Are You being Served? 1972
Are You Being Served, started life as an episode in the long running BBC Comedy Playhouse series.
Set in the men’s and women’s departments of the fictional Grace Brothers Department Store, Are You Being Served ran for sixty nine episodes and ten series from 1972 to 1985.
The idea for the show came from Jeremy Lloyd’s brief period working at a department store – Simpsons of Piccadilly in the early 1950s.
Over it’s twelve year run John Inman, Frank Thornton, Nicholas Smith, Mollie Sugden and Wendy Richards were the only cast members to star in every episode.
Are You Being Served was voted 20th in a BBC poll to find Britain’s best sitcom.
In February 2016 the BBC announced plans to bring the show back as a one off special with a new cast (the originals having all passed away).
The show followed the day to day comings and goings of the staff of the men’s and women’s departments of Grace Brothers. The humour came from sexual innuendo, misunderstandings, mistaken identity and occasional slapstick.
More laughter was provided by sight gags. These gags were generated by outrageous costumes which the staff were sometimes required to wear for store promotions. There was also gaudy store displays and frequently malfunctioning robotic mannequins.
The show will perhaps always be best remembered for its prolific use of double entendres.
Mr Humphries – John Inman
Mr Lucas – Trevor Bannister
Mr Grainger – Arthur Brough
Captain Peacock – Frank Thornton
Mrs Slocombe – Mollie Sugden
Miss Brahms – Wendy Richard
Mr Rumbold – Nicholas Smith
Young Mr Grace – Harold Bennett
This cast stayed the same for the first five series after which new characters came and went. The first to leave was Arthur Brough, he had a number of replacements for his position as head of department. They were:
Mr Tebbs – James Hayter- series 6 and the 1978 special
Mr Goldberg – Alfie Bass – series 7 – the 1979 special
Mr Grossman – Milo Sperber – series 8 episodes 1 – 4
Mr Klein – Benny Lee – series 8 episodes 5 -7 and the 1981 special
Mr Humphries got the job in the final series. Other characters that appeared in the later series were:
Old Mr Grace – Kenneth Waller – series 8 and 1981 special
Mr Spooner (he replaced the Mr Lucas Character) – Mike Berry – series 8 -10
Created By: Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft
Written By: Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft
with contributions from Michael Knowles and John Chapman
Original Transmission Dates: 8th September 1972 – 1st April 1985
As with many 1970’s comedies there was a movie made in 1977. A sequel, written by the same writers and featuring several members of the original cast, Grace and Favour ran for two series in 1992 and 1993.