Mind Your Language was a British sitcom about an EFL teacher to a stereotypical collection of students.
It was made in 1977 and ran for two years averaging huge audiences (over 18 million per episode) but because of the offensive stereotyping, it was cancelled.
Let’s see, we had…
- a sexy French girl
- a macho Italian man
- an “efficient” and hard German au pair
- a camera toting Japanese who says, “Ah-so” to everything
In fact, if you want to look at the picture of the cast you can play the game of identifying where each person comes from guessing from their banal stereotypical dress.
Once you’ve done that you can watch the very first episode below. For the purposes of research I watched it all; I smirked twice, grimaced, and then began to understand why the 70s were so rubbish.
Some gems from the series include:
Ingrid: Swedish girl are the beautifullest.
Danielle: (rolls eyes) Trouble with Swedish girl: they are too big in ze bosom.
Ingrid: French woman too big in the mouth.
Miss Courtney: You’re a real male chauvinist pig.
Miss Courtney: Pig.
Sid: Oh, you’ve met the wife, have you?
With gems like that, I’m surprised it’s not still running today!
Please don’t get me started.
I know this is a TV show and I know it’s not based on reality, but aside from every every stereotype in the book, the teaching holds every cliche in the book. In the first episode he starts to teach them and all I can say is… no, I won’t bother saying it…
The strange thing is that it was so popular, not only in the UK but also abroad.
- This show was remade in India as Zaban Sambhal or Talk with Care where students from various parts of India learn Hindi.
- It was also made in the US as What a Country!
- And in Nigeria as Jami’ar Albarkawa and Sri Lanka as Raja Kaduwa! and Kenya as Classmates.
- In addition to India, it was sold to a number of other countries including Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Singapore.
- The sexy Swedish student was played by Anna Bergman, daughter of Ingrid Bergman.
A First English Lesson for Beginners – how you should teach a first lesson
TEFL on Film – exactly what it says: TEFL in cinema and on television