Are You Being Served?
Are You Being Served? ("AYBS") was a British sitcom broadcast from 1972 to 1985. In all 69 episodes were televised and also included one motion picture with the same title. In 1992, many of the main characters were reprised in a short lived follow-up series, Grace and Favour (later known as Are You Being Served, Again?).
Regular characters included Mrs. Slocombe (senior salesperson in ladies' ready-wear), Captain Peacock (floor walker), Mr. Humphries (mens' ready-wear), Miss Brahms (ladies' ready-wear), Mr. Rumbold (manager), Young Mr. Grace (owner), Mr. Lucas (mens' ready-wear), Mr. Grainger (senior salesperson in mens' ready-wear), and a variety of beautiful secretaries (to both Young Mr. Grace and Mr. Rumbold). However, a variety of additional characters graced the screen for just a season or two, especially in the roles of the maintenance man and the third men's wear salesperson.
The series was set in the men's and ladies' ready-wear departments of an old-fashioned British department store, Grace Brothers. Main themes of the show included Mr. Humphries questionable sexuality, Mr. Lucas's desire to get a date with Miss Brahms, Mr. Grainger falling asleep on the job, and Mrs. Slocombe's problems with her "pussy"(-cat). Regular quotes and catch phrases included "I'm Free" and "Glass of water for Mr. Grainger" by Mr. Humphries, "Are you being served?" by Captain Peacock, "Weak as water!" by Mrs. Slocombe, "Cor Blimey!" by Mr. Mash and "You've all done very well" by Young Mr. Grace followed by Mr. Lucas's "Can we all go home then?"
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- Mr. Mash: "Cor Blimey! Women drivers."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "That'll do, Mr. Mash."
- Mr. Mash: "Middle class cow!"
- Miss Brahms: (to Mr. Grainger) "Mrs. Slocombe didn't want to take down your trousers without asking you first."
Dear Sexy Knickers [1.2]
[Dear Sexy Knickers: I don't half fancy you. Meet me outside at five-thirty and we'll get it together.]
- Captain Peacock: "Mr. Grainger, did you write this note?"
- Mr. Grainger: "Write it? I don't even understand it!"
- Mr. Humphries: "Certainly not, Mr. Grainger wouldn't write 'Dear Sexy Knickers', you would have said 'Dear Sexy Bloomers' wouldn't you?"
- Mr. Grainger: "I would very much doubt it."
- Captain Peacock: "Did you write the note, Mr. Humphries?"
- Mr. Humphries: "No, but thanks for the compliment."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Why anyone would want to buy a women's magazine with a centerfold of a nude man is beyond me."
- Miss Brahms: "Well, I thought Burt Reynolds looked quite sexy."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Well, you couldn't see anything; his arm was in the way."
- Miss Brahms: (on the telephone, thinking she's speaking with Captain Peacock) "If I have anymore of your ol' guff, I'll have you on the carpet."
- Mr. Grainger: (hanging up, dumbstruck) "Some lady wants to have me on the carpet."
Our Figures Are Slipping [1.3]
[Lucas inviting Miss Brahms to the movies]
- Miss Brahms: "What's on?"
- Mr. Lucas: "Well, there's Bambi in Studio Two, then around the corner there's The Unsatisfied Virgin...I've seen Bambi."
Camping In [1.4]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Yes well, I met my husband in a German air raid. His face was lit from an incoming incendiary. He threw me flat on me face and said 'look out, here comes a big one!'."
- Mr. Lucas: "They didn't have much time for chatting in those days."
His and Hers [1.5]
Diamonds Are a Man's Best Friend [1.6]
The Clock [2.1]
- Mr. Mash: "Captain Stephen Peacock, RASC, C of E, hero of the Battle of Katterick NAFFI, holder of the Hot Cross Bun and Bar."
- Mrs. Grainger: "That's Young Mr. Grace?"
- Mr. Grainger: "Old Mr. Grace doesn't get about very much."
Cold Comfort [2.2]
- Mr. Humphries: "You shall go to the ball."
The Think Tank [2.3]
Big Brother [2.4]
Hoorah for the Holidays [2.5]
The Hand of Fate [3.1]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "What is it, Mr. Mash?"
- Mr. Mash: "Did you put in an order for twenty-seven galvanised buckets?"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "And what would I be doing in Lady's department with twenty-seven galvanised buckets? This is Lady's department, not a farmyard!"
- Mr. Mash: "We could be milking a jersey."
Coffee Morning [3.2]
[Miss Brahms is measuring Mrs. Slocombe's waist]
- Miss Brahms: "You ready?"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "No, no I can nip it in a bit more yet. (breathes in) NOW! (Miss Brahms checks the tape measure) What is it?"
- Miss Brahms: "77"
- Mrs Slocombe: "Oh, don't it sound a lot in metric."
- Miss Brahms: "Yes, well you've put on four whatever-they-ares."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Centipedes Miss Brahms."
Up Captain Peacock [3.3]
Cold Store [3.4]
- Mr. Mash: "Well it's common sense innit? Nobody sticks an onion under their arm without peeling it, do they?"
Wedding Bells [3.5]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "There's a naked man in there, in his underpants!"
German Week [3.6]
- Mrs. Slocombe: (drunk, about Mr. Rumbold) "Oooh, twiddle his knob someone, he's out of focus!"
- Miss Brahms: "Well it's either that or take him with me mum's washings to the launderette."
- Mr. Lucas: "I'm not going there again. I've seen more of your mother's underwear there than I have of yours."
- Young Mr. Grace: "Well I'll be one tight long, I always go to the club on Tuesday evening."
- Mr. Rumbold: "Oh, oh yes, the Bridge Club."
- Young Mr. Grace: "No, no, no, the strip club."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "I won't forget being thrown flat on my back on Clapham Common by a landmine. And the German Air Force was responsible."
- Mr. Lucas: "All the other times she was flat on her back, the American Air Force was responsible."
[On having to stay for a meeting after working hours]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "You know, this sort of thing just isn't fair on my pussy. She has a go at the furniture if I'm not there prompt."
- Mr. Grainger: "I can't wait more than ten minutes because I'm having a bath tonight."
- Mr. Humphries: "Oh, it's treats!"
- Mr. Grainger: "Well, I can't get the old boiler working very often."
- Mr. Lucas: "Having a bath with Mrs. Grainger, are you?"
- Mr. Grainger: "I don't find that amusing!"
- Mr. Lucas: "Come to think of it, neither would I."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "You know, there's only two things I like about Germany: Curt Jurgens and Gorgonzola."
- Miss Brahms: "Gorgonzola isn't German!"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Oh. Then there's only one thing I like... No! I tell a lie. I like Irving Berlin!"
- Mr. Lucas: "Here, listen to this, you'll never guess what the German word for 'cuff links' are."
- Mr. Humphries: "What?"
- Mr. Lucas: "Manschettenknopf."
- Mr. Humphries: "I don't expect they'll sell any with a name like that."
- Mr. Grainger: "This is a funny name for a sweater: Mit dir hand go wäschen."
- Captain Peacock: "That means: Wash by hand."
- Mr. Lucas: "It's a good thing you parley the Deutsch, Captain Peacock."
- Captain Peacock: "I had to study it during the war, you know."
- Mr. Mash: "Ausfahrt."
- Captain Peacock: "I beg your pardon?"
- Mr. Mash: "Ausfahrt. What's that mean, then?"
- Captain Peacock: "The way out, Mr. Mash, and I suggest you take that one, as we open in a few moments."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "I'm not selling German Sex Knickers."
- Captain Peacock: "'Sechs' is just the German word for six."
- Miss Brahms: "What do they use for sex?"
- Mr. Mash: "Same as they use everywhere else."
- Mr. Mash: "Here you are Mrs. Slocombe, twelve bras."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "I wonder what the german is for them...BUSTENHALTER? (Miss Brahms pulls out a very big bra) Blimey, whatever size is that?"
- Miss Brahms: "It says here 'clean'."
- Captain Peacock: "'Klein' Miss Brahms, it means small."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "They're well built those german girls."
Shoulder to Shoulder [3.7]
- Mr. Rumbold: "Oh, Miss Thorpe, where's the maintenance file?"
- Miss Thorpe: "You mean the one marked 'Decoration'?"
- Mr. Rumbold: "Yes."
- Miss Thorpe: "I filed it yesterday under 'A'."
- Mr. Rumbold: "Under 'A'?"
- Miss Thorpe: "Yes, I file most things under 'A'."
- Mr. Rumbold: "I don't quite follow."
- Miss Thorpe: "Well, A letter, A sales report, A customer's complaint."
- Captain Peacock: "A very difficult way of finding anything."
[To telephone customer]
- Mr. Humphries: "We'll do your inside leg. (aside to Lucas) This should be fun."
- Mr. Lucas: "You ought to be careful. You know it's an offense to make dirty phone calls."
[Captain Peacock beckons Mrs. Slocombe with a wave]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "I do not respond to waves."
- Miss Brahms: "What about that man you met on your holiday?"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Ah, that was different; he was waving from his yacht!"
- Captain Peacock: "Mr. Lucas, you are not indispensable. There are many young men who would bend over backwards to get into Grace Brothers."
- Mr. Humphries: "That's one of the qualifications."
- Mr. Lucas: "You nearly got me the sack then."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "You should have been put in one at birth."
- Mr. Humphries: "This sweater is half man-made wool, half polyester fiber."
- Newlywed Male Customer: "Surely that's man-made as well."
- Mr. Humphries: "Ah, yes, but it's made by different men."
- Newlywed Male Customer: "Shall I or shan't I? Should I or shouldn't I?"
- Mr. Lucas: "Is he or isn't he?"
- Mr. Humphries: "I don't know, but I'd think it'd help if there was a rush."
- Mr. Grainger: "That Mrs. Slocombe gets in my hair."
- Mr. Humphries: (observing Mr. Grainger's bald head) "Metaphorically speaking, you mean."
New Look [3.8]
Christmas Crackers [3.9]
No Sale [4.1]
- Mr. Grainger: (to customer) "And that's because you've got a fat face, piggy eyes, and a...a pimple, on your nose. (turns to Mr. Humphries and Mr. Lucas) You young salesmen just don't know how not to sell clothes."
Top Hat and Tails [4.2]
Forward Mr. Grainger [4.3]
Fire Practice [4.4]
- Mr. Humphries and Mr. Lucas: "One for them and one for us, one for them and one for us, one for them and one for us. (man holds up knife threateningly) All for them and none for us, all for them and none for us."
Fifty Years On [4.5]
- Captain Peacock: "What are we going to sing now? Uh, Uh-Uh, Uh-Uh-Uh or Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh?"
- Mr. Rumbold: "Uh..."
- Mr. Lucas: "I'll settle for that."
- Mr. Rumbold: "No, we'll have two Uhs."
- Mr. Grainger: "I agree! To Uh-Uh is human."
Oh What a Tangled Web [4.6]
The Father Christmas Affair [4.7]
[Automated Display Santa says: HO, HO, HO, little boy, have I got a surprise for you (opens its arms, taking coat with it, revealing the naked dummy body)]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "How much did it cost?"
- Mr. Lucas: "Why, do you want to buy one?"
Mrs. Slocombe Expects [5.1]
- Captain Peacock: "How thoughtful of Grace Brothers to leave the doors open, so that we, the customers, can actually get in to buy things."
A Change Is as Good as a Rest [5.2]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Is there no demand for mechanical pussies?"
- Captain Peacock: "I'm told people prefer the real thing."
Founder's Day [5.3]
The Old Order Changes [5.4]
Goodbye Mr. Grainger [5.6]
It Pays to Advertise [5.7]
By Appointment [6.1]
The Club [6.2]
Do You Take This Man? [6.3]
Shedding the Load [6.4]
A Bliss Girl [6.5]
Happy Returns [6.6]
The Junior [7.1]
Strong Stuff, This Insurance [7.2]
The Apartment [7.3]
Mrs. Slocombe, Senior Person [7.4]
The Hero [7.5]
Anything You Can Do [7.6]
The Agent [7.7]
The Punch and Judy Affair [7.8]
Is It Catching? [8.1]
[Humphries comes in in a plastic bag that covers all of his body except his face]
- Mr. Humphries: "Before you say anything, I've got to use this because me mother's got me raincoat to queue up for her disability pension. I borrowed it off a very nice punk girl rocker that lives next door. It was her bridal gown."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Don't tell me she got married in that."
- Mr. Humphries: "Married? She lived in it for a week with the groom before they found somwhere to squat."
A Personal Problem [8.2]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Oh, I'm better for that. What's been happening?"
- Mr. Humphries: "Well, Mrs. Peacock loves Captain Peacock, and Captain Peacock, alias Jack the Lad loves Mrs. Peacock, although he's got a very strange way of showing it. And Mr. Rumbold, it appears, was just masquerading, and I know from long experience that only leads to trouble. Ooh, and the maintenance men who have the wherewithal to open the locked window have just come out the pub."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Ooh, isn't that wonderful, Captain Peacock? All's well that ends well."
- Captain Peacock: "Mrs. Slocombe, since the maintainence men have just got on a 47 Bus, what makes you think it's all going to end well?"
Front Page Story [8.3]
Sit Out [8.4]
- Staff: "Grace Brothers unfair to salespersons, Grace Brothers unfair to salespersons."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Oh, I've dropped the pot!"
- Mr. Spooner: "I think we've attracted attention, all right."
- Mr. Humphries: "Somehow, I don't think a red policeman is not going to be on our side."
- Mr. Humphries: (recognizing the fireman) "You!"
- Fireman: "You!"
- Mr. Humphries: "What's happened to the Benedictine monastery?"
- Fireman: "Well, it's a long story."
- Mr. Humphries: "You can tell me on the way down. Alley-oop!"
Heir Apparent [8.5]
- Captain Peacock: "Well, it's Mrs. Slocombe at the top of the stairs, followed by Miss Brahms. Behind her, Mr. Klein and myself, then Mr. Humphries. And outside on the street, Mr. Spooner. (It should have been the other way round because a handicapped person should be in front to give the slow ones a chance and race equally)."
Closed Circuit [8.6]
The Erotic Dreams of Mrs. Slocombe [8.7]
- Mrs. Slocombe: (to Miss Brahms after the latter has caught her in the fitting room hitting the bottle) "I'm just taking me slimming pill; only I've run out of water, and I can't bear neat gin."
[Mrs. Slocombe, suitably fortified with gin and tonic, deals with a customer wishing to return a cardigan]
- Customer: "I'm going to take your name!"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "I'm sorry, madam, we're not allowed to give names."
- Customer: "Well, in that case, I…I shall remember your face!"
[Mrs. Slocombe makes a face at the customer]
- Mrs. Slocombe: (on Mr. Humphries) "He's different in me dreams."
- Mr. Spooner: (discussing Mrs. Slocombe's 'fatal attraction' with Mr. Humphries) "Do you think she wants something?"
- Humphries: "I hope not."
- Mr. Humphries: "Quite a lot of ladies have thought twice about me. Trouble is, it's the second thought that puts them off!"
- Mr. Spooner: (at the ballet) "Have they all forgotten the words?"
- Mr. Klein: "They don't have words in ballet, you ignorant birk!"
- Mr. Rumbold: "Mr. Humphries, why are you different from the others?"
- Mr. Humphries: "Do you know, a lot of people ask that. Apparently, this was made for Mrs. Thatcher but when she got there, she said she wanted to be treated like any other woman going down a mine... and she was."
- Mr. Spooner: "Now I know why the miners said 'One out, the lot out'."
- Captain Peacock: "I say, that hasn't cooled me down at all."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Put it away, Miss Brahms."
- Old Mr. Grace: "Happy birthday, dear brother."
- Young Mr. Grace: "It's not my birthday, you silly old fool. No wonder the department is losing money."
- Mr. Rumbold: "I see. Well can you find a B-flat in there?"
- Mr. Harman: "Certainly sir. Would you like it on the flute, the horn, the Hawaiian guitar or the bass bassoon?"
- Mr. Rumbold: "What on earth does that sound like?"
The Sweet Smell of Success [9.1]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "It's something I do at home."
- Mr. Humphries: "Well, that narrows things down a bit, doesn't it?"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Mr. Spooner, if you're cheeky to me during working hours, you can expect a reprimand. However, any of your lip before we open and you'll get my umbrella up your hooter."
- Captain Peacock: "As that was the opening bell, a reprimand is all we can allow."
- Miss Belfridge: "Mr. Rumbold, I must speak to you. There's a man in a blue overcoat looking through the window in your office."
- Mr. Rumbold: "Well what's so strange about that?"
- Miss Belfridge: "He's outside and we're on the fourth floor."
- Mr. Rumbold: "Good heavens!"
[Both of them rush into his office]
- Mr. Spooner: "Cor, who was that?"
- Captain Peacock: "His new secretary."
- Miss Brahms: "Huh, bet they're paying 'her out for the electricity bill."
- Captain Peacock: (realising who Miss Belfridge is talking about) "Blue overcoat?"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Mr. Humphries!"
- Miss Brahms: "Ooh, he's never climbed that drainpipe."
- Mr. Spooner: (mock surprise) "Ooh, not in those trousers."
- Mr. Humphries: "About time, too. It's very draughty out here. Up a bit, George."
['George' pulls up the machine until Mr. Humphries can clamber into the office]
- Mr. Humphries: "This is as far as I go. Thanks for the lift. Oh..."
- Mr. Rumbold: "This is most irregular."
- Mr. Humphries: "I was just only using my initiative. I knew that the outside of the building was being painted, and after a little light banter with the workmen every morning, I took the advantage of their kind offer of a lift."
[Humphries walks to the door but stops just as Mrs. Slocombe realizes...]
- Mrs Slocombe: "There's white paint on the back of your coat."
- Mr. Humphries: "That must have been where I lost my nerve and he tried to steady me. D'you know I've no head for heights. And he was well over six foot tall."
- Miss Yardswick: "National Associated Canteen Employees, Restaraunt and Domesticated."
- Mr. Humphries: "'Knackered.' I might have guessed.
- Miss Brahms: "Here, Captain Peacock, have you asked Rumbold yet about selling the perfume?"
- Captain Peacock: "No. He's busy showing Miss Belfridge the ropes."
- Miss Slocombe: "I bet she can't type with more than one finger."
- Captain Peacock: "That's exactly what my wife said when I showed her the photo."
- Miss Brahms: "What photo?"
- Captain Peacock: "Oh er... in the senior staff magazine. Here. 'Menswear News. Miss B. Belfridge wins top position as C. Rumbold's temporary secretary' Look."
[Photo shows Miss Belfridge in a bathing suit]
- Miss Brahms: "She's in a bathing costume!"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Just."
- Captain Peacock: "Well, it does liven up an otherwise abysmally dull publication."
- Miss Brahms: "Huh. Bet old jug ears didn't dare show that to his missus."
- Captain Peacock: "Not if he has any sense. Mine was even worried she was on the same floor as me."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Well, you do have quite a reputation, Stephen."
- Captain Peacock: (chuckles)
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Well you used to."
Conduct Unbecoming [9.2]
Memories Are Made of This [9.3]
Calling All Customers [9.4]
Monkey Business [9.5]
Lost and Found [9.6]
Goodbye, Mrs. Slocombe [10.1]
Grounds for Divorce [10.2]
The Hold-Up [10.3]
Gambling Fever [10.4]
The Night Club [10.5]
[Mrs. Slocombe calls home to talk to her 'pussy']
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Hello pet, it's your mistress speaking. Now listen, I'm gonna be later than I thought. So why don't you lay down on that big comfy bed of yours and when I come home I'll tickle your tummy all over."
[Everyone rolls their eyes]
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Oh, I'm soo sorry Mr. Akbar! I must have misdialed. It's your neighbor Mrs. Slocombe. (listens) What do you mean, you leave your key under the mat?"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Oh my little pet, I'm ever so sorry, but I'll make it up to you when I get home. Why don't you open your little flap and play with your ball? (listens) MR. AKBAR HOW DARE YOU!!!"
Friends and Neighbours [10.6]
The Pop Star [10.7]
- Captain Peacock: "Are you free?"
- Mr. Humphries: "I'm free."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "...and I am unanimous in this..."
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Weak as water!"
- Mrs. Slocombe: "Mind you..."
- Old Mr. Grace: "She's (or in one case 'you are') a lively little thing..."
- Young Mr. Grace: "You've all done very well!"
- Mr. Lucas: "Can we all go home then?"
- Are You Being Served? - BBC Site
- Are You Being Served? at the British Film Institute
- Are You Being Served? Central
- Are You Being Served? Virtual Video Vault
- Ganymede's Are You Being Served? Site
- Are You Being Served? Forever
- Grace Brothers' Multimedia Department
- The Are You Being Served? Picture Gallery