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Review: Mind your language (TV comedy series)

Mind Your Language is a British comedy about Jeremy Brown, a language teacher given the task of teaching English to an eccentric bunch of foreign students. This article reviews the show that ran from 1977 to 1986 on ITV in the UK.

About the show

Cultural stereotypes and cultural differences Premièred in 1977 on ITV, Mind You Language focuses on the story of Jeremy Brown, the somewhat unfortunate teacher selected to teach English as a Foreign Language to a mishmash of foreign students living in London. The show draws its humour from the student's comical misunderstandings of the English language, which refer in great part to the cultural stereotypes of each student's nation. The show was directed by Stuart Allen and produced first by LWT (London Weekend Television) and later by Granada Television. With characters representing all corners of the globe, the show was able to touch on the lighter side of cultural differences.
Episodes Mind Your Language seasons 1 and 2 take place within the classroom and revolve around the students sitting for, failing and retaking exams. In contrast, seasons 3 and 4 incorporate episodes outside of the classroom, including events such as school trips and fetes. The final season was screened on Granada in 1986.

The cast and characters

The characters appearing in the Mind Your Language episodes are made up of four staff members of the school plus a host of students, each originating from a different country. The school's staff are the class teacher Jeremy Brown (Barry Evans), headmistress Ms Dolores Courtney (Zara Nutley), caretaker Sidney (Tommy Godfrey) and dinner lady Gladys (Iris Sadler).
Social backgrounds of students Students from the school came from China, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan Spain and Sweden. They represented all walks of life and social backgrounds, from embassy employees to bartenders and au pairs. Notable actors playing the roles of the students include Francoise Pascal who starred in There's A Girl In My Soup with Peter Sellers. In addition, Robert Lee, who played Japanese Taro Nagazumi, has since been a frequent figure in numerous British and American TV series.

Additional show information

Offensive stereotyping
In 1979, following the end of the third season, Mind Your Language was cancelled by Michael Grade of LWT as he felt that the show's content contained offensive stereotyping. However, regardless of these beliefs, the show was successfully aired in Australia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Singapore, among other countries. Zabaan Sambhalke Mind Your Language has also been the inspiration for various international adaptations. The Hindi sitcom, Zabaan Sambhalke proved to be extremely popular with Indian audiences. The full episodes of all the seasons can be watched at Side Reel (Sidereel.com).

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