Mind Your Language

From Teflpedia

Mind Your Language (/ˈmaɪnd jɔ:(r) ˈlæŋ(g)wɪʤ/) was a British sit-com set in a language school in London in the United Kingdom. An important example of ESL in popular culture, it focuses on an English as a Second Language class taught by Mr Jeremy Brown (played by Barry Evans) who is employed to teach a diverse group of rather stereotypical foreign immigrants.

The series was broadcast on ITV in 3 series 1977 – 1979 with a further series in 1986. There are 38 episodes.

Characters[edit | edit source]

As with most sit-coms, there are a group of characters who appear in situations every episode. The main character is Jeremy Brown, who serves as the audience surrogate. He is a young teacher, with a degree in English from Oxford. The series’ main antagonist is Brown’s misandrous boss, Miss Courtney. The other British staff are the caretaker Sid and the tea lady Gladys.

The students main students in series 1–3 are:

  • Giovanni Capello (George Camiller) — an Italian chef
  • Anna Schmidt (Jacki Harding) — a German au pair
  • Juan Cervantes (Ricardo Montez) — a Spanish bartender
  • Ranjeet Singh (Albert Moses) — an Indian transport worker.
  • Danielle Favre (Françoise Pascal) — a French au pair.
  • Ali Nadim (Dino Shafeek) — a Pakistani.
  • Maximillian Papandrious (Kevork Malikyan) — a Greek
  • Jamila Ranjha (Jamila Massey) — an Indian housewife
  • Tarō Nagazumi (Robert Lee) — a Japanese electronics executive
  • Chung Su-Lee (Pik-Sen Lim) — A Chinese Embassy worker.

Analysis[edit | edit source]

Apart from suffering somewhat from the problematic sitcom flaw of often not being especially amusing, there is some good comic acting especially from Dino Shafeek, who tragically died during the series’ run.

The series reflects the prevailing societal attitudes in that it’s not politically correct — it’s actually fairly racist and sexist. Its creator, Vince Powell, started writing it after his previous sit-com, Love Thy Neighbour[1] was cancelled in large part due to its own racial issues. The characters are mainly stereotypes. In some mitigation, it may be noted that all the characters are stereotyped, including the principle British characters, and that all such characters frequently demonstrate positive personal attributes. It also provided exposure to characters of colour, played by actors of colour, who were underrepresented in TV at that time. However, its racist and sexist nature means it is unlikely to be repeated on mainstream TV.

Despite featuring stereotyped characters from those countries, ironically it was (and even remains) popular in India and Pakistan.

An American adaptation was made in 1986 as What a Country!

References[edit | edit source]

  1. //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Thy_Neighbour_(sit-com)

External links[edit | edit source]