GE|Adults|Intermediate|17. Heroes and icons of our time

Clooney G
George Clooney


Giorgio Armani


Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry


Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs


Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King


Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II


Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa


Complete some of the sentences with your ideas

Example: George Clooney, who is a really handsome man, is an American actor and filmmaker.

1. Giorgio Armani started his company in 1975.

2. Thierry Henry enjoyed a successful career in the French national football team.

3. Steve Jobs was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc.

4. Martin Luther King fought for the civil rights of African-Americans.

5. Pope John Paul II was pope of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005.

6. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries.

Listen to an exhibition audio guide about famous examples of British design. Put the items into the correct groups

The London Tube map

By the 1930s, the London Underground had become very large. This made it difficult to show the new lines and the new stations on a traditional kind of map, and passengers complained that the existing map was confusing. In 1931 a designer, called Harry Beck, was asked to design a map which was easier to read. His map, which was based on an electrical circuit, represented each line in a different colour. This map, which is still used today by thousands of people, both Londoners and tourists, is perhaps one of the most practical design icons ever. However, the London Tube map doesn’t represent distances correctly. People sometimes think if a place is one stop away, then it must be very near, but in fact there’s a big difference in distance between different stations. So for example, Covent Garden station is only 260 metres from Leicester Square, whereas the distance between Marble Arch and Bond Street (which looks the same distance on the map) is over a kilometre.

The London Eye

The London Eye has become an iconic London landmark since it was opened in 2000, to celebrate the new millennium. It is a symbol of modern Britain, and it has been called London’s Eiffel Tower. However, when it was originally designed, by husband and wife team Julia Barfield and David Marks, people thought it would only be used during the year 2000, the Millennium year, or perhaps just for a few years more. Nobody expected it to be so successful. Today it is one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions and is visited by over three and a half million people a year. The wheel has 32 capsules which each carry up to 25 people, and they give visitors views of up to 40 kilometres from the top.

Penguin books

Penguin Books was founded by a publisher called Allen Lane in 1935. He was at a bookstall on a railway platform looking for something to read, but he could only find magazines. He decided that people needed to be able to buy books that were good quality fiction, but cheap, and not just in traditional book shops but also on railway stations and in chain stores. Lane wanted a dignified but amusing symbol for the new books. His secretary suggested a penguin, and an employee was sent to London Zoo to make drawings of penguins. The first penguin paperbacks appeared in the summer of 1935. They included the works of Agatha Christie and the American writer Ernest Hemingway. The classic cover was invented in 1946. The books were colour coded — orange for fiction, blue for biography, and green for crime. The way people thought about books had changed forever — the paperback revolution had begun. The cover designs have changed a lot over the years, but the original 1946 cover, which is considered a design icon, was recently brought back and is also used on mugs, notebooks, and other items.

Sgt [Sergeant] Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was the Beatles’ eighth studio album and it was released in June 1967. It includes songs like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and A Day in the Life and it became one of the best-selling albums of all time. The iconic album cover was designed by the English Pop artist Peter Blake. It shows the band posing in front of a collage of some of their favourite celebrities. The celebrities include the actors Marlon Brando, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, the writer Oscar Wilde, the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, the singer Bob Dylan and the comedians Laurel and Hardy. Peter Blake later complained that he was only paid £200 for what became one of the most famous album covers ever.

  • Picture A — The London Eye
  • Picture B — Penguin books
  • Picture C — The London Tube map
  • Picture D — Sgt [Sergeant] Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover

Match the words and their definitions

Give definition to some of the following words for your teacher to guess. Use the questions to help you

traffic lights
traffic lights






close friend
a close friend




a trolley




shop assistant
a shop assistant


a helmet


a boss


a butcher


a referee


taxi rank
taxi rank


boarding school
a boarding school


  1. What do you call a person …?
  2. What do you call people …?
  3. What do you call a place …?
  4. What do you call a thing …?
  5. What do you call things …?
  6. What do you call a piece of paper …?

Look at the photos and match them with the names below. Do you know what they are famous for?

  • Bono [ˈbɒnoʊ]
  • Thierry Henry [ˌtiːəˈriː anˈri]
  • Bernard Kouchner [kuʃ.nɛr]
  • Queen Rania of Jordan [ˈdʒɔrdən]
  • Aung San Suu-Kyi [aʊŋ ˌsæn ˌsuː ˈ(t)ʃiː]

Listen and read the article issued in 2012. What are these people famous for?

  • Bono [ˈbɒnoʊ]
  • Thierry Henry [ˌtiːəˈriː anˈri]
  • Bernard Kouchner [kuʃ.nɛr]
  • Queen Rania of Jordan [ˈdʒɔrdən]
  • Aung San Suu-Kyi [aʊŋ ˌsæn ˌsuː ˈ(t)ʃiː]

Heroes and icons of our time

«Time» magazine has chosen a list of people called the «Time 100». These are people who, the magazine believes, have an enormous impact on today’s world and who inspire millions of people. The category «Heroes and Icons» includes a whole variety of people from a queen to a footballer, from politicians to a multi-millionaire rock star.

Thierry Henry, one of the world’s greatest footballers, has used his hero status on the pitch to fight racism in football. After he saw black players from the England team being insulted by spectators in an international match, he started the campaign «Stand up, Speak out».

He has raised nearly $16 million for anti-racism groups from the sales of black and white bracelets.

«You probably can’t change the racists, he says, but you can make the silent majority stand up and speak out against them. That way we will make them feel less comfortable. In a few years’ time I want to be able to watch a football match and not hear a single racist insult».

Queen Rania of Jordan is helping her husband to «try to reconcile tradition with modernity» in their country. But outside her country, along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others, she is working to try to make sure that all children everywhere get vaccinated.

Queen Rania of Jordan

As she reminds us, there are more than 30 million children a year who get no vaccinations during their first year of life, so up to 10% of them will die.

Bono, one of the world’s biggest rock stars, is also Africa’s biggest defender. When he and his wife Ali first went to Africa, they worked in a refugee camp for a month. On the day they were leaving, a man approached him carrying a baby.


«This is my son, the man said. Please take him with you when you leave. If you do, he will live. Otherwise he will die». He couldn’t take the child, but since then he has been working tirelessly to raise money to free Africa from hunger and poverty.

Aung San Suu-Kyi is the moral leader of Myanmar (also known as Burma). She has been under house arrest since 1989 for opposing the military rulers and fighting for human rights. U2 wrote the song «Walk On» to honour this amazing woman, who put her country before everything, including her family.

Aung San Suu-Kyi

She had to make an unbearable choice: either to be with her husband and sons in England but never be allowed back to Burma, or to stay in Burma, but not to see her sons grow up and not to be with her husband when he died. She stayed, and to this day continues to fight.

Bernard Kouchner first came to the public eye when he helped to save many of the boat people who escaped from Vietnam. He carried sacks of rice himself, even though he was a French government minister, in «Operation Restore Hope» in Somalia.

Bernard Kouchner

Nelson Mandela once said to him, «Thank you for helping in matters which aren’t your problem». He co-founded «Médecins sans Frontières» (Doctors without borders), which was awarded the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize, and later «Médecins du Monde».

Listen and read the article again. Answer the questions

  • racism [‘reɪsɪz(ə)m] — discrimination on the basis of race, especially against black and other not white people;
  • to speak out — to talk freely and fearlessly, as about a public issue;
  • to reconcile [ˈrɛkən,saıl] — to cause to become friendly or peaceable again;
  • modernity [mɔ’dɜːnətɪ] — the state or quality of being modern;
  • foundation — an institution financed by a donation or legacy, as to aid research, education, or the arts;
  • hunger — a strong desire or need for food;
  • unbearable [ʌn’bɛərəbl] — too painful, intolerable.

1. Who was asked for some help which he/she couldn’t give?

2. Who is trying to fight disease? How?

3. Who had to choose between his/her job and family? What did he/she choose?

4. Who used to be a politician? Why was he/she unusual?

5. Who used their celebrity status to raise money? What are they trying to change?

Add an ending and put the words in the correct column

Most words which tell us what people do end in

-er, -or, -ian, or -ist

Aung San Suu-Kyi is the moral leader of Burma.

Listen and say which syllable is stressed. Practise saying the words

leader, composer, designer, footballer, painter, photographer, presenter, actor, conductor, director, inventor, sculptor, politician, musician, physicist, cyclist, guitarist, scientist, violinist,

medical researcher

Combine the two sentences using a non-defining relative clause

Write the job for each picture


Write a word for each definition

Complete the sentences with a relative pronoun and the phrases in the box

Read some extracts from an interview with Usain Bolt for one time. Look at the highlighted words and phrases. Use your dictionary to look up their meaning and pronunciation

Usain Bolt

Children, adults, old people, Prince Harry… everybody wants to race me. I get challenged to races every day. I met Mickey Rourke in a London club and we had a race in the street. I’ll race the kids, but grown-up people need to get real.

I am an athlete and a doctor. I have received lots of honorary awards, so my full official title is something like Dr The Honourable Ambassador Usain Saint LeoBolt. I have tried to make my friends call me it, but nobody does.

My father was my hero. He always worked so hard. People think I don’t train hard, but I really do — and it’s all because of him.

My earliest memory is playing in my garden. I’d play cricket, football, and basketball or just run around. As long as I was outside in the sun, I was happy.

Your environment definitely changes your personality. I am similar to my sister.We are relaxed because we grew up in the countryside (in Jamaica), but my brother is different because he grew up in Kingston.

Sleep is beautiful. I live with my brother Sadiki and my best friend NJ in Kingston, and my only house rule is: never wake me up early.

I can’t cook. I just know that vegetables are good for you.

Read the interview again and answer the questions. Write one word in each box. The first letters are given


Complete sentences with the correct words

Урок Homework Курс
  • Warm-up
  • British design icons
  • Giving definitions
  • What are they famous for?
  • Heroes and icons
  • What people do
  • A non-defining relative clause
  • Professions
  • Relative clauses
  • Usain Bolt
  • Words, words