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Describe a TV documentary you watched

IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card 177 with Model Answer:

Describe a TV documentary you watched that was particularly interesting.

You should say:
  • what the documentary was about
  • why you decided to watch it
  • what you learnt during the documentary
and explain why the TV documentary was particularly interesting.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]

Model Answer 1:
Owing to my occupational engagement, I am unable to manage much time to enjoy television documentaries but in last December of 2015, I had watched a documentary on becoming an astronaut.

The documentary was about becoming an astronaut and titled - "Tim Peake Special: How to Be an Astronaut". The video documentary was filmed for about two years. This is about the event of a British man who tries to be an astronaut. Moreover, he was the first among the British who was becoming an astronaut. The documentary was aired on Horizon on BBC. Tim Peake had to take some major risks and pressures to be the astronaut.  He had also undergone different extensive training before the final flight. The most important part of his training was to adjust to the environment of the outer space and he repeatedly tried to perform the adjustments. Besides, he also experienced the issue of weightlessness and participated in mockups over the issue during the training period.

There were some specific reasons for watching the documentary and I selected this one carefully. Since my childhood, I had some dreams to be an astronaut but could not materialise the dreams for different reasons. Whenever I got chances, I tried to gather some knowledge about the space. Space attracts me strangely. I am stuck in the space and in the moonlit night, I look at the stars through a telescope. So, when I came to learn about the documentary from a friend of mine, I decided to watch it. I knew that normally the documentaries are made with real events and footages. I was right about this one and saw many exclusive footages of the training. I was curious about the walking and weightlessness issue on the space. Eating, sleeping and performing other daily tasks etc. were different from the earth. Thereby, all such issues made me inquisitive to explore the documentary.

I had learnt a good number of issues from the documentary. Before watching the documentary, I did not have any idea how life in space was about. My idea was only bookish and I tried to imagine the situations and failed each of the times. When I watched the documentary, I came to know how life really is in space. I also had no idea about the training and exercises which should be done to live in the space. Moreover, I came to know about the eating habits of the astronauts, how they slept in the weightlessness, drank water and did the other necessary activities. It was a very good lesson for me.

As I told earlier that I was highly interested in space, I did not have the chance to meet my dream. During the admission in my college, I was told to take the Arts faculty as the authority believed that I could do better in the subjects of arts instead of science. So, I missed the chance to get prepared to be an astronaut from the early age. But whenever I got any chance to know about the space, I did not miss the chance. I read all the available articles and essays, watch movies and recently have started watching documentaries. Movies are in fact not that much reliable as everything here is made for enjoyment and many of the information is falsified to attract audiences. But the documentaries are different. They contain the real-life events and those are enjoyable. The documentary on Horizon was about the British man Tim Peake. He was the first British ever to travel in the outer space. Before starting the trip on space, he undertook different training, exercises and experiments. The most important thing about the documentary is that it took about two years to make it by adding all the available video clips. I learnt a lot from the documentary and many of my former ideas have been sharpened. Thereby, the documentary was particularly interesting and enjoyable to me.

Model Answer 2:
‘Ancient Aliens’ was one of most popular television series and it appeared interesting to me on some specific grounds. I loved watching the episodes. Thanks for the question and I will now describe it in brief here.

This was the documentary that dealt with the extraterrestrial contact with the human. It is believed that the ancient humans came in touch with aliens long ago. In fact, it is all about the speculations that the extraterrestrial beings have wandered on the planet and gained knowledge about many things that they wanted to know. It was also about the discussion of their existence. The documentary also publicised ideas about aliens, monster and many other conspiracies related to them. However, most of the theories presented at the show contained some logic while the modernism is against the view.

I had an interest in aliens. So, it was a great chance for me to know about them and clear my conceptions. Besides, I also was interested to know about if aliens are real or not. I tried to gather knowledge about them but there were no reliable sources that could confirm me about the existence of the aliens. The videos available on youtube and other websites failed to make me satisfied with the matter. So, I decided to watch the documentary. It was really helpful for me to many extents. I was entertained with the episodes and developed an idea of the reality.

I came to know about many interesting facts about aliens, monsters and other extraterrestrial beings. The show mostly focused on some hypothesis. The hypothesis reported that the ancient people had their contacts with the extraterrestrial beings. The show exhibited some evidence against its claims. But the modern scientists are against this belief. They do not comply with the evidence showed in the television documentary. Rather they criticised the show for exhibiting pseudoscience. I also learnt that the advanced beings visited the earth in ancient time and gathered knowledge about the people living on this planet.

I know all the facts shown in the documentary is not real. But the documentary makers have made it in a striking way that it has become attractive. It has been on the air since 2010 and despite negative remarks from different quarters, the popularity of the show did not fall. It was interesting to me as the hypothesis was presented in a realistic manner. Further, the documentary has taken interviews of various people who are engaged in extraterrestrial research. It tried to prove the existence of the aliens and that they visited the earth long ago. Besides, the evidence against the claims also drew attention from my part. So, based on all the grounds, the documentary appeared interesting to me.

Idea generation for this Cue Card topic:  

"Describe a TV documentary you watched that was particularly interesting." 

1. Flint Town is all about police investigations and how they dealt with a community where violence prevailed. The locality was also dealing with the water crisis. I decided to watch the documentary as one of my friends recommended it to me. It was a wonderful documentary. In fact, dealing with a community issue for police often becomes difficult. And when there are less infrastructure and resources, it becomes harder to battle the dilemma. I found the documentary interesting for its thrilling nature and the way the plot advanced.

2. I try to pick some interesting documentaries and 'Making a Murderer' was one of them. It was about the victimization of a DNA expert who was set to expose some truths about the local law enforcers. I heard that it was a special documentary from a college teacher and so I decided to watch it. It was filled with learning elements and I came to know how the innocent people are made victims. The documentary was interesting as my ideas were proven wrong at the end.

3. As I love to cook, I watched the Chef's Table. This is a great documentary about the kitchen of some international chefs. I wanted to know some special recipes for myself and thus decided to watch the show. And it was effective. I came to know lots of issues about the global culinary and now able to prepare some of the most famous dishes. I enjoyed the documentary as it mostly focused on the cooking process directly from the chef and how they prepared the unique meals.

4. As a primary school teacher, I watched the documentary titled ‘Children Full of Life’. The plot was about teaching students how to live. It was not about to make them good or perfect students. The documentary made me feel how less I knew. It was about teaching and life. In fact, it was the eye-opener for me. I started following the method I saw there which proved effective for my class. I enjoyed the video until the last minute as the entire process was revolving to change the existing teaching method.


Part 3: Discussion topics: 

Different types of TV programmes: 

Q. What are the most popular kinds of TV programmes in your country? Why is this? 
Well, there are good numbers of audiences are available in France and their choices are not the same. So, the types of programmes are different on the television channels. The audiences like to enjoy drama serials, action drama, animated serials, comedy-drama, satire drama, documentary series, historical drama, Science fictions, horror serials, a variety of shows, talk shows, reality shows, police drama, crime drama and the most importantly – news. The choices are different and I think this is natural. The key reason behind the diversified choices is the age of the audiences. The audiences are of different age groups and thus their tastes are dissimilar. Some of the audiences may like to enjoy cartoons as they are kids while the rest others may not prefer the same television programme. Further, some may want to enjoy animated movies while the rest other may opine to enjoy real movies. So, it appears that the differences take place for the diversification of the choice.

Q. Do you think there are too many game shows on TV nowadays? Why?
Yes, there are too many game shows and they are televised with different names. Most of the games shows are currently termed as the reality show, and they are becoming popular in the current days for several reasons. The key cause of the shows is that they can engage audiences. Some of the game shows are planned to take the audiences as participants. When the number of participants becomes more, the game shows become too much popular. It also helps to increase the Television Rating Point (TRP) for the television channels. I think engaging the audiences with the shows is done based on some commercial grounds. When the audiences will participate in the shows, they are to watch the television shows and if they watch the shows, they also will have to bear the trouble of advertisements. I believe this a corporate strategy to make profits by engaging the audiences with the shows and thus the number of the shows is increasing gradually.

Q. Do you think TV is the main way for people to get the news in your country? What other ways are there? 

Umm … yes, TV is the main way to get informed about news and other issues in my country, France. There are some other ways as well to know about the happenings like reading newspapers, online news portals, using social networking websites etc. But I think television is the main way to get informed. Most of the people cannot be online to know about the happenings using their social networking accounts. They lack access to the internet when they are out of the home. Many of the smartphone users do not prefer to use their cellular networks for the internet surfing. Moreover, newspapers usually publish the news on the next day with the happenings of the present day. Many of the readers are reluctant to browse the online news portals as those are filled with advertisements. So, they have only one platform left – television. Thereby, most of the people in France rely on television for news. The television channels broadcast a wide range of events and issues while some of them are telecasted live based on the importance.

TV advertising: 

Q. What types of products are advertised most often on TV? 
A wide number of advertisements are aired on television and the majority of the products are about consumption. The products include edible items, cosmetics for male and female, perfumes, cars, attires, shoes, electronic gadgets, mobile telephones, drinks and more other. The advertisements are made with great care and none of them arouses irritation. The themes are clearer and the ideas are excellent. Most of the messages are sent to the audiences within an enjoyable environment. Besides, the advertisement makers exhibit their creative faculty which is also interesting and thus they try to persuade the audiences to get their respective products. Sometimes, the advertisements are made with the association of local and international models who praise the products highly and inspire on using them for meeting up the regular needs.

Q. Do you think that people pay attention to adverts on TV? Why do you think that is?
Well, the question is a bit tougher to answer. There are some preconditions to get the attention of the audiences for the advertisements. Most of the audiences do not pay attention if the advertisements are in the middle of an attractive programme. When the television authority airs advertisements on any exciting show, the audiences get irritated no matter how better the advertisement script is. Even, I myself also become bored when the advertisements are aired in the middle of any TV event. But when people sit idly to enjoy television shows, they pay attention to the advertisements which actually are aired at the beginning of the programme. Usually, people get excited in line with the excitements of the TV programmes and when the advertisements are on the midway of the event, they feel a sense of deep anger to the advertisers and television authority for their idiotic sense.

Q. How important are regulations on TV advertising? 
Umm … I think regulations on TV advertisements are important. Most of the advertisements are aired during the middle of programmes and news. It is highly irritating. The regulations should take of the issues. Besides, some of the advertisements also show sexually explicit materials which are inappropriate for all types of audiences. So, such advertisements should be restricted and before airing the advertisements, a statutory warning should be given. Moreover, the regulations should direct the TV stations to air advertisements during specific hours. It happens that the TV stations air the advertisements around the day and they do not have any specific schedule for the airing. It appears that they air the ads based on their will. So, I think the regulations on TV advertising are highly important.

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