Are You Being Served?

Are You Being Served? castThis very British sit-com was one of my favourite programmes as a child. It ran from 1972 to 1985 but it was the mid-to-late Seventies where it peaked, in my opinion anyway. The programme was set in a fictional department store, Grace Brothers, and the main characters were the staff of this store.

Mrs Slocombe was my favourite character because she put on a posh air but you could see that she was really quite common. She also kept changing the colour of her hair which became ridiculous. She was played by Mollie Sugden who remains one of my all-time favourite actresses.

According to Wikipedia, the main basis of the humour was an attack on the class system, from the upper class management and the uppity Captain Peacock to the lowly Arthur English caretaker. Mrs Slocombe’s attempts at upward mobility, which included putting down Miss Brahms her busty assistant (played by Wendy Richard before she took on the role of the matron in Eastenders), are an example of this.

The humour also relied heavily on double-entendres and even as a child I caught on to a lot of these, though I’ve a feeling that many passed me by. Mrs Slocombe’s pussy was not one that I missed!

John InmanI also loved Mr Humphries ‘I’m free!’ played by the fabulous and unfortunately late John Inman. I believe that he was the first openly gay actor playing an openly gay character that I saw on TV, and recognised as such. However, according to Wikipedia, the character was not openly gay but was effeminate and never expressed his orientation. I disagree with this because it was obvious to everybody and the jokes were obvious. I don’t see why a person has to say I AM GAY for it to be expressed. After all, they don’t have to say I AM HETEROSEXUAL for that to be assumed.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

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