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Are You Being Served?

By Bret Fetzer

Are You Being Served? created a standard for the British sitcom. When the Ladies' Department of Grace Brothers store is forced to share a floor with the Men's Department, the stage is set for delightful battles between men and women, senior and junior staff, and management and employees. The show was originally conceived as a vehicle for Trevor Bannister as the irreverent Mr. Lucas, a junior salesman who sardonically punctures the store's rigid hierarchy; but it soon became clear that mocking the established order isn't half as funny as taking it very seriously--with all the delicious pettiness that results. Mincing Mr. Humphries (the effervescent John Inman) and imperious Mrs. Slocombe (comic powerhouse Mollie Sugden) swiftly became audience favorites, ably backed up by snooty, lecherous Capt. Peacock (Frank Thornton), affable Miss Brahms (Wendy Richard), and curmudgeonly Mr. Grainger (Arthur Brough). That these talented performers cultivated a engaging comic rapport is no surprise, but it's constantly amazing that the writers were able, over dozens of episodes, to find inventive but believable new spins on the department store scenario, turning security cameras, daffy sales promotions, and even malfunctioning Christmas decorations into brilliant comic set-ups. The later series continued to be enjoyable even after the loss of several of the original cast members, but the first five series (which originally aired from 1972 to 1977) have the perfect balance of prickly personalities. A gem of a show, well deserving of the reverence of its rabid fans.

Ground floor perfumery, stationery and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, going up!" This long-running and well-loved favorite was penned by the multi-award winning writing team David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd, creators of Dad's Army, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, and countless more. It is set in an old-fashioned department store where its loyal, but decidedly eccentric, staff serve up schoolboy humor laden with double entendres. Featuring Mr. Humphrey's celebrated catchphrase; "I'm free!"

See Also: Are You Being Served - The Movie


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Check out our Are You Being Served? forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other Are You Being Served? viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

British Comedy is what first attracted me to Public Television. I must say that "Are You Being Served" is the best I have seen. The entire cast make the enjoyment flow like a well orchestrated opera. They are a match made in heaven, and I wish the English language contained the words to let all of them know how special they are, but as it doesn't, I can only say "Thank You, you are loved."


Note: This is just a random sample of the Are You Being Served? messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!



Aired: 1972-1985

Cast: John Inman (Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries), Mollie Sugden (Mary Elizabeth 'Betty' Slocombe), Trevor Bannister (Mr. Lucas), Frank Thornton (Captain Stephen Peacock), Wendy Richard (Shirley Brahms), Arthur Brough (Ernest Grainger), Harold Bennett (Mr. Grace)

Network: Syndicated

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of the BBC

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