A Weekend Away / A Week By The Sea

These two video series are now available again, re-published by Three Vee Limited under licence from Oxford University Press.

The Two-on-one DVD is now on sale at BEBC, (£16.50; plus VAT for the UK) as is the A Weekend Away Study Guide (£8.00).

Three Vee print publications are available from:

In Japan, they are available from eltbooks.com

Cover for 2011 edition; Two-On-One version.

Both series were originally published on two VHS cassettes per series, totalling four video cassettes. At the time, they were rightly viewed as “educational software” and priced accordingly, so that each series cost around £130. All four cassettes are now published as one DVD at £16.50 a small fraction of the original price.

Here is more information on the videos. For exploitation techniques, see Teaching with video: techniques

They were filmed in 1986 and 1987, and were the best-selling of all our thirteen ELT video series. They were hugely popular and many schools still have group sets of Activity Books. Unfortunately, we cannot re-publish the Activity Books, but we have produced new books of exercises for the material.

The series were put of print in 2009 and we received many requests via our website for copies. We watched through extracts with selected target groups in 2010, who all loved the videos, and while ten years ago they looked slightly dated because of clothes and cars, they now have the aura of classic sitcoms. They are sitcom based, with a loose continuing story, though each episode can be viewed separately.

They were filmed with small film crews, and were the first full-scale Oxford English Video productions. Fortunately, the director, Robert Reed, advised that the most important thing was the actors, and he chose an excellent cast. We’ve linked their names to their Internet Movie Database profiles below.  People remember “Kevin and Sharon” most vividly (David Janson and Debbie Arnold). This is why when we moved from A Weekend Away to A Week By The Sea, we decided to base the second series around their characters.

Note: Each video episode can be sub-divided into shorter sections: See A Weekend Away / A Week By The Sea: Sections pages.

We have prepared completely new Study Guides for the series. These are black & white, and contain the basic exploitation for students, the transcripts, and summaries of grammar, fixed expressions and vocabulary. This is the 2011 Study Guide for A Weekend Away, which costs £8.00 from BEBC.

A Weekend Away (Beginner)


Top row, left to right:  Sharon, Margaret, Kevin
Bottom row, left to right:  Nicholas, Gary, Mrs Wilson

Sharon Smith (Debbie Arnold) is a hairdresser from Braintree, Essex.
Kevin Smith (David Janson) is a painter and decorator.
Gary Blake (Matt Zimmerman) is an American engineer, working in Britain. He’s single.
Margaret Barton (Sandra Payne) is a teacher. She’s a widow.
Nicholas Barton (Christian Salari) is her son, and is still at school.
Florence Wilson (Avril Angers)is retired.

Pictures: T0 to bottom

Gary and Margaret, Episode 6 , Oxford

Mrs Wilson in a toy shop, Episode 3, Shopping

Kevin & Sharon, Episode 3, Shopping

Gary, Mrs Wilson, Nicholas, Episode 5, The Drive in The Country


1 The Notice Gary is an American living in England. He plans a weekend trip to Oxford by minibus and invites people from the same block of flats to join him. We meet the other five characters. The next Friday they load up the bus and set off for Oxford.
2 The First Stop Friday afternoon. They stop at the motorway services, and eat in the restaurant.
3 At The Hotel Friday evening. They arrive at the hotel. Kevin & Sharon look at their room. They all meet in the evening and discuss plans for the weekend.
4 Shopping Saturday morning. Everyone goes shopping in Oxford. Kevin and Sharon shop for clothes, Mrs Wilson looks for toys, Margaret and Nicholas go to a computer store.
5 The Drive In The Country Saturday afternoon. They go for a drive out in the countryside, but the minibus runs out of petrol. Kevin goes off to get some. Then it begins snowing.
6 Oxford Sunday morning. Dary, Margaret and Nicholas go sightseeing in Oxford. They visit St. John’s College, and Margaret loses her umbrella.
7 The Game of Football Sunday afternoon. They’re on their way home. They stop in the park and have a game of football. Kevin has an accident, and they take him to hospital.
8 The Photographs Two weeks later. Gary invites everyone to his flat, and shows them his photos from the trip to Oxford.

A Week By The Sea (Pre-intermediate)


Rear: Sharon, Kevin, Alison. Front: Clive
from Episode 3: Good Sports

A Week By The Sea has a basic cast of four:

Sharon Smith (Debbie Arnold) is a hairdresser.
Kevin Smith (David Janson) is a painter and decorator.

Clive Potter (Andrew Bicknell) and Alison Potter (Marguerite Hardiman) are the couple they meet. They’re a few years older than Kevin and Sharon. Clive is the Sales Manager of a company, and Alison is the Personnel Manager in a department store.

Each episode introduces other characters, including Kevin’s foreman (Norman Mitchell), the lady in the hairdresser’s (Lesley Nunnerly), the Hotel Manager (Richard Kay), Sally (Nancy Crane), the tennis coach (Nicholas Colicos), the old man at Corfe Castle (Maurice Blake), the Estate Agent (Philip Trewinnard) and Madame Rose (Anna Tzelnicker).

Left to right: Alison, Sharon, Clive, Kevin in Weymouth

1 Summer Holiday It’s Friday. Kevin & Sharon are at work. It’s the last day before their summer holiday. Saturday morning. They’re packing. They arrive in Dorset and Kevin sets up a tent. But Sharon has other ideas.
2 Beside the Seaside Saturday afternoon. Kevin and Sharon arrive in Weymouth and check into a hotel, where they meet Clive and Alison. They all go to the beach.
3 Good Sports Sunday morning. Clive and Alison have breakfast. Clive and Kevin play golf, while Sharon and Alison play tennis. They all meet later, and Kevin gets his revenge.
4 A Ghost in The Castle Monday. Kevin and Sharon go to Corfe Castle where an old man tells them a story. There are strange happenings at the castle.
5 Trouble in Store Tuesday. Kevin and Sharon are sightseeing in Poole. They meet Sally who works at the hotel. She tells them Clive and Alison have hired a boat in Poole. They meet and make plans for the next day. Kevin and Sharon go to a supermarket to get food for a picnic.
6 The Last Boat Leaves At Six Wednesday. Kevin and Sharon meet Clive and Alison and take a boat trip to Brownsea Island for the day. But the last boat leaves the island at six o’clock.
7 House for Sale Thursday. It’s raining, so Kevin and Sharon visit Wimborne Minster. They decide to go and look at a new house they passed earlier in the day. Later they tell Clive and Alison what happened.
8 A Look Into The Future Friday. Kevin and Sharon visit a fortune teller and hear some alarming news. They meet Clive and Alison at the beach and tell them about it.


1 The Notice to be + questionsdemonstratives: this, that, these, those
meetings, greetings
2 The First Stop requests, offers: I’d like … Would you like?imperatives;
has, have gotcan;
mass & unit; food, drink
3 At The Hotel there is / there are; present continuous;
going to future;describing places, making plans
4 Shopping like, want, need; present simple for habits; frequency adverbs; shopping;likes and dislikes; times; prices
5 The Drive In The Country past simple; was, were;
irregular verbs, regular verbs
narrative; time words
6 Oxford past simple; past continuous; when, while;must, mustn’t, needn’tlooks like …Past; obligation, lack of obligation
7 The Game of Football present perfect; already, just, often, yetcomparative and superlative
past obligation had to
8 The Photographs ’ll, will, shall, let’s
offers, requests, suggestions;
present perfect for, since

A Week By The Sea (Pre-intermediate)

1 Summer Holiday multi-tense review; present, past, present perfect, going tofuture
want, want to do, want someone to do
hotel reservations
2 Beside the Seaside look, taste, smell etc; too, enough;
couldn’t, had to, able to
how far / long / heavy 
3 Good Sports question tags; reflexives / each other
comparison, as…as;
present perfect; May we …
4 A Ghost in The Castle used to do;    should, shouldn’t
indirect commands tell her to …
relatives: She’s the one (that) did it.
5 Trouble in Store present perfect continuous;
relative clauses;
-ing forms; may / might
6 The Last Boat Leaves At Six indirect questions;future withwhen, if, as soon as, until
conditionals (type 1)
7 House for Sale past perfectconditionals (type 2);
would, wouldn’t
8 A Look Into The Future reported speech; statements, questions
conditionals type 2; if I were you
have something done

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