The Best Things in Life – Mind Your Language
“The Best Things in Life” is the fifth episode of the first season of Mind Your Language. It was first broadcast on the 27th of January 1978.
Mr. Brown and his students are role-playing doing various things, like going to the bank and seeing the doctor. Mr. Brown is wanted at the police station as Jamila is suspected of shoplifting, and it turns out that she took a magazine which she thought was free. Mr. Brown and Ali go to the police station to explain the misunderstanding and Mr. Brown unsuccessfully tries to bribe the police sergeant. In the meantime, Miss Courtney takes charge of the class.
Jamila brings Mr. Brown and Ali back to her place and it seems that there is more stuff she took, having misunderstood the meaning of “free offer”. Mr. Brown decides that he and the students will put the things back without the supermarket knowing as Miss Courtney meets up with them. She asks what they are doing, to which Mr. Brown replies that they are doing an extracurricular activity to avoid suspicion. Just as they are about to finish, Max is unable to get a jar out of his coat pocket and Mr. Brown helps him out, but accidentally knocks over a stack of cans. Mr. Brown and the others are caught by the supermarket manager and end up at the police station. Mr. Brown explains the misunderstanding once again along with Miss Courtney, but the sergeant doesn’t believe them as there’s enough evidence. The sergeant attempts to file a police report and asks the students their names, only to get silly answers as Ali says that “Watt is not his name.” Much to his annoyance, the sergeant stops the report and asks Mr. Brown to promise never to bring the students back, even if they commit a crime.
Back at the school the next day, Miss Courtney and Mr. Brown are approached by a salesman, who tells them that Jamila hasn’t paid for a minibike she ordered last month. As he shows them a coupon she sent in for it that advertises a “7-day free trial”, Jamila is seen riding the bike through the corridor.
(Mr. Brown is doing role-plays with the students.)
Mr. Brown: Good morning, sir.
Taro: One moment-o.
Mr. Brown: What is it now?
Taro: Are you Barclays-o or Midland-o?
Mr. Brown: Doesn’t matter. Midland, if you like. Good morning, sir.
Taro: Goodbye. (Bows and walks toward his seat.)
Mr. Brown: Goodbye?
Taro: (Turns to face Mr. Brown.) Midland-o not my bank-o. Barclays-o my bank-o.
Danielle: How much it is a letter to post?
Mr. Brown: Uh, is it to somewhere in England?
Danielle: No, it is a Swiss letter.
Mr. Brown: A Swiss letter?
Danielle: Yes, I write to my boyfriend in Switzerland.
Mr. Brown: Yeah, well, it’s more correct to say that you want to send a letter to Switzerland, not a Swiss letter. It could be rather embarrassing if you were writing to someone in France.
Mr. Brown: Are you married?
Juan: Sí. I married to, uh…Gina Lollobrigida!
(The other students laugh.)
Mr. Brown: Don’t be ridiculous.
Ranjeet: Good morning, doctor.
Mr. Brown: Good morning. And, uh, what seems to be the trouble?
Ranjeet: I have terrible pain.
Mr. Brown: Whereabouts?
Ranjeet: In my imagination.
Miss Courtney: Now, can anyone tell me what the population of England is?
Anna: Ja, English.
Miss Courtney: Mr. Nagazumi.
Taro: Ah so.
Miss Courtney: Can you tell me how many p’s there are in a pound?
Taro: Depend on size of peas.
Police Sergeant: You.
Ali: Yes please.
Police Sergeant: What is your name?
Ali: Oh no, Watt is not my name.
Police Sergeant: I don’t want to know what your name is not. What is your name?
Ali: And I am telling you it is not.
Police Sergeant: You, what is his name?
Police Sergeant: Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Mr. Nine.
Anna: That is not his name.
Police Sergeant: You just said it was.
Anna: You asked me if his name is Vot and I tell you nein, Vot is not his name but also not Nine.
Police Sergeant: What is his name?
Ranjeet: Absolutely not.
Police Sergeant: Not what?
Ranjeet: That is correct.
Police Sergeant: What is your name?
Ranjeet: Wrong again!
Giovanni: He’s-a not here.
Police Sergeant: Who’s not here?
Police Sergeant: Pardon?
Max: Who is not here and Watt is not here neither.
Police Sergeant: You’re all barmy. Mr. Brown, if I promise not to proceed with this report will you do me a favour?
Mr. Brown: Yes. What is it?
Police Sergeant: Get these crackpots out of here and promise never to bring them back even if they’ve committed murder.
- This episode happened to air on 27 January 1978, the same day the UK recorded their record number of arrests in a single day.
- Midland Bank is no longer around. It was succeeded by HSBC Bank.
- Ali is from Pakistan and Jamila is Indian, but he is able to understand what she says at the police station. (She still doesn’t know much English at this point.)
- The supermarket manager is played by Harry Littlewood, who also plays the zoo attendant in “Guilty or Not Guilty” and Henshawe in Season 4.