Are You Being Served?
Original Broadcast Dates
8 September 1972 Ė 1 April 1985
Croft & Lloyd
Are you Being Served? is a quintessentially British sitcom about Grace Brothers, a family-owned department store in London (loosely based on the old department store, Simpsons of Piccadilly, where Jeremy Lloyd once worked.) Grace Brothers is owned by two brothers who look old enough to have fought in the Boer War, but rarely appear, as most scenes play out on one floor where Mr. Rumbold is the executive in charge of management.
His haughty floorwalker, Captain Peacock (who purportedly fought in the North Africa Campaign of World War II) has daily charge over two small sales teams; the Ladiesí wear & accessories department and the Gentlemenís wear department.
Ladiesí wear is fronted by the bossy, implicitly man-hungry widow Mrs. Slocombe who supervises the eye-catching Miss Brahms (a young, attractive, working-class, cockney-speaking junior assistant). The sales star on the gentleman's side is the effervescent Mr. Humphries, whose successive superiors are first nearly retired Mr. Grainger, and later in the series formerly independent Mr. Grosman. The successive cheeky juniors are Mr. Lucas and Mr. Spooner. A regular visitor, (interestingly the only manual labourer, but apparently also the best paid!), is union representative Mr. Harman from the warehouse.
The show will be remembered for humour based on sexual innuendo, prolific use of double entendres, misunderstandings, mistaken identity and occasional slapstick as well as classic gags generated by outrageous costumes which the characters were often required to wear for store promotions, and the garish store displays frequently featuring malfunctioning robotic mannequins!
- A remix of the theme was released in 1996 by a dance act calling itself "Grace Brothers", and featured samples of John Inman and Frank Thornton.
- In 1977, an Are You Being Served? film was released using the same characters and cast.
- In 1992, most of the original cast reunited for a spin-off show called Grace & Favour. This series was called Are You Being Served? Again! in the United States and Canada.
- An Australian version, also called Are You Being Served? ran for sixteen episodes from 1980 to 1981 and starred John Inman as Mr. Humphries.