Mind Your Language is a British comedy television series originally shown on ITV between 1977 and 1979. Produced by LWT and directed by Stuart Allen, it is set in a school for adult students in London, focusing on the English as a Foreign Language class taught by Mr. Jeremy Brown, portrayed Barry Evans, who had to deal with a motley crew of foreigners. A new version of the show with some of the original cast aired in 1986.
The series focuses on the English as a Foreign Language class for adult students in a London school. The classes take place in the early evening, and are taught by Mr. Jeremy Brown (Barry Evans), though on occasion other individuals take over the class if Mr. Brown is not available. The class consists of foreigners with varying degrees of English proficiency, with no two students from the same country (with the exception of Jamilla Ranjha and Ranjeet Singh, who come from two very different regions of India). The humour of the show is derived from the students misunderstanding English words or terms, and plays up to the cultural stereotype of their individual nation of origin.
Season One takes place over a full school year, starting with Mr. Brown being hired by the Headmistress Miss Courtney, and ends with the students sitting for their Lower Cambridge Certificate. Season Two begins at the start of the next school year, with all ten previous students returning after having failed their exam, and two new students joining them, for a total of twelve. The exams were less stressed on as time went by. This was reflected in the show's setting; Season One and Two primarily took place within the classroom, but the later seasons explored settings outside of the school.
More recently the show has been criticised for unimaginative racism and political incorrectness, but in its day the show was popular with people of many backgrounds because of its light-hearted take on multiculturalism and because it gave some otherwise unrepresented minorities a television presence, albeit represented as caricatures.
- Series One (13) 30 December 1977-24 March 1978 · Friday 7p.m.
- Series Two (8) 7 October-25 November 1978 · Saturday mostly 6p.m.
- Series Three (8) 27 October-15 December 1979 · Saturday mostly 6.45p.m.
- Series Four (13) 4 January-15 December 1986
- Giovanni Cupello, portrayed by George Camiller, is an Italian cook as well as the class' loudest student and de-facto class monitor. On the frequent occasions when Mr. Brown is called out of class, Giovanni is the one who takes charge of the class. He is best friends with Max, who is also (eventually) his flatmate. Giovanni's main English problem is understanding metaphors and large words, though he often answers wrongly on purpose to amuse the class. He is attracted to Danielle, though as the series progresses she becomes more like an accomplice rather than an infatuation. Like all those who dwell in London, he picks up slang faster than he does proper language. He is also very emotional and cries every time Mr. Brown leaves or declares he is leaving.
- Anna Schmidt, portrayed by Jacki Harding, is a stereotypical 1970s German and is often portrayed as gruff and stern. In her introduction she refers to "German efficiency", and accordingly Anna is a hardworking student, occasionally asking legitimate questions and as the series progresses, answering Mr. Brown's questions correctly. Her main problem is mixing "V" and "W" sounds.
- Chung Su-Lee, portrayed by Pik-Sen Lim (Season 1 - 3), is a secretary at the Chinese Embassy. She is never seen without her red book of Mao, which she often quotes from, much to Mr. Brown's displeasure. She constantly juxtaposes her "Rs" and "Ls", although her English is arguably the best in the class. Early in the series, she had a fierce ideological rivalry with Taro, her Japanese classmate. Although she is often regarded as fierce, she is kind and thoughtful to her friends.
- Taro Nagazumi, portrayed by Robert Lee (Season 1 - 3) is a Japanese electronics representative. He has a reasonable command of English, but has a habit of adding "-o" to every word he says. He also bows to Mr Brown every time he stands, often resulting in the teacher repeating the gesture and hitting something. Early in the series he is at odds with Su-Lee due to Japan and China's own political differences in the 1970s. He is never seen without his camera and takes pictures of people for money. His classic reply is the Japanese "ah so?" (really?).
- Jamila Ranjha, portrayed by Jamila Massey (Season 1 - 3), is an Indian housewife from Bombay. When she first joins the class she can barely speak English, and needs Ali to translate her Hindi. She improves significantly as time goes on, but frequently returns to speaking in Hindi when it suits her. She is constantly knitting cardigans, though she is rarely seen wearing them. She does not participate in the Ali-Ranjeet feud as she is a Christian.
- Maximillian A.A. Papandrios, portrayed by Kevork Malikyan (Season 1 - 3), is a Greek shipping office worker, and is often paired with Giovanni. He is attracted to Danielle but as the show progresses the three became a gang of sorts. His personality is almost identical to Giovanni and the two rarely fight in the series, except over girls and, once, over ethnic slurs. Like many of his classmates, Max tends to misunderstand metaphors and large words. He also has heavy accent, which causes him to add "H" to almost every word he says.
- Juan Cervantes, Ricardo Montez, is a Spanish bartender with an optimistic streak. Juan is always laughing at himself, and is always confident of his answers even when they are completely wrong. Early in the series Juan spoke almost no English, and answered everything with "por favor" (please), necessitating Giovanni to translate some key terms for him. Juan's English improved as the series went on. He cares a great deal for Mr. Brown, whom he considers almost family.
- Ranjeet Singh, portrayed by Albert Moses, is a Tube worker from Punjab in India and a very devoted Sikh. He constantly argues with Ali, who is a Pakistani Muslim. He tends to mix up his general knowledge, and upon being corrected he always puts his hands together for "a thousand apologies". He carries a kirpan, with which he has threatened to assassinate anyone from Ali to Mr. Jarvis the woodwork teacher.
- Danielle Favre, portrayed by Francoise Pascal (Season 1 - 3), is an amorous French au pair who instantly grabs the attention of all men, including Mr. Brown. Her good looks often distract Giovanni and Max from their answers, while Mr. Brown is often found in seemingly incriminating positions with her. She is annoyed when Ingrid Svenson joins the class, instigating a rivalry for Mr. Brown's attention. She is a good friend to fellow au pair Anna and the two often spend their weekends together. Owing to her job, her spoken English is acceptable and her general knowledge fair, though her main problems lay in grammar theory.
- Ali Nadim, portrayed by Dino Shafeek (Season 1 - 3), is one of the first students that Mr. Brown meets at the school. He is originally from Lahore, Pakistan. Never seen without his Jinnah hat, he is the most vocal of the students and often literally misinterprets everything said by others. As a Pakistani Muslim he has a vocal and occasionally physical rivalry with Ranjeet, who is a Sikh (Indian). By the middle of Season 2, although they continue to argue, Ali's rivalry with Ranjeet becomes less malicious, and they are on occasion able to work together without complaint.
- Ingrid Svenson, portrayed by Anna Bergman (Season 2 and 4), is a Swedish au pair who joins the class at the beginning of Season 2. She is attractive and straightforward about her attraction Mr. Brown, sparking a rivalry between her and Danielle. She transfers schools at the end of Season 2, but returns in the independently produced Season 4.
- Zoltán Szabó, portrayed by Gabor Vernon (Season 2), is a Hungarian student who only appears during Season 2. He has a very basic level of English and requires a phrasebook for everything. He picks up slang quickly, most of which comes from Giovanni and Juan. Zoltán is a romantic at heart, and enjoys singing sad Hungarian ballads.
- In the fourth season, Mr. Brown and Miss Courtney were still at the school, as were Anna, Giovanni, Ingrid, Juan and Ranjeet. New students included Maria Papandrious, portrayed by Jenny Lee-Wright, Michelle Dumas (Marie-Elise Grepne), Farrukh Azzam (Raj Patel), and Fu Wong Chang (Vincent Wong).
Mind Your Language was a British comedy series originally shown on ITV, between 1977 and 1979. Produced by LWT, it was set in a language school in London, with the late Barry Evans as the embattled night school English language teacher for a motley crew of assorted foreigners.
The series was known for its humorous take on national stereotypes: the German woman was dour and humourless; the French woman was sexy and flirtatious; the Swedish woman was liberated and straightforwardly sex-mad; the Chinese woman a rampant Maoist; while the Sikh and Pakistani men were often on the brink of war, and the Spaniard, the Greek and the Italian were macho. Much of the humour also stemmed from the trouble the students had with the English language, their often outrageous speech patterns and the students' hilarious mispronunciations of English. In the politically correct days of the late 1990s the show was criticised, but in its day the show was popular with people of many backgrounds because of its light-hearted take on multiculturalism and because it gave some otherwise unrepresented minorities a television presence.
Ali Nadim (Pakistani) : "Squeeze me please!", "Oh Blimey!", "Jolly Good","U damn fool!"
Giovanni Cupello (Italian) : "Santa Maria!", "Holy Ravioli!"
Maximillian Papandrious (Greek) : "Hokay!"
Jamila Rahjha (Indian) : "God heavening!"
Deloris Courtney (the prim-and-proper English headmistress) : "MISS Courtney, if you don't mind."
Ranjeet Singh (Punjabi - A Sri Lankan acted as Indian) : "A thousand apologies."
Chung Su-Lee (Chinese) : "Chairman Mao, he says..." "The Democlatic Lepublic Of China", "...peace-roving Chinese!"
Taro Nagazumi (Japanese) : "Ah-so" (proceeds forward and bows)
Juan Cervantes (Spanish) : "Por favor?","s'awright", "One fate/fete/fit, Two fate/fete/fit!"
Zoltan Szabo (Hungarian) : "Bocsánat?"
Anna Schmidt (German) : "Wery Good!"
Gladys the tea lady (English) : "Her ladyship wants to see you"
Jeremy Brown (English) : "Is the old dragon in?"
Sid the caretaker (English) : "You sure you got the right cucumber?"
|Barry Evans||...||Jeremy Brown (20 episodes, 1977-1978)|
|George Camiller||...||Giovanni Capello / ... (20 episodes, 1977-1978)|
|Jacki Harding||...||Anna Schmidt (20 episodes, 1977-1978)|
|Robert Lee||...||Taro Nagazumi (20 episodes, 1977-1979)|
|Kevork Malikyan||...||Maximillian Papandrious / ... (20 episodes, 1977-1979)|
|Zara Nutley||...||Miss Courtney (20 episodes, 1977-1978)|
|Jamila Massey||...||Jamila Ranjha / ... (20 episodes, 1977-1979)|
|Ricardo Montez||...||Juan Cervantes (20 episodes, 1977-1978)|
|Albert Moses||...||Ranjeet Singh (20 episodes, 1977-1978)|
|Françoise Pascal||...||Danielle Favre / ... (20 episodes, 1977-1979)|
|Dino Shafeek||...||Ali Nadim / ... (20 episodes, 1977-1979)|
|Pik Sen Lim||...||Chung Su-Lee / ... (19 episodes, 1977-1979)|
|Iris Sadler||...||Gladys / ... (14 episodes, 1977-1979)|
|Tommy Godfrey||...||Sid (12 episodes, 1977-1979)|
|Anna Bergman||...||Ingrid Svenson (7 episodes, 1978)|
|Gabor Vernon||...||Zoltan Szabo / ... (7 episodes, 1978)|
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Sources : Wikipedia