Are You Being Served? (1972)

Directed by
Ray Butt
,
Bob Spiers
,
John Kilby
,
Martin Shardlow
,
Bernard Thompson
,
Gordon Elsbury
,
Harold Snoad

The hilarious antics in the Grace Brothers' Department Store entertained millions of viewers around the world.

Shown between 1972 and 1985, 81 episodes were made along with a film in 1977. Seven years after the original series finished, a sequel - Are You Being Served? Again! - was produced, with just 13 episodes made.

Grace Brothers Department Store was situated in London. The sitcom followed the antics of the staff in the Gents' Ready Made Clothes department and Ladies Intimate Apparel which, due to reorganisation, shared the same floor of the shop. Set at a time when Womens' and Men's clothing sections were normally miles apart, neither department was happy with this arrangement, although eventually they managed to get along.

Headed by the balding Mr "Captain" Steven Peacock (Frank Thornton), the Gents' Ready-Made was staffed by the wonderfully camp Mr Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries (John Inman) and the young and reckless Mr "Dick" Lucas (Trevor Bannister), while the Women's Apparel was run by the formidable purple-haired Mrs. Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Jennifer Rachel Yiddell Abergavenny Slocombe (Mollie Sugden) and her young assistant Miss Shirley Brahms (Wendy Richards).

Other members of the Grace Brothers staff included Old Mr Grace (Kenneth Waller), Young Mr Grace (Harold Bennett), senior clothing salesman Mr Grainger (Arthur Brough) and manager Mr Cuthbert Rumbold (Nicholas Smith). And all the young scantily clad executive secretaries that come and go from the Rumbold and Grace offices. A new janitor - Mr Harman (Arthur English) - freshened things up from series four onwards, but the show was definitely poorer without Mr Lucas, who departed after the seventh series.

A brilliant and hilarious British sitcom, it may look dated today, but still packs in the laughs. For those sensitive to political corectness, be aware that the show pulls no punches with sex/race/culture/politics (militant unions), or religion. But that was typical Britain in the 1970s.

A comedy classic. Enjoy.

Written by , , ,

Genre: Sitcom

Running Time: 35 minutes (approx)

Production Year: 1972

Rating:
4/5 Stars

Classification: PG Certificate

Production Country: UK

Filmed in Black and White

Main Cast

Mollie Sugden...Mrs. Betty Slocombe
John Inman...Mr. Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries, Mr. Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries/Mrs. Annie Humphries
Image for Frank ThorntonFrank Thornton...Cap. Stephen Peacock
Image for Wendy RichardWendy Richard...Miss Shirley Brahms
Nicholas Smith...Mr. Cuthbert Rumbold, Mr. Cuthbert Rumbold/Mycroft Rumbold
Trevor Bannister...Mr. Dick Lucas, Mr. James Lucas
Arthur English...Mr. Beverley Harman, Mr. Harry Harman
Harold Bennett...Young Mr. Grace
Arthur Brough...Mr. Ernest Grainger
Vivienne Johnson...Mr. Grace's Nurse
Penny Irving...Miss Bakewell, Mr. Grace's secretary
Mike Berry...Mr. Bert Spooner
Larry Martyn...Mr. Mash
Doremy Vernon...Canteen Manageress
Freddie Wiles...Goddard, Porter
Candy Davis...Miss Belfridge
Alfie Bass...Mr. Harry Goldberg
Kenneth Waller...Old Mr. Henry Grace
Hilda Fene...Daphne, Elsie, Ivy
Stephanie Gathercole...Mr. Rumbold's Secretary, The secretary