Essential Reading for Brit TV Viewing: Are You Being Served?


The name of today’s book matches the sitcom it’s about, but also includes a subtitle: Are You Being Served? The Inside Story of Britain’s Funniest–and Public Television’s Favorite–Comedy Series, by Adrian Rigelsford, Anthony Brown, and Geoff Tibballs.

Can we first just take a moment to appreciate that my very favorite thing about this book is the absolutely Englishy names of the authors: Rigelsford, Brown, and Tibballs. Sounds like the classiest upper-crust British law firm ever.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can discuss the book itself, about the classic workplace comedy Are You Being Served? It starts off strong, with a Foreword from the show’s creator, Jeremy Lloyd*, discussing his own work history at Simpson’s department store (and his experiences there, on which he based the Grace Bros. department store and its many eccentric staff members), and builds from there, with profiles of all the main characters (and the actors who played them) as well as a solid episode guide for the entire ten-year run of the series. Later chapters include closer looks at the show’s spin-offs: the movie, the follow-up series Grace and Favour, and international remakes of the original show. Oh, and did I mention there’s a ton of fun pictures? Because there are.

Of course this is not the newest book on the shelf (it was published in 1995) and it’s about a show that began its run in the 1970s. I would still guess there’s a lot of people around who enjoy Are You Being Served?, however, and for them, this book would be a great read.

*Incidentally, did we all know that Jeremy Lloyd was once married to Joanna Lumley (she of Absolutely Fabulous fame)? Well, now we do!

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