Are You Being Served? (AYBS for short) is the creation of Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, who created other shows such as 'Allo 'Allo, Come Back Mrs. Noah, and Oh, Happy Band. The show ran for 10 seasons on the BBC, from 1973-1984, for a total of 69 episodes. Are You Being Served? is one of the most popular shows in the U.K., and is now enjoying an immense popularity in the United States. The series spun off into a sequel called Are You Being Served? Again (Grace and Favour in the U.K.) which ran for 2 seasons, an Australian version of Are You Being Served? which also ran for 2 seasons, a movie, a stage production, a couple of songs, a few books about the series and a legion of websites and fanclubs.
The show was set in the fictional department store, Grace Brothers (which was inspired by the real-life department store, Simpson's). The store was run by...the Grace Brothers, Young Mr. Grace (Harold Bennett) and Old Mr. Grace (Kenneth Waller). Both have tastes for wine, women, and song...heavy on the women, though.
Senior management member Mr. Rumbold (Nicholas Smith), known more for his ears than for his managerial talents, manages the 4th floor departments but is perpetually out of touch with reality. Floorwalker Captain Peacock (Frank Thornton) oversees the day to day aspects of the floor with a military rigidness, a snobbish authority...and an eye for a short skirt.
Gentlemen's Ready Made is run by the old rooster Mr. Grainger (Arthur Brough), a rather grumpy old man who would rather offer his female counterparts cyanide instead of coffee. Serving under him is the flamboyant Mr. Humphries (John Inman), who is always willing to drop everything and take an inside leg...and whose social life is a matter of great fascination among the rest of the staff. And if lowly Junior Sales Assistant Mr. Lucas (Trevor Bannister) spent as much energy on making a sale as he does on the female population, maybe he wouldn't have to share a flat with his "crippled old mother".
Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden) is in charge of the Ladies (Intimate Apparel, not the loo), and is a woman who is never afraid to speak her mind. She's also rather interested in pubs and that pussy of hers, Tiddles. Serving underneath her is the beautiful Miss Brahms (Wendy Richard), who spends most of her day fending off advances and listening to Mrs. Slocombe's tales of when Mrs. Slocombe was young.
The fun all begins when, after 20 years of having the entire floor to themselves, Gentlemen's Ready Made is forced to share the space with Ladies' Intimate Apparel. Are they happy to see each other? Nope. Will they co-exist together in peace? Well, you'll have to watch the show to find out!
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