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Politically incorrect British Sitcom that ran between 1977 and 1979. The show was about a hapless class of students learning English as a foreign language. It has been much criticized for its "xenophobic" outlook and heavy use of ethnic stereotypes, but at the time it was appreciated that the show gave actors of colour a bigger presence on TV.
Four main characters worked at the college of adult education where the show is set:
- Jeremy Brown, teacher of English as a foreign language
- Miss Courtney, strict principal of the college
- Sid, the Cockney caretaker
- Gladys, a tea lady with a penchant for gossip
Jeremy's students were:
- Giovanni Cupello, a macho Italian
- Danielle Favre, a sexy French woman
- Anna Schmidt, a humourless German
- Juan Cervantes, a Spanish bartender with hilarious '70s sideburns
- Maximillian Papandrious, a stereotypical Greek
- Jamila Ranjha, an Indian housewife
- Ranjeet Singh and Ali Nadim, an Indian Sikh and Pakistani Muslim (respectively) who constantly fight
- Chung Su-Lee, a fanatical Chinese communist
- Ingrid Svenson, a Swedish nymphomaniac
- Taro Nagazumi, a Japanese businessman
- Zoltán Szabó, a Hungarian with a strange tendency to burst into song
The series was later adapted (unsuccessfully) in the US as What A Country, starring Yakov Smirnoff.
Tropes used included:
- Berserk Button - Miss Courtney's reaction when addressed as "Mrs"
- British Accents
- Catch Phrase - "Oh blimey!", "¿Por favor?", "Okey - cokey", "MISS Courtney!", "Jolly good!", "A thousand apologies"
- Everythings Sexier in French - Danielle
- Fan Service - Danielle and later Ingrid
- Final Season Casting - Many characters left before the fourth series, leaving Giovanni, Juan, Anna and Ranjeet as the only survivors of the original class (though Ingrid was brought back from season two.)
- Funny Foreigner
- Fun with Foreign Languages
- Germanic Depressives - Anna.
- Modern Minstrelsy
- My Local - The characters were rarely seen outside of a school setting, but would often congregate in the college canteen
- National Stereotypes - By the truckload.
- Running Gag
- Stock British Phrases
- Theme Tune Cameo - During the school's talent night.