One of British television comedy's most loved products, Are You Being Served?
was first broadcast in 1973
, and concluded in 1985
Set in the ficticious Grace Brothers Department Store (kind of a downscale Harrods), most of the script revolved around the goings-on of the "Gentlemens Ready-To-Wear" and the "Ladies Separates and Underwear" departments, which were forced to share floorspace. Many best-loved gags had something to do with Mister Humphries taking his gentleman customer's inside leg measurements, or the loudly stated happiness (or otherwise) of Missus Slocombe's pussy.
The show was carried by the marvellously talented John Inman (as the camp Mr Humphries, with his trademark cry "I'm free!"), Mollie Sugden as the acting-above-her-station Mrs Slocombe, and Frank Thornton, as the posh and dashing Captain Peacock (snigger!)
The music-hall comedy style of this classic series provides a time capsule of British comedy writing-style of the 1940s blended with the great Benny Hill's mastery of cheeky and saucy double entendre of the early 1970s.
The show's creators and principal writers were the team of Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, who also wrote for Allo! Allo! and the show's poorly received sequel Grace and Favour.
The show's cast (alphabetically) were:
Trevor Bannister as Mr. James "Dick" Lucas
Alfie Bass as Mr. Goldberg
Harold Bennett - Young Mr. Grace
Mike Berry as Mr. Bert Spooner
Arthur Brough as Mr. Ernest Grainger
Arthur English as Mr. Beverly Harmon
James Hayter as Mr. Tebbs
John Inman as Mr. Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries
Vivienne Johnson as Nurse
Benny Lee as Mr. Klein
Larry Martyn as Mr. Mash
Wendy Richard as Miss Shirley Brahms
Nicholas Smith as Mr. Cuthbert Rumbold
Milo Sperber as Mr. Grossman
Mollie Sugden as Mrs. Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Slocombe
Frank Thornton as Captain Stephen Peacock
Doremy Vernon as Canteen Manageress
Kenneth Waller as Old Mr. Grace
Research sources include TV Tome and Thames Television