“Many Happy Returns” is the fourth episode of the second season of Mind Your Language. It was first broadcast on the 28th of October 1978.
The episode starts with the students taking a tea break while Sid asks them to lend him some money and plays Find the Lady with Max. Ranjeet arrives late for class because he has spent the entire day and night working three different jobs. His mother is turning 60, so he’s been saving up money to fly home and visit her and gives it to Mr. Brown for safekeeping. Miss Courtney is heading to the post office after school, so Mr. Brown gives her a letter to post. As he does, the envelope containing Ranjeet’s money falls on the ground, and Sid finds it. Gladys advises Sid to send it to the police station, but he ignores her saying “finders, keepers” and uses some of it for gambling and cigars.
Mr. Brown heads to Miss Courtney’s office to tell her about the missing envelope. She calls Ranjeet in so Mr. Brown can tell him about it, and Ranjeet tears up, thinking that he will not be able to visit his mother. Sid approaches and tells Mr. Brown about the envelope, not knowing it is the one he is looking for, so Mr. Brown accuses him of stealing it. Sid gives the envelope to Mr. Brown, who rushes into the classroom to give it back to Ranjeet, but £100 is missing because Sid bet it on a horse race. Sid heads to the betting shop with Mr. Brown and the students, but the horse he bet on gets disqualified, so they all do various things to raise enough money for Ranjeet to buy his plane ticket. The next day, Ranjeet’s mother arrives at the school; she had planned on surprising him by coming to London. Ranjeet, however, is already on a Boeing 747, which is shown taking off as the episode ends.
Mr. Brown: Right, now for the rest of this evening we are going to have a debate. Now, can anybody tell me what the word “debate” means? And I don’t want to hear anyone say, “Debate is what you put on de fishing line.”
(The students are taking sides for the debate.)
Danielle: Am I good or bad?
Mr. Brown: Bad.
Danielle: Ooh, I like being bad because when I’m bad I’m really good.
Mr. Brown: What are you laughing about, Giovanni? Your answer to the question “Write a sentence using a metaphor” is unbelievable.
Giovanni: But, I did write a sentence using a metaphor.
Mr. Brown: Oh, yes: “Last night I phoned my girlfriend and I metaphor a drink.”
(The other students start laughing at him.)
Ali: Last night, I am seeing somebody being drowned, then shot. And then, they had their heads chopped off.
Mr. Brown: What was that? The Professionals or Starsky & Hutch?
Ali: Tom and Jerry.
Mr. Brown: Ali!
Ali: Yes, please?
Mr. Brown: For your information, a polygon is a term used to describe a figure with angles and sizes, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with a disappearing parrot.
Mr. Brown: Max, the opposite of “antemeridian” is not “uncle meridian” but “postmeridian.”
- The commentator at the betting shop is voiced by Fraser Kerr, who also plays the sergeant in “A Hard Day’s Night”.
- Mrs. Singh was born in late October or early November 1918 if this episode takes place on its air date.
- When Mr. Brown gets Ranjeet’s envelope back from Sid, it contains £130. Unless he got the cigars for free or made exactly enough money gambling to cover their cost, it should have contained less than that.