The definitive British sitcom is almost certainly Are You Being Served?
, which depicts the squabbles, misadventures, and flirtations of the staff of Grace Brothers department store. The show was originally conceived as a vehicle for an irreverent junior salesman named Mr. Lucas (Trevor Bannister), but it soon became clear that mocking a social hierarchy isn't half as funny as taking it all too seriously. The show really revolves around Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden), whose wildly changing hair colour and mercurial moods terrorize the rest of the staff, and cheerful but sly Mr. Humphries (the effervescent John Inman), one of the first gay characters on television treated with dignity--or at least no more indignity than anyone else (the show makes some noise about not being sure if Mr. Humphries is gay or not, but no one in the audience will have any question). But the rest of the cast is superb as well: Frank Thornton as the elegant but leering floorwalker Capt. Peacock, Wendy Richard as the sexy, impish Miss Brahms, Arthur Brough as cantankerous Mr. Grainger (who, sadly, died after the fifth series; other characters took his position on the sales staff, but never quite matched up), and Nicholas Smith as the self-serving but incompetent manager Mr. Rumbold form a comic ensemble that has rarely been equalled.
These characters, written with affection and played with superb comic dash, endlessly jockey for status and salary while simultaneously creating an alternative family. Are You Being Served?
deserves its devoted fan base, who will revel in this comprehensive box set. --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com
Are You Being Served was broadcast for 13 years, from 1972 to 1985. It was set in the department store, Grace Brothers and was written mainly by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft. The idea for the show came from Lloyd's brief period working at Simpson's of Piccadilly in the early 1950s, a clothing store which traded for over 60 years until 1999. Are You Being Served starred Mollie Sudgen, John Inman, Wendy Richards and Arthur English. Welcome to Grace Brothers, an ailing department store where the management are beginning to show signs of wear and the staff are clashing! Featuring all episodes from Series 1 - 10 including the Pilot episode and 5 Christmas Specials, The Complete Package also features over 3½ hours of bonus content unique to this collection. With the staff up to their necks in shop floor scandal and shenanigans, prepare for magnificent displays of scheming, high jinks and dressing up as well as the usual impeccable if unconventional service from Mr "I'm Free" Humphries, Mrs Slocombe with the outrageously dyed bouffant hair, naïve Miss Brahms, haughty Captain Peacock and the rest of the Grace Brothers staff. Sit back and indulge in hours of endless innuendo, hilarity and mischief with the staff from Grace Brothers department store...