Creativity is GREAT - Part 2

Richard looks back at past masters of British creativity at Tate Britain and then comes right up to date with an introduction to Britain's great computer gaming scene.


Another side of British culture that attracts tourists is the range of visual arts on show.

There are over 300 world-class museums and art galleries just in London. This is Tate Britain - right here, in Millbank. It’s the home of British art from the 1500s right up to the present day - let’s go take a look.

Tate Britain is the world centre for British art. Some of the greatest artists of all time are British and this gallery has them all under one roof.

Tate Britain is one of four Tate galleries across the country, and the oldest. Over the years, it’s been threatened by bombing in the war and flooding from the Thames. There are hundreds of works of art here.

These are some of the earliest paintings in the gallery, including this portrait of Queen Elizabeth the First.

Penelope Curtis is the director of Tate Britain. It’s her job to decide which art pieces are exhibited.

Richard: Penelope, tell me about Tate Britain.

Penelope: Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art. It was founded by Henry Tate about a hundred years ago.

Richard: And what does your role involve?

Penelope: I'm the director, and that means looking after everything, but particularly the collections and the displays that you can see in the gallery.

Richard: And you have some fabulous pictures here, including this very popular one.

Penelope: They say this is our most popular painting. It's hard to know, but it certainly sells the most postcards, but that's rather an old-fashioned measure.

Richard: What is it about British art that's so exciting?

Penelope: Well, what's particular about British art is that we're an island nation, so things become very concentrated here. People travel from all over the world to be here; other people never leave at all, so things that you might see in the rest of the world become more concentrated in Britain.

Richard: What's the future of British art and creativity?

Penelope: I think the fact that we don't know is what's exciting about it. Here, we can make history speak to the present and inform what people are doing now, and that's one of our important roles.

And the future of British art is bold and exciting.


Artistic creativity in Great Britain isn’t always found at museums or galleries; sometimes it’s worth taking a closer look at the walls around the city.

Street art used to be a form of protest and was often painted over by the authorities. These days it’s a celebrated art form. Some pieces are worth a fortune. 


Another art form that is booming in Britain is building computer games.

The UK produces more than a quarter of the world’s computer games and independent developer Blitz Games Studios here in Leamington Spa has created some top sellers. Popular games like Puss in Boots, Karaoke Revolution and The Biggest Loser are developed here. Blitz Games Studios have a passion for games, technology and creativity.

Philip Oliver is a game developer and set up Blitz Games Studios with his brother.

Richard: Philip, how did this all start?

Philip: My twin brother and I, Andrew, started playing video games in the early eighties. We got ourselves a 8-bit computer and started writing games just as a hobby but, by the mid-eighties, we were actually able to sell games. We set up Blitz Games Studios and started employing people with the idea we would make games for a global audience, and today we have over 220 talented, creative people making video games for all the biggest publishers in the world.

Richard: What makes games development so creative?

Philip: Games are just a fantastic medium. I'm sorry, but I'm absolutely hooked, and I hope so many other people are. We are the entertainment of the twenty-first century. There are no limits.

Do you know, when it comes to computer games, I don’t think I'm very good at building them. I'm much better at playing them. Yes! Come on! Go up, up, up, up! Get the star! Go on! Go - Oh, no, no, ah.

Task 1

Put Richard's actions in the order he does them.


Task 2

Choose the true sentences for each question.


Task 3

Complete the phrases from the video.


Task 4

Find another way to say the first sentence. You have to use the word in brackets at the end of the second sentence and you also have to use a phrase with an -ing word, like 'taking' or 'having'.


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Submitted by Marcos Martins on Wed, 11/07/2018 - 20:54

Yes, Grafitti is art. And it's beautiful. Yup, I enjoy playing Computer Games. I don't really have time to play them, but I like them. I like RPG games.

Submitted by btriton on Sun, 20/05/2018 - 09:39

I think, yes, Graffiti is an art, many of this artist are very creative and skilled. I don;t like too much computer games, because these get engaged me and lose too much time. Only in long flights I play some of them, I prefer tetrix and chess.

Submitted by NGAPHAN on Fri, 30/06/2017 - 09:22

Hi English team, Can I ask you a question about Task 2? In the video, they just talked about island nation as a particular thing that made British art's exciting. Why is the statement "British art is exciting because we don't know how it's going to develop" true? Could you explain, please? Many thanks!


This is a question about the nature of British art, not about language! The suggestion is that British art is unpredictable and that this makes it exciting. Whether or not this is true is a matter of opinion, of course.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nizam Balinese on Sat, 04/03/2017 - 02:17

Hi everyone. I think Graffiti is also really art. As Richard's mentioned above that Graffiti is another form of art and is used as another way of protest. Unfortunately, I really don't like this art. This art doesn't interest me as much. I'd love arts that describe of peaceful of scenery, nature and landscapes. And what about Computer Games, yes, I'd love them. I used to play Computer Games after coming out of school. Winning Eleven Game is one of which that I love so much.

Submitted by Genc on Sat, 25/02/2017 - 14:30

I'd argue that grafitti is really a piece of art.Even though it may seems like rebelling way of art, it embodies the problems of today's society well. I do enjoy playing computer games.I used to play computer games a lot , when I was a teenager.I don't have much time for playing computer games a lot these days, though. To be honest, I don't play games, nowadays, at all.However, I used to play Crysis, FarCry, Resident Evil, Warcraft, GTA, Need For Speed and so on.