Are You Being Served?

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Are You Being Served? is a British Sitcom that ran from 1972-1985. The show revolved around "Grace Brothers Department Store" and in particular the goings on within the "Gentlemen's Ready-To-Wear" and "Ladies' Separates and Underwear" Departments. A store reorganization forced these two departments to share floor space, and the conflicts that this created set the tone for most episodes. Are You Being Served? showcases a bygone period of time in which the class structure was still very much alive. There was a strict hierarchy within Grace Brothers. Everyone knew their "places" and remained in them, unless, of course, there was a chance for advancement and then it was every man and woman for themselves. A spin-off series of Are You Being Served? was released, called Grace and Favour. Although in the U.S, it was named Are You Being Served? Again!

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Episode Description

1

The Best of 'Are You Being Served?'

When Mr. Humphries' mother is asked to write a book, she and her son stroll down memory lane as they recall his old experiences at Grace Brothers'.

2

Funny Turns: John Inman

A Tribute to British comedy legend John Inman featuring classic clips from 'Are You Being Served?' (including the rarely seen pilot episode) and 'Grace and Favour'. As well as discussing his most famous camp character, Mr Humphries, Inman is also shown in drag performing in pantomime. Co-stars and friends talk affectionately of him and there are excerpts from his lesser-known TV shows including 'Odd Man Out' (1977) and 'Take a Letter Mr Jones' (1981).

3

Funny Women: Mollie Sugden

A Tribute to British comedy legend Mollie Sugden featuring classic clips from 'Are You Being Served?' (including the rarely seen pilot episode) and 'Grace and Favour'.

4

Celebrating Mollie Sugden: An 'Are You Being Served?' Special

A tribute to the legendary actress who brought Mrs. Slocombe to life in AYBS? and Grace and Favour. The special also includes clips from her other series (such as Hugh and I), reminiscences from her AYBS? co-stars, and glimpses into her roles as wife, mother, and expert cook.

5

Are You Being Served?: The Movie

When Grace Brothers closes for redecoration, Young Mr. Grace send the staff on holiday to Costa Plonka, where they find themselves in the middle of a revolution

6

The Story of 'Are You Being Served?' (Documentary)

The Story of Are You Being Served? Chock-full of innuendo, dodgy lifts, occasional customers and much loved regulars, this documentary tells the story of the long-running farce set in the clothing section of a dilapidated department store. It's an affectionate look back at one of Britain's most popular sitcoms, where off camera the veneer of camaraderie concealed an undercurrent of envy and sadness.

7

Pilot (colour restored)

Although the pilot was produced in colour, the videotape was wiped in the 1970s leaving only a 16mm black-and-white film telerecording. In 2009 the pilot episode was restored to full colour using the colour recovery technique previously used for the Dad's Army episode Room at the Bottom. The restored version was first shown on BBC2 on January 1, 2010 as part of an Are You Being Served special night.

8

Comedy Connections - Are You Being Served?

Cast and crew look back at the long-running BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? (1972), which was set in a department store.

9

Wendy Richard - A Life on the Box

From 'Are You Being Served?' to 'EastEnders,' Wendy Richard has lived her life on the Television screen. Now, get up close and personal in this exclusive documentary, featuring interviews with such 'Are You Being Served?' alumni as John Inman, Mollie Sugden and Trevor Bannister!

10

Christmas Crackers

The staff are called to an early morning meeting to decide on ways to boost Christmas sales figures. However, Young Mr. Grace has already decided that all the floor staff will have to wear novelty costumes, something which none of them are too happy about. This is the final appearance of Mr. Mash.

11

The Father Christmas Affair

Grace Brothers decides to have electric Father Christmas models, but this is soon cancelled when they go wrong. Young Mr. Grace then decides to offer £50 to a member of the department, including Mr. Rumbold, to dress up as Father Christmas and give gifts to the children. Young Mr. Grace gets a young boy to decide which one of the staff will be Father Christmas. Meanwhile, Mr. Grainger is worried about his annual performance to entertain the residents of an old people's home. First appearance of The Canteen Manageress

12

Happy Returns

It is Young Mr. Grace's birthday, and the staff sing the traditional birthday song for him and enjoy the traditional free lunch. They later rehearse their cabaret performance for Young Mr. Grace's birthday party, a ballet called The Ballet of the Toys. A professional cabaret troupe will also be performing at the party, and when the troupe arrives, it turns out they themselves will be performing The Ballet of the Toys, which forces the staff to go to Plan B. Last appearance of Mr. Tebbs

13

The Punch and Judy Affair

The Gentlemen's and Ladies' departments become pariahs when they choose not to take part in a company-wide strike. In an attempt to regain favour, the departments stage a life-sized Punch and Judy show to entertain the children of the store's staff. Mr. Humphries directs, Mr. Lucas and Miss Brahms play the title roles, and Mrs. Slocombe brings convincing masculinity to the role of policewoman. Last appearance of Mr. Lucas and Mr. Goldberg

14

Roots?

It is Old Mr. Grace's birthday, and the department want to bring a musical tribute to the Grace family. Mr. Rumbold's brother Mycroft (played by Nicholas Smith in a double role) then sets out to trace the Grace family tree, which leads to Wales, Scotland, Somerset and, ultimately (apparently), deepest Africa. The title of the episode is a nod to the 1977 American TV mini-series Roots, based on Alex Haley's book of the same title, which aired in Britain shortly afterward. Last appearance of Young Mr. Grace, Old Mr. Grace and Mr. Klein

15

You Can't Teach a New Dog Old Tricks

The classic British sitcom returns for a celebratory special. Picking up where Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft's classic comedy left off, the show brings some of the nation's all-time favourite sitcom characters back to life with an all-star cast. It is 1988, and Young Mr Grace is determined to drag Grace Brothers into, well, 1988. But he has a problem on his hands. Mr Humphries, Captain Peacock, Mr Rumbold and Mrs Slocombe all seem to be stuck in another era. A new member of staff, Mr Conway, joins the team. But will he help shake things up, or will he just put a pussy among the pigeons?

16

Beane's of Boston

Beane's of Boston is a pilot episode for a proposed American adaption of the British sitcom Are You Being Served?. Though written by the original writers of the British series and starring John Hillerman, who would go on to fame in Magnum, P.I., the series was not picked up
Episode Description

1

Pilot

A reorganization within the store forces the staff of the Gentlemens Ready-To-Wear Department to share their floor space with the Ladies Department. Mrs. Slocombe, head of the Ladies, and Mr. Grainger, head of the Gents, immediately come to loggerheads over control of the center floor display. Mr. Grainger refuses to take down his trousers and put Mrs. Slocombe's underwear in its place. Undaunted, she goes over his head to Captain Peacock, and then to Mr. Rumbold.

2

Dear Sexy Knickers

Mr. Lucas attempts to send Miss Brahms a love letter suggesting an after-work "get it together". Confusion on who sent the letter and to whom it was intended sets the stage for a lot of misunderstanding. There's also the customers to contend with and Mr. Lucas has a devil of a time fitting them into clothing.

3

Our Figures Are Slipping

The Department figures have taken a dive and so Mr. Rumbold decides to convene a sales conference amongst the staff. Since the meeting is taking place after hours and off the clock, no one is very motivated to provide any solutions. If something isn't done, someone might lose their job, and that someone is clearly Mr. Lucas.

4

Camping In

A transport strike leaves the staff stranded at the store, so Young Mr. Grace offers to let them spend the night on the floor. Tents are set up, but Mr. Lucas has trouble keeping his up. A "campfire" sing along leads to talk of the last World War and the experiences some of them had.

5

His and Hers

Mr. Grainger's trousers are missing, along with the central display. The staff learns that the space was freed up for the "His & Hers" fragrance display. Mrs. Slocombe is outraged that they went her to take down her underwear and put perfume there in its place. The glamorous salesgirl causes stirrings in the trouser department. When it's discovered that free stockings and ties are given out with every scent purchase, both departments formulate a plan to oust the intruder.

6

Diamonds Are a Man's Best Friend

It's pay day at Grace Brothers and the staff realize that their money just doesn't go very far. An opportunity for a bonus arises when a customer loses a diamond and offers a £100 reward. Greed gets the better of everyone, except Mr. Grainger, and soon they're conspiring behind each others backs. Mr. Mash throws a wrench in the search after he damages a jeweled dress, causing a multitude of "diamonds" within the department.
Episode Description

1

The Clock

It's Mr. Grainger's 37th anniversary at Grace Brothers and the Department hosts a celebration dinner for him. It's a time of happiness, and dread, for if he receives a cuckoo clock then it means he's to be retired.

2

Cold Comfort

A fuel shortage grips the country and Grace Brothers, so the stores furnaces are shut down for the day. The staff are freezing and soon develop unique ways to keep warm.

3

The Think Tank

Sales are falling once again and so Mr. Rumbold calls together a "think tank", a suggestion he "borrowed" from Captain Peacock. The staff decide that a fashion show would be the answer, but when Young Mr. Grace won't cough up the dough to hire proper models, the staff are forced to put on the show themselves.

4

Big Brother

There's trouble afoot at Grace Brothers! Someone's been lifting Mrs. Slocombe's skirts and putting their hands in Mr. Grainger's drawers. Shoplifting has struck the store and Mr. Rumbold installs a store detective and a video surveillance system. It goes off track for awhile, as Mr. Rumbold turns into a voyeur and the staff act like they're on television. Ultimately, the staff decide to do in the scheme and prey on Mr. Rumbolds hypochondria to accomplish it.

5

Hoorah for the Holidays

The Store's redecoration plans threaten to interfere in the staffs vacations. Everyone is now expected to take the same two weeks off and there's disagreements on how to handle it. Grace Brother's Tour Group Company offers some package deals, but they are far from First Class.
Episode Description

1

The Hand of Fate

Mr. Humphries begins displaying his ability to read palms and tell the future. He sees that Captain Peacock will soon be "climbing the ladder and wearing a new hat". Everyone takes this to mean a promotion, especially now that there's a vacancy on the Board of Directors and Mr. Rumbold is in line for it. Captain Peacock expects to take Mr. Rumbold's job. The department staff soon all imagine moving up.

2

Coffee Morning

Mr. Grainger is 5 minutes late coming back from his coffee break and this sets in motion a management scheme to monitor all breaks. The staff must sign in and sign out when they leave and return to the department. The department staff revolt and union action is taken

3

Up Captain Peacock

Captain Peacock is celebrating his 20th year at Grace Brothers, and while his request for a raise has been turned down, he has been given a key to the Executive Wash Room and the privilige of eating in the Executive Dining Room. He lords this over the department staff and Mr. Grainger decides to make some trouble.

4

Cold Store

Illnesses strike the Department, and Mr. Lucas decides to fake his to get the day off. His plan backfires as he is assigned to the Ladies Counter as a sort of "quarantine".

5

Wedding Bells

Naughty sayings on her underwear push Mrs. Slocombe to the brink of giving her notice, but then it's discovered that Old Mr. Grace plans to ask a member of the staff to marry him. When he calls for Mrs. Slocombe, everyone assumes she's the one.

6

German Week

Grace Brothers hosts a week long sales event by selling only German goods. The staff, however, find that the German customers they are getting only want British goods. Captain Peacock objects to the "uniform" he's expected to wear and Mrs. Slocombe gets into the German wines.

7

Shoulder to Shoulder

The Ladies Department is temporarily closed due to refurbishing, so Mrs. Slocombe and Miss Brahms are given counter space over in the Gents. However, the men aren't very happy at having to share their area and do their best to make them unwelcome.

8

New Look

An after-hours staff meeting produces an idea to introduce background music and a recorded voice; the only question is--whose voice?

9

Christmas Crackers (1975 Christmas Special)

Mr. Grace has an idea to improve Christmas sales--all the staff are to wear novelty costumes, much to their annoyance.
Episode Description

1

No Sale

When Mr. Grace decides to open the store early, the staff set out to sabotage the new policy.

2

Top Hat and Tails

Mr. Humphries' background as a dance instructor is called upon when the Ladies' and Gents' Wear departments form a team to compete in the inter-store ballroom dancing competition.

3

Forward Mr. Grainger

Mr. Grainger is selected to fill in for Mr. Rumbold while he is away; the staff wonder whether they should take advantage of Mr. Grainger's good nature, only to discover to their horror that he doesn't have one when he sacks Mrs. Slocombe.

4

Fire Practice

After finding that Grace Brothers' fire precautions leave a lot to be desired, Mr. Harman helps out training the staff in fire preparedness and a fireman gives Mr. Humphries a lift.

5

Fifty Years On

After Mrs. Slocombe starts dropping hints that it's her birthday, the staff calculate that she is 50 and plan an appropriate party.

6

Oh What a Tangled Web

Rumors fly when Captain Peacock gets too friendly with Mr. Rumbold's secretary at the Christmas party, and things get really out-of-hand when it seems they might have spent the night together.

7

The Father Christmas Affair (1976 Christmas Special)

When the mechanical Father Christmas proves that it can't be trusted, Mr. Grace offers a bonus for one of the staff to portray the store Santa. Meanwhile, Mr. Humphries and Mr. Lucas attempt to help Mr. Grainger prepare for a song-and-dance show at an old-folks' home.
Episode Description

1

Mrs. Slocombe Expects

The staff have kittens when Mrs. Slocombe announces she's expecting a happy event, but it turns out that it's merely her cat that's pregnant; when she refuses to leave Tiddles unattended, she braves the ire of Captain Peacock by smuggling the cat into the ladies' fitting room.

2

A Change Is as Good as a Rest

When Mr. Grace announces that he plans on temporarily reorganizing the departments, the staff are indignant, but find that work can be a lot of fun...if you're working in the toy department.

3

Founder's Day

To celebrate Mr. Grace's 80th birthday, the staff organize This is Your Department, a spoof of This is Your Life.

4

The Old Order Changes

Young Mr. Grace returns from a trip to the U.S. with a host of new sales techniques that he is eager to implement.

5

Take-Over

The staff prevent another firm's hostile takeover of Grace Brothers by impersonating the shareholders. Mr. Harman gives a rousing speech, and Grace Brothers is saved.

6

Goodbye Mr. Grainger

Mr. Grainger's temper as become extremely short. The staff, in a private meeting with Mr. Rumbold, decide he must go. However, when he wins the lottery, his bad mood vanishes and he makes his peace with the staff and stays on.

7

It Pays to Advertise

The staff star in a TV commercial for Grace Brothers, produced by Mr. Humphries. Could Mr. Grace's cheapness be the reason for using his staff in such fashion?
Episode Description

1

By Appointment

The new head of men's department is introduced and the staff prepare for a possible royal visit.

2

The Club

Young Mr. Grace invites his workers to form a social club - in a dismal cellar badly in need of decoration. Undeterred, the staff tackle the paint and paper job with vigor.

3

Do You Take This Man?

Mrs. Slocombe thinks she's finally got her man, a bouzouki player in a Greek restaurant. The staff plan a reception at the store to help keep costs down, and her American uncle plans on giving the happy couple a house. Before they can leave for the church, however, the best man arrives with bad news, forcing Mr. Tebbs to don the garb of a Greek vicar and Mr. Humphries that of the bridegroom.

4

Shedding the Load

Sales figures are down; profits are low. Young Mr. Grace is forced to make some economies. The threat of redundancies is looming. Someone is going to have to go - but who is it to be?

5

A Bliss Girl

A new display of perfume arrives from Bliss, but there is no Bliss Girl to man the counter. Mrs. Slocombe refuses the position, so Mr. Humphries becomes the Bliss Girl for the day.

6

Happy Returns (1978 Christmas Special)

It is Young Mr. Grace's birthday, and the staff sing the traditional birthday song for him and enjoy the traditional free lunch. They later rehearse their cabaret performance for Young Mr. Grace's birthday party, a ballet called The Ballet of the Toys. A professional cabaret troupe will also be performing at the party, and when the troupe arrives, it turns out they themselves will be performing The Ballet of the Toys, which forces the staff to go to Plan B.
Episode Description

1

The Junior

Mr. Goldberg is hired as a junior after having recently run his own small tailoring business. To Captain Peacock's chagrin, the staff learn that Mr. Goldberg had served under the Captain but recalls those army days differently.

2

Strong Stuff, This Insurance

The staff must take physicals to get insurance. Listening through the door of Mr. Grace's office, they hear Mr. Harman describing the state of the furniture, which they misunderstand as being the results of their physicals.

3

The Apartment

By permission of Mr. Grace, Mrs. Slocombe moves into a display apartment in Grace Brothers, because her new home is occupied by squatters. Due to a transport strike, Mr. Humphries seeks to join her in her new accommodations.

4

Mrs. Slocombe, Senior Person

Mrs. Slocombe temporarily takes the place of Mr. Rumbold, who has taken ill, and she discovers the job isn't what she expected.

5

The Hero

Captain Peacock is challenged to a boxing match by a member of another department. He backs out, and Mr. ""Hugger"" Humphries is "" elected"" to take his place in a wrestling match. He loses that match, but Mrs. Slocombe enters the ring and defeats the challenger.

6

Anything You Can Do

The standard of the canteen food of Grace Brothers is rapidly going from bad to worse. After confronting the catering workers with their complaints, the staff are told to get on with the food preparation on their own.

7

The Agent

Mr. Goldberg runs an agency to get the staff better jobs. After Captain Peacock and Mr. Rumbold become aware of this, Mr. Humphries and Mrs. Slocombe are given raises, and decide to stay with the store.

8

The Punch and Judy Affair (1979 Christmas Special)

When the staff of the Ladies' and Gents' departments don't participate in a strike, relations between them and the rest of the store's employees become understandibly bitter. In order to improve the mood, the staff presents a life-size Punch and Judy show for the other employees' children.
Episode Description

1

Is It Catching?

The staff contract a strange tropical illness, Marine's Disease, from Mr. Humphries. They are quarantined in the basement until the disease has passed.

2

A Personal Problem

Captain Peacock's wife works at Grace Brothers, as Mr. Rumbold's secretary. He is intensely jealous and is absolutely convinced that the two of them are having an affair.

3

Front Page Story

Mr. Humphries is made editor of the new staff magazine. The 1st Floor staff is not pleased with the stories he writes about them causing friction in the relations between floors.

4

Sit Out

The staff go on strike after being threatened with a pay cut or being moved to the bargain basement. They stage a protest on the roof which doesn't go as plannedc.

5

Heir Apparent

Old Mr. Grace becomes convinced that Mr. Humphries is his long-lost son.

6

Closed Circuit

Grace Brothers has decided to enter the video age and display advertisements on closed circuit television throughout the store. Meanwhile, there is a new face in Menswear.

7

The Erotic Dreams of Mrs. Slocombe

Mrs. Slocombe has dreams in which she and Mr. Humphries become romantically embroiled. When she attempts to turn fantasy into reality, the situation becomes most difficult to handle.

8

Roots? (1981 Christmas Special)

The staff decide to obtain a coat-of-arms for Old Mr. Grace's 90th birthday, but problems arise when they're unable to figure out exactly from where his ancestors came.
Episode Description

1

The Sweet Smell of Success

The staff find they have to start paying more for lunch and Mrs. Slocombe tries to make some side money by selling her home-made perfume.

2

Conduct Unbecoming

Captain Peacock continues to flirt with Mr. Rumbold's new secretary while Mr. Humphries leaves his mother's home and is accused of stealing.

3

Memories Are Made of This

When the sports goods are temporarily relocated to the mens & ladies floor, Captain Peacock tries out some golf equipment and accidentally hits Mrs. Slocombe. She then thinks she's a little girl, wrecking havoc on the store as she cavorts around the department.

4

Calling All Customers

The staff perform a play on CB radio to advertise Grace Brothers.

5

Monkey Business

Bad news. Grace Brothers may be bought by the Japanese. The staff take their problems to Number Ten, where they contact President Reagan by the phone. Mrs. Thatcher gets fashion tips from Mr. Humphries.

6

Lost and Found

When Mrs. Slocombe's cat turns up missing, she decides that only Mr. Humphries could take its place.
Episode Description

1

Goodbye Mrs. Slocombe

Mrs. Slocombe is forcibly retired from her position. and tries out various posts around the store while the others have to deal with her replacement.

2

Grounds for Divorce

When Captain Peacock tries to salvage his marriage, he resorts to radical measures to discourage an admirer.

3

The Hold Up

When the store is robbed late one night, the staff determine to capture the burglars themselves.

4

Gambling Fever

Security cameras are again installed at Grace Brothers, and when the staff bet their bonuses on a horse race, it's up to Mr. Humphries to mime the race to them by closed-circuit.

5

The Night Club

When Old Mr. Grace decides to allow the staff to use the store for after-hours money-making, they decide to open a nightclub. However, the advertising campaign has some rather unexpected results.

6

Friends and Neighbours

When traveling to and from work becomes difficult, the staff threaten to resign unless they receive a travel allowance. Old Mr. Grace offers them the empty apartments on the top floor as living space, but they soon discover cohabitation isn't what it's cracked up to be.

7

The Pop Star

This episode we find Mr. Spooner is about to be discovered by a record company. One problem is that his voice keeps giving out. Mr. Humphries gives him a tonic and he recoveres for a little while. While auditioning on tv with Grace Brothers Staff, his voice gives out.