Britain’s got talent: Strictly 1000 Words winners chosen after live finals

The winners of the Strictly 1000 Words competition were selected last Saturday, 18 October, following enthralling live performances from the eight finalists at the Language Show Live at London Olympia. The competition, which was promoted by Speak to the Future, required entrants to submit a short video using no more than 1,000 words in another language, celebrating the impressive language skills possessed by adults and young people across the country.

While the winners were chosen based on the accuracy, pronunciation and clarity of the language/s used, ingenuity was certainly not in short supply either; from Ian Howe’s moving tribute to a lost friend, beautifully sung and played on the guitar, to an entertaining comedy sketch from the students of Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Edern school in Cardiff.

The six winners were selected by a panel of judges, comprised of experts from Vocab Express, Speak to the Future, and Oxford University Press and the Language Show Live, as well as English actor and language enthusiast, Larry Lamb.

The winners are as follows:

Bienvenue À Cardiff
By Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Edern
A rousing performance in French involving a dinosaur and time-travel, assisted by what appeared to be a genuine tardis
Zhong Guo Ren: A Few Thoughts
By Luis Martin
A solo performance in Mandarin from a 15 year old who has only been learning it for a year
Si Fuera Verdad...
By Hurtwood House School
A sketch based on the concept of a ‘language pill’ which miraculously enables those who take it to speak fluent Russian, Spanish or French
Further/Higher education
La Gente, Les Bus + Fremdsprachen
By Grace Bentham
Grace Bentham wowed the audience with a multilingual performance, switching effortlessly between French, Spanish and German
Other language enthusiasts
Nuestro Factor X
By Penny Smith
An energetic performance including singing, dancing and hula-hooping
La Ultima Vez
By Ian Howe
A wonderful and polished performance of a song written in Spanish for his late Mexican friend

As a reward for their efforts, the winners will receive a number of exciting prizes, which for the adult winner from the ‘Other language enthusiasts’ category, Ian Howe, consists of a two night stay for two people in a DJH Rheinland hostel in Cologne, Düsseldorf or Bonn. The ‘Further/higher education’ winner, Grace Bentham, will receive an iPad, and all other winners a year’s subscription to Vocab Express and language dictionaries courtesy of Oxford University Press.

Justin Sycamore, managing director of Vocab Express and judge on the competition panel says, “It’s been a pleasure to work with the Language Show Live to uncover the country’s most talented and creative linguists. The quality of the entries was phenomenal; narrowing it down to eight finalists was definitely not an easy task! Ultimately, a combination of the very best language skills and the creativity used to demonstrate this was what distinguished the winners, and on behalf of the judging panel I’d like offer my congratulations to the winning individuals and schools. Celebrating other languages and cultures through competition is an integral part of what we do at Vocab Express and I really hope to see the Strictly 1000 Words competition back once again next year.”

Bernardette Holmes, campaign director at Speak to the Future, added, “The quality of the performances by finalists was truly inspirational and demolishes the myth that the British cannot learn other languages. Yes we can! We are extremely grateful to the Language Show Live for organising the competition, and to Vocab Express and Oxford University Press who sponsored prizes and took part in the judging.“

October 2014