An "Are You Being Served?" episode

by Michael and Stephen Hill (14)

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Opening credits and theme song
The Lift

The scene opens with Captain Peacock standing snootily as he glances at his watch as the entirety of the staff is yet to arrive.


The lift doors open, revealing Mrs. Slocombe and Miss Brahms, whose umbrella had been blown inside-out by the strong winds outside. Both are quite wet from the pouring rain.

Peacock: Miss Brahms, Mrs. Slocombe; you are three minutes late.

Miss Brahms and Mrs. Slocombe exchange a if he didn't know why they were late...

Brahms: It's this 'orrible weather we been 'aving. 'Ere, its raining like you've never seen and the wind is blowing awfully 'ard.

Slocombe: Yes, Captain Peacock, I agree with Miss Brahms entirely...and I am unanimous in that.

Peacock: Well, come now, what is your reason for your late arrival this morning?

Slocombe: The rain, of course. I had a terrible time last night with my pussy. It was the lightning; the poor cat's hair was standing on end. And the poor thing would not come out from under my bed.

Brahms: Really? 'ow did you ever manage to get i' out.

Slocombe: I didn't...last I saw it, it was still under the bed. I did manage to slip a saucer of milk underneath for it.

Captain Peacock sighs and seemingly accepts their excuses. Miss Brahms and Mrs. Slocombe go to their counter and catch up on their morning gossip, which they always seem to find time for in between customers.

Slocombe: Miss Brahms, make sure during our coffee break that I remember to call my neighbor, Mr. Akbar, so that he can slip a sardine through the letterbox for my pussy. I hadn't a moment of time to feed 'er this morning...with this weather being the way it is, I barely had time to get here.

Brahms: Same 'ere. We rushed to get 'ere and we still was late.

Note: Mr. Humphries and Mr. Spooner are seen arriving during the discussion.

The ladies continue their conversation as the lift fails to "bing". The doors open slightly, revealing a male customer's shoes, and nothing else, as it has gone up too far. Captain Peacock fails to notice the arrival.

Spooner: Mr. Humphries, it looks like we may have a customer.

Humphries: Well we better deal with this one well, with the

rain as it is, this may be the only customer all day.

Customer: (Still trapped in lift) Oy!

Captain Peacock raises an eyebrow and his expression is then replaced by one of anger, as he sees no reason for a member of middle management such as he should have his attention called to anything with "Oy".

Mr. Humphries and Mr. Spooner stand behind the counter, waiting to see what sort of scene shall unravel.

Peacock: Are you being served sir? (He says from his position in the middle of the floor)

Customer: Do you think I am "being served"? (He says mocking Capt. Peacock). How can I be you twit when I'm stuck in this bloody lift?

Humphries: (quietly to Mr. Spooner) It's all go this morning, and it's only a Tuesday.

The male members of staff assist the customer out of the lift (after sending the lift down and back again, this time arriving nearly on target), as Mrs. Slocombe and Miss Brahms watch on.

Mr. Rumbold then enters the floor.

Rumbold: Captain Peacock, Why is the staff crowding around this customer?

Peacock: This customer was trapped in the lift, Sir. We were just helping him out.

Rumbold: Never mind, Peacock. I need to see the staff in my office.

The staff from both the Gents' and Ladies' Departments and Captain Peacock follows Mr. Rumbold to his office.

The customer is left standing in the middle of the floor without anyone to serve him. He presses the lift button, and the doors open. However, our brave customer is forced to struggle to get into the lift, which had stopped at about shoulder's height.

In Rumbold's office:

Mr. Rumbold is seated behind his desk with the staff standing around his desk waiting for him to begin this sudden meeting.

Rumbold: I suppose you're all wondering why I've called all

of you into my office...

Humphries: Funny you should ask. (He smiles displaying his delightful grin)

Rumbold: And why is that Mr. Humphries. (He stares over his glasses expecting another one of Mr. Humphries' outrageous stories).

Humphries: I was just about to ask Captain Peacock if I could be excused from my counter to see you. But just then, a customer got trapped in the lift, and we were all helping him out when you came and called us into your office. So I really came to see you, not you calling me to come see you.

Mr. Rumbold sat behind his desk with his seemingly permanent look of utter confusion.

Rumbold: Get to the point Mr. Humphries!

Humphries: Yes, Sir. I was wondering if I could have a few minutes after my coffee break to see Mr. Walpole in the Sports Department.

Rumbold: I won't ask why, Mr. Humphries...But be quick about it.

Mr. Spooner turns his head and stares at Mr. Humphries. Mr. Humphries half-rolls his eyes and clasps his hands together as if to protect himself (you know how he does)

Slocombe: Just a minute, just a minute. What is it you wanted to see US about, Mr. Rumbold.

Rumbold: Oh, right. Ermm, I'm afraid I forgot what it is I wanted to speak with you all about.

Humphries: (to Mr. Spooner) well, this has been an enlightening meeting.

Brahms: (overhearing Mr. Humphries' comment) D'you 'onestly expect, Ol' Jug-Ears to 'ave his thoughts all together?

Spooner: (to Miss Brahms and Mr. Humphries) Or to have a thought at all.

Rumbold: Now, now. What was it I was going to say? Ah, yes. It has been decided at (pause ~~ glancing upward) boardroom level that new lifts are to be installed and consequently, you will have to use the stairs for now.

Slocombe: The stars!?! It's bad enough we have to stand up all day and now you expect us to use the stairs. The STAIRS!!! Like we were nothing but

common maintenance staff!?!

Brahms: Yeah, they's dead common and there ain't no reason we ought to be treated like we was one of them - I live in a detached 'ouse!

A look comes over Mrs. Slocombe's face, for Miss Brahms is teetering on the brink of common.

Spooner: ~ You can't hide that much common.

Brahms: Did you 'ear that? HE done called me common!

Slocombe: Don't bother Miss Brahms... (She says realizing how right Mr. Spooner was).

Spooner: (to Mrs. Slocombe) you could use the exercise.

Slocombe: Shut-up! Daft boy...and how can you expect me to be climbing up all those stairs?

Spooner: It'll be easier on the way down, Mrs. Slocombe, JUMP!

Peacock: Spooner, you are not to speak to senior members of staff like that!

Spooner: Sorry CORPORAL Peacock.

Captain Peacock stares at him with eyes like daggers.

Peacock: Return to your counter Mr. Spooner.

Mr. Spooner turns to leave the office.

Rumbold: Mr. Spooner, stop!

Spooner: But, I'm only doin' what Captain Peacock had told me to.

Rumbold: Yes, but I have authority over Captain Peacock, and I have not yet ended this meeting.

Slocombe: (to Miss Brahms) That's told him.

Miss Brahms smiled and turned away to hide her giggling.

Peacock: What else do you need to speak to us about, Sir?

Rumbold: Uh, I think that's about it, really. You can all return to your counters.

Everyone leaves the office, only Captain Peacock stayed behind.

Rumbold: You can leave now Peacock.

Peacock: Well, Sir, there's a small matter I wish to discuss.

Rumbold: What is it?

Peacock: Don't ever speak to me in that fashion in front of the staff again!

Captain Peacock turned and exited, slamming the door behind him.

Scene closes and opens up the next morning.

Rumbold enters the floor to find Mr. Harman and a few members of the cleaning staff vacuuming and dusting.

Rumbold: Haven't the staff arrived yet? It's already quarter-after-nine!

A clamor of voices and footsteps is heard in the back ground and then all (including Capt. Peacock!) except for Mr. Humphries and Mrs. Slocombe are seen coming onto the floor from the stairs.

Harman: Uh, they're 'ere now, Sir.

Runbold: I can see that, Harman. Now, clear off the floor.

Harman: Right! C'mon, Doris, Elsie.

The cleaners exit.

Rumbold: (to staff) Where's Mrs. Slocombe and Mr. Humphries?

Brahms: Oh we was gonna wait for 'em, but we din't wanna be too late.

Rumbold: Well, you're all still late, and I can't let this go unnoticed.

Peacock: Honestly Mr. Rumbold, all respect intended, how can you expect us to be here on time?

Brahms: (breaking in) 'ave you eve' tried to catch a bus in the rain?

Slocombe: (still in on the stairs) Mr. Humphries, help me up.

The present staff looks toward the stairs.

Mr. Humphries appears in the doorway dressed in his mountain climbing gear (of pink and violet shades!), pulling on a rope. Mrs. Slocombe (who is attached to the rope) finally climbs the last stair, and is also dressed in mountain climbing gear.

Slocombe: Mr. Rumbold! I refuse to climb those stairs again

Humphries: (to Spooner) I refuse to help her up those stairs again (puts hand on sore back).

Rumbold: Everyone, go to your counters, the store will be opening soon.

They all go to their counters, except Captain Peacock, who stands in the center of the floor.

Later that day:

Spooner: Hey, Mr. Humphries, why did you need to go see Mr. Walpole?

Humphries: Well, me mother and I were planning on joining a rugby team.

Spooner: You mean one that's for both men and women.

Humphries: Yes, there's a whole group of teams in neighboring areas that are neither one way nor the other.

Spooner: That's your kind of game, in't it Mr. Humphries?

Humphries: It is Mr. Spooner...So, anyway, I wanted to see if Mr. Walpole could show me a few positions.

Captain Peacock (overhearing the last bit) pretends he didn't hear Mr. Humphries.

In the Ladies' Department

Slocombe: And if our jumbo, double-elasticized Flexi-Girdle doesn't hold in your figure, don't hesitate to bring it back. Good evening, Madam. (To Miss Brahms) Now where was I?

Brahms: You was just tellin' me about this man you met at the pub with Mrs. Axelby.

Slocombe: Right, so anyway, he was helpin' me up...

Brahms: Did you fall? You didn't hurt yourself did you?

Slocombe: No, no, Miss Brahms. I just had a few Gin and Tonics at the bar. That's where I met him. You see, the glue from me false eyelashes was a bit flaky and I think he thought I was winkin' at him. So we talked a bit and then went to sit at a table. Do you know what I think happened?

Brahms: One too many drinks?

Slocombe (with disgust): Of course not Miss Brahms. I'd never let meself become intoxicated!

Brahms: Well then what was it?

Slocombe: I think the chair had a wonky leg. I sat down, and before I knew it I was on the floor with me drink spilt all over.

Bell signaling the closing of the store rings.

Slocombe: Ooh, I better hurry, I'm meeting that man again tonight!

Brahms: Careful this time...

Mrs. Slocombe dashes up the steps as fast as she can.

Peacock: Just a minute Mrs. Slocombe.

Slocombe: But, I'm in a hurry, Captain Peacock!

Peacock: Mr. Rumbold wants to speak with everyone.

Slocombe: DRAT!

Peacock: (To all) Gather round everyone, Mr. Rumbold has an announcement to make.

Mr. Rumbold enters floor.

Rumbold: I'll make this quick so you all can be on your way.

Slocombe: Well, get to the point already!

Rumbold: Yes, well, Mr. Harman just informed me that the new lifts are up and running.

Slocombe: Well, thank heaven for that!

The staff walks up the stairs to the lift.


The lift doors open up to reveal Mr. Grace and his secretary from the waist up.

Grace: Well, I was just going round to each floor to tell them that the new lifts are working.

The lift doors close just after Mr. Grace says: You've all done very well...

Spooner: Well, almost working.

Slocombe: Looks like everything's back to normal.

Humphries: (To you, the audience) Well, almost everything!

Mr. Humphries minces to the lift.

Humphries: Time for me rugby lessons!

~credits and closing theme~

You have been reading in order of appearance:
Frank Thornton as Captain Peacock
Wendy Richard as Miss Brahms
Mollie Sugden as Mrs. Slocombe
Mike Berry as Mr. Spooner
John Inman as Mr. Humphries
Nicholas Smith as Mr. Rumbold
Arthur English as Mr. Harmon
Kenneth Waller as Old Mr. Grace

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