Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Are You Being Served The Complete Collection 14 vol|
Actors: John Inman, Frank Thornton, Wendy Richard, Nicholas Smith, Trevor Bannister
Directors: Jeremy Lloyd, Mike Stevens
Genres: Comedy, Television
Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/27/2005 Run time: 2070 minutes Rating: Nr
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A British Comedy Classic!
Tiggah | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 12/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ten series of this classic Britcom were produced between 1973-1985, and all sixty-nine 30-minute episodes, including the black-and-white pilot and the Christmas specials (positioned chronologically in the order originally broadcast), are here in one boxed set.
The series revolves around the staff of Grace Brothers' Department Store--particulary the staff of menswear and ladieswear. The ladies' department is headed by the pompous, air-assuming Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden). She's a bit of a man eater (or would be could she get her hands on one!) and is forever fretting about Tiddles, her pussy--cat that is! Her junior is sexy Miss Brahms (Wendy Richard), who is constantly fighting off the advances of the menswear junior, Mr. Lucas (Trevor Bannister, who left the show after series seven due to a scheduling conflict). From series eight on, Mr. Spooner (Mike Berry--a former singer) takes over as the new menswear junior, flirting with Miss Brahms and insulting Mrs. Slocombe at every opportunity! The menswear department is headed by curmudgeonly old Mr. Grainger (Arthur Brough, who died (aged 73) following series five). In between him and Mr. Lucas is the flamboyant Mr. Humphreys (John Inman). With his mincing gait, outrageous costumes, and familiar cry of "I'm free," he's my personal favourite--though the whole cast really is terrific!
Of course one cannot forget the subtly lecherous floorwalker, Captain Peacock, a pompous ex-army officer (or so he claims). One gets a sense that this is probably the only position of authority he's ever had, and he milks it for all its worth, barking orders at his underlings at every opportunity. His favourite target is the rough, bawdy maintenance man, Mr. Mash (replaced by Mr. Harman in the fourth series), a militant trade unionist who loves to goad Cpt. Peacock (and who probably makes more money than Peacock does too!). Of the four actors who temporarily took over the role of department head following Brough's death, my favourite is Alfie Bass, who played shrewd Mr. Goldberg, himself an ex-army man, and from whom we glean a lot more about Corporal--I mean Captain--Peacock than Peacock would care to have known!
Then there is Mr. Rumbold, the bald-pated, jug-eared department manager (like Mollie Sugden, Nicholas Smith was very good-natured in allowing his physical appearance to be the basis of so much humour!). Finally, there is Young Mr. Grace, the elderly and extremely frail but hilariously lustful store owner (Harold Bennett, who died of a heart attack in 1981 following series eight, was 74 when the series began!).
There are two discs of DVD extras, the first of which consists of three 30-minute profiles (John Inman (1999), Mollie Sugden (1998), and Wendy Richard (2001)), each of which provides a brief bio, snippets from the various television productions in which the actor has been involved, and remembrances from fellow actors. The final feature is "Are You Being Confused?", a text-based dictionary of British slang. The second disc contains two features which have appeared as PBS specials over the years: Firstly, there is the 75-minute "The Best of Are You Being Served?", which is hosted by Mr. Humphreys and his mother (both played by John Inman, of course!), and which contains snippets of some of the funniest moments in the series. Secondly is the lovely 90-minute profile of Mollie Sugden (2002), which also contains snippets from the shows she's been in and remembrances from fellow actors, yet it doesn't entirely duplicate the other profile. Also included is the first episode of the 1992 sequel, "Are You Being Served? Again!".
With scripts liberally laced with double entendres, innuendos and puns, and a cast of characters made all the more memorable by some of the most capable actors in British comedy, this is character comedy at its best--a real Britcom classic!
They all did very well
mwreview | Northern California, USA | 12/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I did not already have the season 1-5 box set and the season 6-10 box set separately, I would jump at this deal and would have saved 25 percent. Then again, I could not wait to own this entire series. If you are a fan of AYBS?, you are eventually going to want the whole series, so why wait? Get it all and enjoy the 69 episodes as well as some extras now. It's better then waiting for PBS to air them all in between fund raising telethons. Here's all you get:
The first half of this set (volumes 1-6 with a bonus volume 7) represents the best AYBS? material with original cast members Arthur Brough (Mr. Grainger), Harold Bennett (Young Mr. Grace), Larry Martyn (Mr. Mash), and Trevor Bannister (Mr. Lucas). They include all episodes from the black & white pilot through "It Pays to Advertise" from season 5. Volume 2 also includes my all-time favorite AYBS? episode "Big Brother," when Mr. Rumbold installs a closed circuit television in the store to uncover a burglar but instead uses it to spy on the Grace Brother's staff. The artistic details of both AYBS? sets are very nice. After choosing an episode, the elevator conductor announces the title and the lift doors open to reveal the plot.
The second half of this set (volumes 8-13 with a bonus volume 14) includes some unpopular cast changes but still offers plenty of hilarious episodes. Starting with volume 8, Mr. Grainger is replaced by a string of, mostly unmemorable, characters, and Mr. Lucas will eventually be replaced by the more mean-spirited and less tactful Mr. Spooner. Still, more of my personal favorites are nestled within the later volumes of this set. In "Grounds for Divorce" it seems almost every female member of Grace Brothers is enamored with Captain Peacock. "The Erotic Dreams of Mrs. Slocomb" are about her obsession with you know who (in this case, he's not "free"). "The Hero" with Capt. Peacock developing a boil on his bum is another of my favorites. It also includes Trevor Bannister's last episode "The Punch and Judy Affair" which, although I find to be boring and repetitive, is a fan favorite.
What I also enjoy about both DVD sets for this series are the extras in volumes 7 and 14. You get half hour bios on John Inman, Molly Sugden, and Wendy Richard. Each bio includes pre-AYBS? clips (Sugden in "The Liver Birds," "Coronation Street;" Richard in "The Newcomers," "Hugh and I," "Up Pompeii!," "Dad's Army," etc.). In Richard's bio, there are many clips from the long-running soap opera EastEnders. They also include interview clips with Inman, Bannister, Frank Thornton, Richard, and Sugden as well as others that look like they were recorded fairly recently. "The Best of..." extra on volume 14 was disappointing. I thought John Inman would provide commentary to AYBS? clips. Actually, it is just a bunch of random clips (some quite long) that any fan of AYBS? has seen many times before. The piece on Molly Sugden looked as if it was going to be the same clip show but, fortunately, ends up with more interviews with actors and a look at Sugden's life in her own words which makes for a very welcomed extra. The first episode of Grace and Favour is also included and I recommend picking up the DVD with all the episodes of this cute series that is now available. This series was great, and "I am unanimous in that.""
Edited and Cut Version of Series
Joseph Seifert | Columbus, Ohio | 12/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of Are Your Being Served for years, and jumped at the chance to get the dvds when I saw them available. For those that are old enough to recall seeing the originals, beware that the set being offered is not the original unedited version. The box says "uncut" but that is simply not true, regardless of other's comments on this site. All of the shows on this dvd set are the later edited versions which allow for more commercials. While they are still very funny, I am disheartened at not being able to see scenes and quips that I expect and remember from when I first viewed the originally released series. For example, where Mrs. Slocum comments "it's just the same" in the episode where the department is remodeled, her follow up of examing the drawers is missing after Mr. Grace comments, "it's all new wood." There are many other examples I could provide, having remembered the specific comments and parts extremely well. It is an enjoyable dvd set, but I do miss the edited parts.
They just don't get it
STEVE V | san antonio, tx United States | 04/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this set and it is somewhat expensive, but well worth it. My friends (including my girlfriend)don't understand why I would pay that much money for these old shows, but I happen to think they are hilarious. I watched my first episode on PBS late one evening about 5 years ago and have been hooked ever since. I was first introduced to British humor back in the 80's when "The Young Ones" aired on MTV. One thing about Americans watching BBC comedies, either you get it or you don't. Definitely worth purchasing and highly recommended. The DVD's have extras that explain certain things that happened on the show. It also contains bios of individuals that appeared on the show. Perfect for watching when you are at home on a rainy day."