TV Cream

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Mind Your Language

An emergency meeting of the United Nations - of laughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!“PLEASE, LET us have no racialism!” Cheery bah-bah-bah theme tune capped with animated big-heads-on-little-bodies was truly the only thing worth celebrating about this multi-nation mitherfest. As with LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR, supposed mass bigoted conspiracy dwarfed by the fact it just didn’t contain any decent gags. BARRY EVANS was your hapless evening class instructor, trying to unite one and all in the pursuit of a decent conjugation. Look away now: students included representatives from China (man with slit eyes), France (woman with striped jumper), Germany (man with temper), India (man with wobbly head), Japan (another man with slit eyes), Pakistan (man with sing-song voice), Spain (man with twirly moustache) and Sweden (woman with huge breasts).

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Martin M

    September 6, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Proof, along with Love Thy Neighbour, that it’s all about how funny a comedy show is, not how ‘PC’ or ‘non-PC’ it is.

  2. B B Beyer

    September 6, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Whaddya mean, no decent gags? I well remember the following priceless exchange, even after 30 years:

    Barry Evans character: “You do you know what a dialect is, don’t you?”

    Johnny Foreigner [the Italian one?]: “Sure! I’ve-a seen it on-a da telly! Doc-o-tor Who and the Dialects!”

  3. Arthur Nibble

    September 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

    If Francoise Pascal’s wearing a striped jumper in that picture, I’ll eat 50 hard boiled eggs in one sitting a la Cool Hand Luke!

  4. nugget

    January 25, 2010 at 7:36 am

    *SIGH* – you’d think the compiler of this website didn’t actually like british tv. Shows you how much you know about MYL – there was no ‘Chinese man’ in the cast, thought there was a chinese woman. I don’t remember TV Cream being this political. Have you gone through a revamp with different people?

  5. Adrian

    January 25, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Love Thy Neigbour & Mind Your Language: The terrible twins of 1970s ‘comedy’.

  6. Lee James Turnock

    May 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Memorably parodied in End Of Part One as ‘Mind Your Foreigners’!

  7. Applemask

    July 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm


    nugget:

    *SIGH* – you’d think the compiler of this website didn’t actually like british tv. Shows you how much you know about MYL – there was no ‘Chinese man’ in the cast, thought there was a chinese woman. I don’t remember TV Cream being this political. Have you gone through a revamp with different people?

    They’re quite clearly going out of their way not to be political, what with their insistence that the important thing is that it was a shit and awful rather than its subject matter per se. Which it was.

    • Applemask

      March 17, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Oh, and there was a Chinese man in the inexplicable 1986 revival. Called Fu Wong Chang.

  8. Joanne Gray

    February 19, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    The German character was in fact a woman – although she was stereotypically humourless and bossily efficient and robitic, even down to standing to attention and clicking her heels when asked a question in class.

  9. Droogie

    February 20, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Yes indeed. No German man in this show. Just a ruthlessly efficient lady with Germanic hair plaits. The Chinese person was a lady too – in uniform and always quoting from Chairman Mao’s little red book

  10. Droogie

    April 24, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    I’ve been researching Barry Evans for a project and was gobsmacked to discover how popular and beloved this show was overseas. Looking at comments on Youtube clips on the show, a lot of folk who attended EFL classes think this a brilliant parody of how tricky learning English as a 2nd language can be. A friend of mine had some Swedish friends around his house one evening when Channel 4 screened the !00 Worst TV Moments show and Mind Your Language was featured. A clip of Barry trying to teach describing the weather to his students to his class was shown, and the Swedish folk thought it hilarious – not out of hipster irony but because they genuinely found it funny from their own experiences of learning English.

  11. Glenn Aylett

    April 24, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Of its time and probably cringeworthy to watch now, but was it any worse than some of those awful suburban sitcoms of the era that had the same plot, middle aged, middle class couple, nice house in the suburbs, probably Tory voters, teenage kids who were very slightly rebellious, not many jokes. Most of these seemed to either vanish after one series or managed to last a few years as the ratings were OK and they clicked with their core audience on BBC1( No Place Like Home comes to mind).

    • Droogie

      April 24, 2021 at 9:47 pm

      @Glenn Aylett . You’re correct. There were shitloads of dull middle class sitcoms around that time. Even as a kid, I could still enjoy watching repeats of classics like Steptoe & Son or Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads for the superior scriptwriting about characters you cared about. I never ever got excited about watching the likes of That’s My Boy or Don’t Wait Up.

      • Glenn Aylett

        April 25, 2021 at 2:02 pm

        @ Droogie, can’t even remember if Don’t Wait Up or No Place Like Home were ever repeated after the eighties, and most of the Thames suburbacoms sank without trace after one series. However, the surrealness of some Terry and June episodes saves this from the suburbacom scrapheap.

        • Richardpd

          April 25, 2021 at 10:02 pm

          While used as a textbook example of a bad sitcom, at least Terry & June had enough self conscious craziness to make it step above the normal suburban sitcoms.

          Luckily by 1990 this style of sitcom was more or less moribund, as it was almost impossible to take them seriously.

          • Droogie

            April 26, 2021 at 12:14 am

            @Glenn Aylett and @Richardpd I agree that Terry and June went into some hilariously bonkers moments trying to stay contemporary with current fads of the time, be it disco dancing or CB radio. One later episode was meant to be about Terry getting addicted to a Pac Man type video game called Space Jewel Chomper (!) The script exists, but the filming of the show never happened.

          • Richardpd

            April 26, 2021 at 11:38 am

            June dressing up as a punk was another attempt to seem trendy, though it was a few years after punk had been mainstream.

            Another late in the day change was Terry swapping his Austin Princess for a Ford Sierra.

  12. Richardpd

    April 24, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    I’ve heard the show was popular with people who learnt English as adults.

    My Dad reckoned he could identify with the Dad from No Place Like Home in the years after it was shown & my Brother & Sister went university, came back home to live for a few years then move out again.

  13. Glenn Aylett

    April 26, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    For truly awful sitcoms that the critics massacred, surely Bottle Boys must beat Mind Your Language, as it arrived about ten years too late, was written by the same scriptwriter as Love Thy Neighbour, had Robin Confessions Askwith in the lead role, and had every stereotype going. Seeing the few clips available on You Tube, it’s like a sitcom car crash and strangely addictive.

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