to learn how to use it in a particular context, is harder.
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