Are You Being Served? Forever

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About Are You Being Served?

When Are You Being Served? (AYBS? or AYBS for short) first aired in the U.K., it became one of the BBC's most popular shows. Then the show came over to the United States (via PBS) where its success made AYBS an international pheonomen. Now, over 25 years later, it's still enjoying an immense popularity.

AYBS? is a comedy about the adventures of the very dysfunctional staff of Grace Brothers, a fictional London department store. The series focuses on the adventures of the Ladies' Intimate Apparel and the Gentlemen's Ready-Made departments as they try to co-exist peacefully on the same floor. They try. They do not succeed very often: they are too busy plotting mini-ambushes against each other and leading very colorful lives in the workplace...they just don't sell much of anything.

AYBS? original cast included John Inman as Mr. Humphries (arguably one of the most popular characters on the show), the young assistant on the Men's counter whose adventures never cease to amaze the rest of the staff. There is Mollie Sugden as Mrs. Slocombe (arguably the other most popular character on the show), head of the Ladies' department and a woman known for her ever-changing hair colors, her tendency to drink a little much, and her pussy. There is Mr. Lucas, (Trevor Bannister), the Junior Salesman on the Men's Counter who can not seem to either sell a thing for his life or date successfully either. Captain Peacock (Frank Thornton) believes that he is both the ladies man and the dictator of the 4th floor of Grace Brothers. Miss Brahms (Wendy Richard) is the Ladies' Junior who is busy fending off everyone's advances and Mr. Grainger (Arthur Brough) is the grouchy Senior Salesman on the Men's counter who would be very happy offering Mrs. Slocombe a couple of cyanide pills. The cast would evolve over the years to introduce a selection of new characters and a new pecking order--the original show focused around the character of Mr. Lucas but started to evolve more around Mr. Humphries and Mrs. Slocombe.

Are You Being Served? aired in the UK for 10 seasons (from 1972-1985, skipping 2 years). A total of 69 episodes produced. The series spun off into an Australian version of Are You Being Served?, which ran for 2 seasons, Are You Being Served? The Movie, a couple of stage productions, songs, a few books about the series and the people behind it and even an attempt at an American version of the show! (But seriously, do you think anyone other than the originals can recreate such magic?). In the 90s, several original cast members reunited for Are You Being Served? Again (AYBS?A or Grace and Favor in the U.K.) which for the first time, took them out of Grace Brothers and put them to work as the staff of a quaint bed and breakfast in the English countryside. AYBS?A ran for 2 seasons.

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