TV Draft Round 10 – Pick 1 – Max Selects – Are You Being Served?

A fun British sitcom that aired from 1972-to 1985. This comedy is not subtle…it’s obvious and in the open. The three UK sitcoms I’ve watched the most are Fawlty Towers, The Good Life, and Are You Being Served. My favorite by a mile is Fawlty Towers but this one is a lot of fun.

The show is about a department store called Grace Bros. owned by the elderly Grace brothers. It is operated with the old British class system. The show highlighted the Menswear and Womenswear departments and also the Floor Walker the pretentious Captain Peacock. It also featured the incompetent floor manager…Mr. Rumbold. As far as the class system…it’s hard to believe that once upon a time this was in effect. 

The Women’s department was run by Miss Slocombe. A lady that is known for her hair color changing every day and the love of her pussy cat…they get a lot of mileage out of that. She tries to elevate herself over the working class but that is just what she is. Her assistant is the young very pretty Miss Brahms who talks with a cockney accent and is proud of being thought of as working class.

What happened to the original cast of Are You Being Served?

The head of the Men’s department is Mr. Granger who is older and near retirement and seems to be in a sour mood most of the time. Two more men work in the department… The junior in the department is Mr. Lucas who is always late and flirting with Miss Brahms, never has money, and always has to wait his turn before he can serve anyone and make money because the other two men have seniority, the other man is Mr. Humphries…probably the most popular character of the show. He hints at being gay every episode but never comes out and says it…this is really played up…remember it is the 70s. The writers go for the obvious jokes many times but it’s still funny.

The Grace brothers owned the store and “Young” Mr. Grace was in fact not young at all. He is quite stingy and he always had a very young attractive girl by his side. Overall though a nice older man. 

The maintenance men Mr. Mash and Mr. Harmon were great. They would make the devices to advertise the merchandise. Sometimes the machine they made would blow up or show some naughty things to the customers. They were union and they thumbed their nose at higher-up staff.

Mix these personalities and you got a funny show. The purpose of the sitcom basically was to expose the class system and parody it.

The customers that shopped at Grace Bros department store usually left disappointed. The phrases I remember the most are “Are you free?” and while having a customer try on pants that obviously don’t fit…You would hear an employee say don’t worry” They’ll ride up with wear.”

Some of the cast left and past away during the run of the show. They were replaced with different characters and the show went on. When the show ended in 1985 a spin-off was made called Grace and Favour.

The core cast was strong, and the show was very good until the start of the 80s like most shows, they were reaching more for stories and repeating themselves. In 1979 when Trevor Bannister who played Mr. Lucas left it started to go down.

I wouldn’t compare this to Fawlty Towers because Fawlty Towers was better written… but this is a fun sitcom nonetheless. I remember watching it when I was young being broadcast on PBS. It is worth a watch if you like British humor.

The sitcom had 69 episodes and a movie in 1977… well, you can say 70 episodes because in 2016 a new episode was made with different actors playing the same characters but it fell flat. 

The original show is still popular in syndication after all of these years. 

The Cast

Mollie Sugden - Wikipedia

Mollie Sugden – Miss Slocombe

Are You Being Served?: S5

Frank Thornton – Mr. Peacock

John Inman - Wikipedia

John Inman – Mr. Humphries

Miss Brahms - Wikipedia

Wendy Richard – Miss Brahms

Nicholas Smith (Actor) ~ Life Story & Biography with Photos | Videos

Nicholas Smith – Mr. Rumbold

Trevor Bannister - Wikipedia

Trevor Bannister – Mr. Lucas

Temporary Layoffs - The World of TV: Are You Being Served? Week: This is  Your Department- Part Two

Arthur Brough – Mr. Grainger

young mr grace (@digitalpeacock1) / Twitter

Harold Bennett – Young Mr. Grace

Larry Martyn

Larry Martyn – Mr. Mash

British Comedy: Are You Being Served? list

Arthur English – Mr. Harmon

The Percival Tebbs Memorial Roadside Attraction

James Hayter – Mr. Tebbs

Alfie Bass

Alfie Bass – Mr. Goldberg

Are You Being Served? (UK) 10x07 The Pop Star - ShareTV

Mike Berry – Mr. Spooner

Kenneth Waller

Kenneth Waller – Old Mr. Grace

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

22 thoughts on “TV Draft Round 10 – Pick 1 – Max Selects – Are You Being Served?”

  1. Need to check this out Max. Never heard of it til today. Monty Python of course I watched along with Benny Hill when I was in high school which was on late at night.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I used to watch it quite a lot in 80s on PBS. My Mom (British) loved it. Nowhere near as smart as Fawlty Towers but it did make me laugh. I had no idea it ran so long, I think I only saw ones from first three or four seasons, with original cast. I haven’t checked but I doubt PBS would run it these days, far too politically incorrect (and lord help us if they try to remake it, no doubt Humphries would be ‘out’ and the staff would greatly respect and admire that, and Ms Brahms would file multiple complaints to HR about Mr Lucas’ ogling…)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That DID remake it and it flopped with a new cast. It wasn’t Humphries they cut out…it was Mr. Lucas! It was so vanilla no one watched it. They tried to revive it but of course it was bland.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was so tied to the times (mired in the times?) A reboot was never going to work as its humour relied on a mind set that is passed on, it is no more, it has ceased to be… oops, moved on to another Brit show there, sorry!
        It all became a bit wearisome; After a while Mrs Slocombe next pussy cat joke was signaled by the sniggering on the laugh track starting up before the camera had even focussed on Mollie Sugden’s close-up. It became too routine.
        I’m amazed it lasted so long. Or as Mr Humphries might say, ‘Ooooh, I’m amaaazed it lasted so long!’

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wasn’t the British class system gone by the time they made this? I was wondering how relevant it was at the time.
        Fawlty Towers was superior no doubt…another one I liked was “A Good Life” with Felicity Kendal
        The Are You Being Served remake was set in the 80s but they acted pretty much like it was today.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL…We will figure out where to go next. Mike has said he wanted to do something also.
        It’s going to be good for me to take a week off break on music posts! Well I won’t be off completely but you guys are doing the hard work lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yea….it would have to be in fall or January…this should have been done in April or May if things would have worked out.

        I announced it on my music post today…no more music posts until July 4….so that Is 7 days I’ll get with no posts except the TV posts…which are fine.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Don’t worry about it, Lisa! lol…I just wanted you to not look for a post from me tomorrow except our TV post. I should have done more of this all along.
        I’m behind as usual also

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This show was hilarious. As I understand it, the cast was very close and remained so, long after the show was over. Watch it long enough, and they feel like family. Georgia Public Broadcasting showed this back-to-back on Saturday night with “Keeping Up Appearances” with Patricia Routledge and “As Time Goes By” with Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…from what I read they were really tight with each other. It was a funny show. I do remember Keeping Up Appearances.

      I remember some BBC shows on our PBS. This one, A Good Life, Fawlty Towers, and of course Dr Who.

      Liked by 1 person

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