Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Mind Your Language (1977-79, 1986)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

At a college of further education, students spend their break time in the canteen. Sid, the caretaker, asks the tea lady, Gladys, to lend him some money. She cannot, and Sid attempts, unsuccessfully, to borrow money from the students. When he attempts to swindle one of the students with a corrupt card game, he is outwitted, and loses his last pound.

An English class for foreign students recommences. One student, Ranjeet, apologises to the teacher, Mr Brown, for his lateness. He has been working all hours to raise money for the airfare to visit his mother in the Punjab, as a birthday surprise for her. He now has an envelope containing enough money for the ticket, which he entrusts to Mr Brown for safekeeping until the following day. Mr Brown slips the envelope into his jacket pocket.

Mr Brown leads the students in a debate about positive and negative aspects of contemporary television. Numerous misunderstandings ensue as the students argue about the topic, while Mr Brown attempts to retain control of the class.

Later, on his way home, Mr Brown asks a colleague, Miss Courtney, if she will post a letter for him. Reaching for it in his jacket, he unwittingly drops the envelope containing Ranjeet's money. Later, Sid finds the money and decides to keep it.

The next day, Mr Brown apologetically confesses to Ranjeet that he has lost his money. Ranjeet is very upset.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Brown sees Sid swaggering along the corridor smoking a cigar. Sid reveals that he found the money. Relieved, Mr Brown takes back the envelope. However, Sid has already bet £100 of the money on a horse race. Mr Brown and the students rush to the betting shop for the racing results. The horse wins the race, but is disqualified following a steward's enquiry. Ranjeet is inconsolable. Mr Brown enlists the help of the students to raise the lost money. They take to the streets, where they successfully employ various moneymaking schemes. The £100 is replaced.

Back in class a few days later, Mr Brown thanks the students for their efforts before discussing the poor standard of their homework. An Indian woman interrupts proceedings. Mr Brown assumes she is a new student, but she is, in fact, Ranjeet's mother, who has come to England to surprise Ranjeet. Ranjeet, however, has already caught a flight to India.