Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.

On 'tick'

[Episode 10 | 1918 : Bertie]

Bertie is trying to pay off the last shilling owing on his present for his brother Eddie who is returning home after serving in the First World War. Mr Watson, the store owner, will not advance him a loan. Bertie goes to the repatriation hospital to bring his mother (a nurse) fresh goat's milk, and shares jokes with his friends Sid and Mr Bracey who are both returned soldiers.


English

The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [4]

Activity 1: Mr Watson
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Subtheme(s): Character
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  • Briefly discuss the characters introduced in this clip and ask students to deconstruct the character of Mr Watson. Have them read the third draft of the script for this scene and consider: Who is he? What work does he do? How does he dress? What do you think of him? How does he treat Bertie? Discuss their answers. Have students read the script again carefully before writing a character profile of Mr Watson, based on the script.
  • If it is not mentioned in the students' responses, draw attention to the exchange at the end of the script extract where Mr Watson is said to 'soften' as he offers the book to Bertie for a 'ha'penny'. As a class, discuss the meaning of the word 'soften' and what it means in this context. Discuss whether this influences the way the audience feels about Mr Watson. Why do you think the filmmaker included this exchange?
  • Screen the clip version of the same scene. Long before he refuses him credit, Mr Watson tries to sell Bertie the magician's book. Ask students to note the differences between this version and the script version. Discuss whether the changes would affect the way the audience responds to this character. Does the clip version make Mr Watson more, or less, likeable?

Reflect
  • Ask students why they think the filmmaker may have changed the emphasis in the final version of this scene, removing the 'softening' of Mr Watson. Discuss why the filmmaker might want to make Mr Watson a more unlikeable character. Why might this be important to the story?

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Activity 2: The unlikeable character
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Subtheme(s): Character; Language and scripting
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  • As a class, brainstorm a list of unlikeable characters (villains) in literature and films. Some examples are Malfoy in the Harry Potter series or the Ice Queen in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. For each character, give examples of ways in which the filmmaker or author makes the audience dislike the character. As a class, discuss the reasons these characters were created in this way. What is their purpose in the story? What devices have been used to portray these characters as 'unlikeable'?

Reflect
  • Have students take the unlikeable character Mr Watson and rewrite this scene, making him a nicer person. Focus their attention on the dialogue and directions for acting needed to convey this message to the audience. Have students present their reworking of the scene to the class.
  • Compare the different versions produced by students and discuss the techniques used to change the audience response to Mr Watson.

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Activity 3: The homeland effort
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war; Relationships
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  • Prior to viewing the clip, talk with students about the era in which this episode was set. It was the time of the First World War (1914–18). Create a list of their responses and understandings using these headings: Who, What, Where and When. As an extension of this discussion, students could consider what started this war and how war affected the lives of those who fought and those who stayed at home.

Reflect
  • Ask students to examine the role women played during the war effort. In this clip we find out that Bertie's mother and his sister Evelyn are nurses. Ask students to list what other roles women took on during the war. Have them examine one of these roles and prepare a profile of a female character who could have existed during this time. Conduct a freeze-frame exercise, in which the teacher walks around the group and taps the shoulder of each student in turn. When they are tapped, they introduce their character, tell their age and occupation and speak in character about a day in their life.

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Activity 4: Colloquialisms
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Subtheme(s): Language and scripting
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  • In this clip, Bertie asks Mr Watson to advance him credit for the present he is purchasing for his brother Eddie. The conversation between the two reveals many Australian colloquialisms or slang. Other words and phrases commonly used during this time can be heard in the clips 'Impact of war' and 'Armistice'. Ask students to begin a language journal that can be used to record unusual words from the series. Students should write down the words or phrases with their meanings.

Reflect
  • Have students read the script for this clip. After the first reading, ask them to list and discuss the meaning of unfamiliar words and expressions in the text. Some possible examples are: 'on tick', 'shillings', 'ha'penny', 'sixpence', 'pound', 'diggers', 'Keep your mitts off', 'do the honours', 'Strewth!', 'The shop is like Merlin's cave', 'Praying for a miracle' and 'wag'. They could also compare the language of characters in this episode to that of characters in the later episodes.
  • Bertie goes to the repatriation hospital to see his mother. As they talk Bertie answers a question with 'Yep'. His mother corrects him and refers to herself as 'Mother'. Ask students to discuss why Bertie's mother insisted he use her more formal title and that he use the correct English for 'yes'. Ask them to find the words for 'mother' in at least five different languages and to develop a list of pet names that could refer to their mother, father, grandmother and grandfather.

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