Are You Being Served, 2016
To celebrate 60 years since Hancock’s Half Hour first hit TV screens, the BBC launched a season of remakes and updates of classic sitcoms. One of which was Are You Being Served?
As with the exception of one (Mike Berry playede Mr Spooner in the final series) the original cast are no longer with us, a whole new cast step up to the plate to recreate one of Britain’s best loved sitcoms. The original started life in 1972 as an episode of the long running BBC series Comedy Playhouse before returning as a full series in 1973. Ending in 1984 it managed ten series (imagine that these days).
Kicking off (well sort of MRs Brown did that back in July) the long awaited BBC Landmark Comedy Season and picking up not long after the original finished (1988), we catch up with the staff of Grace Brothers. Mr Grainger has come out of retirement to avoid spending time with Mrs Grainger, there’s a new junior member of staff in the form of Mr Conway, otherwise it’s business as usual. But that’s the problem: young Mr Grace is determined to drag Grace Brothers into the present (1988). His only problem is “the first floor” who are firmly stuck in the past.
How Does It Compare To The Original?
Jason Watkins – Mr. Humphries
Sherrie Hewson – Mrs. Slocombe
John Challis – Captain Peacock
Roy Barraclough – Mr. Grainger
Kayode Ewumi – Mr. Conway
Niky Wardley – Miss Brahms
Arthur Smith – Mr. Harman
Mathew Horne – Mr. Grace
Justin Edwards – Mr. Rumbold
Jorgie Porter – Miss Croft
Dan Croucher – Ricky (as Daniel Croucher)
Alex J. Phelps – Dan
Created By: David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd
Written By: Derren Litten
Original Transmission Date: 28th August 2016
Panned by the critics and fans of the original alike, it still managed 5 million in the overnight ratings the highest figures this year for a sitcom.
Although enjoyable the jokes seemed more deliberate , almost waiting for an opportunity to deliver one of those classic lines. The cast try hard to emulate the original characters and to be fair to a pretty good job. Roy Barraclough steals the show as Mr Grainger, Sherrie Hewson looks the part, but was never going to deliver the pussy jokes the way Mollie Sugden managed so innocently. Jason Watkins was a little to over the top as he tries to recapture the John Inman magic.
All this aside the show was funny and Derren Litten’s script was a good interpretation. Rumours are circulating about a possible series, don’t, just repeat the original, after all would you recreate Only Fools And Horses?