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Are You Being Served? 

TV-PG | | Comedy | TV Series (1972–1985)
The misadventures of the staff of a retail floor of a major department store.
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Popularity
1,136 ( 109)

Episodes

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Years



10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1985   1983   1981   1979   1978   1977   … See all »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Mollie Sugden ...  Mrs. Slocombe 69 episodes, 1972-1985
John Inman ...  Mr. Humphries / ... 69 episodes, 1972-1985
Frank Thornton ...  Captain Peacock 69 episodes, 1972-1985
Wendy Richard ...  Miss Brahms 69 episodes, 1972-1985
Nicholas Smith ...  Mr. Rumbold / ... 69 episodes, 1972-1985
Trevor Bannister ...  Mr. Lucas 48 episodes, 1972-1979
Arthur English ...  Mr. Harman 48 episodes, 1976-1985
Harold Bennett ...  Young Mr. Grace 46 episodes, 1972-1981
Arthur Brough ...  Mr. Grainger 34 episodes, 1972-1977
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Storyline

This quintessentially British sitcom is about Grace Brothers, a department store in London which is owned and kept traditional, almost pre-war (e.g. precise dress code for ladies frills and gentlemen's hats according to rank), by two brothers who look old enough to have fought in the Boer war but rarely appear, as most scenes play on one floor where Mr. Cuthbert Rumbold is the executive (meaning he enjoys an endless parade of foxy but stupid secretaries) in charge of management while his dignified floor walker, Captain Stephen Peacock, has daily charge over two small sales teams. The bossy, implicitly man-hungry widow Mrs. Betty Slocombe supervises the attractive Miss Shirley Brahms (with a terribly common Cockney accent) -with first choice of customers, on commission- the sale of women's clothes and accessories; the sales star at the gentleman's side is Mr. Wilberforce Clayborne Humpries, an implied closet-gay true gentleman, whose successive superiors are first obviously nearly ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

I'm Free !

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Are You Being Served? See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(69 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The show was initially conceived as a starring vehicle for Trevor Bannister (Mr. Lucas), following his popularity on the ITV sitcom The Dustbinmen. See more »

Goofs

Throughout the series, the entire staff of the floor takes breaks together. That would mean that the entire floor would be closed due to lack of employees during break times. Indeed, one episode specifically deals with this problem. Mr. Grace feels that they are losing too much business during this hour, and pushes the lunch break back to later in the afternoon, leading the staff to hit the roof. See more »

Quotes

Miss Brahms: I want some excitement, I want to do something with my life. I'm looking for Dallas and all I'm getting is Coronation Street.
Mr. Humphries: You're lucky. All I'm getting is Jackanory.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits were preamble with the caption, "You have been watching" followed by each actor, either breaking the fourth wall to the camera or still in character relating to the episode. Sometimes, like the episode "Camping In", this would include the customer shown in the store at night, long after it was closed, since the episode ended with the store employees spending the night in the store. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest Christmas Moments (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Hilarious Mollie Sugden and John Inman... Priceless
15 April 2010 | by drednmSee all my reviews

ARE YOU BEING SERVED had a long run on British TV, from 1972 to 1985. This groundbreaking series paved the way for many other famous Brticoms. But this one was the first to feature a gay character and delighted audiences with its naughty and unending double entendres.

Set in a dismal department store, Grace Brothers, the basic plot revolves around the sales people in the ladies' and gents' departments, forced to share floor space. Of course there are other store employees and many hapless customers. This basic structure saw something like 69 episodes filmed over 13 years as well as many cast changes.

The series was first seen as a starring vehicle for the swinging bachelor, Mr. Lucas, played by Trevor Bannister. As the junior sales clerk in the men's department, Lucas was always short of money and anxious to get out of the store to chase "birds." But after a few episodes two other characters emerged from the pack as audience favorites.

The blowzy Mrs. Slocombe, played by Mollie Sugden, was a middle-aged woman with an ever-changing hair color. She could switch between Cockney and Posh accents in a heartbeat and was often the butt of Lucas' crude jokes. Mrs. Slocombe had an alarming habit of referring to her "pussy" but was always blithely unaware of how these stories were taken by others.

The character of Mr. Humphries, played by John Inman, embraced many gay stereotypes but at heart he was a sweet and non-threatening character. Like Mrs. Slocombe, he had his own set of double entendres, but he winkingly made it known he knew exactly what he was saying.

Other main characters included the pompous floorwalker, Captain Peacock, played by Frank Thornton; the busty sales girl Miss Brahms, played by Wendy Richard, the crusty senior sales clerk, Mr. Grainger, played by Arthur Borough, the dim manager, Mr. Rumbold, played by Nicholas Smith, and the ancient store owner, Young Mr. Grace, played by Harold Bennett.

There were also crude maintenance men, Mr. Mash, played by Larry Martyn, who was succeeded by Mr. Harman, played by Arthur English, and a series of busty-but-dumb secretaries.

After Bannister left the series and Borough passed away, there was a series of replacements for these characters but none were terribly successful. Pop star Mike Berry had a decent run as Mr. Spooner, "the junior," and a series of actors had turns replacing Borough as "the senior." Alfie Bass, James Hayter, Benny Lee, and Milo Sperber all had short runs.

Over all the years, however, the hearts of the series were Mollie Sugden and John Inman. Both were superb comic actors who were game for just about anything. Anything here meant outlandish costumes (Inman often in drag), musical numbers, dances, and knock-about slapstick comedy that was done live and apparently in front of an audience. Sugden was often asked to wear ridiculous costumes, ranging from rompers to lederhosen. Inman even appeared as his own mother.

The bottom line is that this series was silly but sweet. Its crude language and situations were easily forgiven because the actors were so damned good. Like a handful of other TV classics, ARE YOU BEING SERVED has never stopped running. This was a famous import for PBS) along with other Britcoms) and became a staple of that network.

The show was so popular, it spawned a 1977 movie in which the gang all go on holiday together. There was also a sequel series called GRAVE AND FAVOUR or ARE YOU BEING SERVED AGAIN? In which Sugden, Inman, Thornton, Richard, and Smith all retire to the country and run a hotel (owned by Grace Brothers) in exchange for free board.


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