on January 2, 2004
This volume is not as solid as volume 2 of the AYBS? set, but it still represents some of the best AYBS? episodes. It starts with the b&w pilot episode that has the ladies department moving onto the floor that has belonged exclusively to the gents ready-made department for the last 25 years. Such intrusion creates much tension between the two sides in the first few episodes but, as the staff get used to each other, the problem is not brought up as much and, after Mr. Grainger leaves, is no longer a problem. Mr. Lucas plays a bigger role in these early episodes (Trevor Bannister having second billing to Mollie Sugden) with Mr. Humphries playing more comedy relief. John Inman will, of course, become the main star of the show later on.
After the ladies move in, Mr. Lucas has his eye on Miss Brahms in "Dear Sexy Knickers." This is the famous episode where the "kneeing" trousers trick is introduced. When trousers and ladies underwear are down, the staff must discuss sale ideas after hours in "Our Figures Are Slipping." In "Camping In," the staff is stranded due to a transport strike and must spend the night in tents in the department. The best part of this episode is when Mrs. Slocombe tells Capt. Peacock that her inflatable mattress takes "puff after puff after puff" and Mr. Humphries peaks out from his tent to ask, "Can I help anybody?" Classic!. The gents and ladies finally ban together to take on an outside perfume saleswomen who is intruding on their sales in "His and Hers." Finally, in "Diamonds...," a customer offers a big reward for the recovery of a diamond she lost in the store and it appears every staff member finds it. The menu pages are very creative with rotating photos of Mrs. Slocombe. A lift conductor's voice even takes you to each episode! Of course, every fan will eventually want the entire 2 sets of this hilarious series, so go buy them now!
on July 23, 2002
The passing years have not taken the shine from this great British sitcom. Set in a department store in the 1970's (the fashions add to the fun), it features the combined staff of the ladies and gentlemens clothing departments. Many of the comedy situations come from the interactions of these varied and often eccentric characters. The usual situation involves various ploys by the management to try to increase the profitibility of the department and the hilarious results which occur when the staff attempt to put these ideas into practice. While occasionally mildly risque (by '70s standards anyway) it could be enjoyed by almost anyone without too much offence.
If the answer to the question most asked in this series is yes, then watching this hilarious British sit-com about the "misadventures" of a group of salesmen in Grace's Brothers department store is as good a choice as any. This DVD includes the series' pilot, in black and white, and the first five episodes of the series, all in color. During the first two or three episodes most of the jokes are based on double-entendres and in a few cases the authors seem to go as far as overkill. Nevertheless, in the last couple of episodes in this set, the approach changes, and while maintaining the characteristic mentioned, other humorous concepts surface.
The main attraction of this sit-com is its characters, they conform a colorful array of personalities and each has his/her own very distinctive appearance. Mr. Lucas is the junior salesman in the men's department, who has a hard time closing sales, is always on the verge of being fired and has a libido that never ceases to pop up. Mr. Humphries is always picking on Mr. Lucas and always knows the best way to "fix" things for their customers. He knows all the tricks in the business and is clearly attracted by his same gender. Mr. Grainger is the head of the men's department; he is a prude who is shocked frequently by the acts of his two underlings. In the women's department, which shares the same floor with the men's, there are two employees, Mrs. Slocombe who is the one in charge and her subordinate Miss. Brahms. Mrs. Slocombe is the typical middle-aged divorced lady, extremely willing to get involved with any worthy candidate for her affection. She brings in variety through her hair color, which is different in each episode. Miss. Brahms is the "sexy chick", who is always preyed upon by the male personnel, excluding Mr. Humphries, and who tries to get advantage of every possible benefit she can obtain through her looks. Finally, Captain Peacock is the floor manager, a middle-aged man, extremely strict with the employees, but who also likes to flirt with any available woman, doing no distinctions between employees and customers.
Although as I mentioned before some of the jokes are repetitive you can have a really good time watching this series. An example of the repetitiveness is the line "Are you free <name>?" which is used over and over and over and...It will give you the incentive though to continue watching and see if at any point the answer will be "No, sorry". I am not going to spoil it for you, so if you want the answer, you will have to get the DVD!
on February 10, 2003
This is one of the funniest TV shows I have ever seen. Each episode just keeps the halarity going. I have been hooked on this show since I was in high school seeing it on PBS, and even my parents (who are in there sixties) roar that the situations the members of the ladies and gentlemen ready made departments get themselves into. I love this show and this DVD has some of the best. You also will find that some of the jokes you missed from laughing so hard the first time, you catch the second, third, or more times you see it. I recommened this sitcom, and I plan to collect all the collection of DVDs. This will start your romp into British comedies.
on June 9, 2003
Believe it or not, although 'Are You Being Served?' is a British comedy, not ONE single episode of it is available on DVD in Britain! You can therefore imagine how surprised I was to discover that the situation "across the pond" is totally different!
It's extremely bizarre and ironic that 'Are You Being Served?' is not available on DVD in the UK, because A) it was made here, and B) it is still very popular over here! We still have daily repeats on cable television, and the movie is available on DVD over here, but no actual episodes (just a couple of clips on BBC compilation DVDs of 'classic' comedy moments). A few randomly selected episodes were released on VHS several years ago, but even these are now sadly long deleted. True, the Americans probably have a more 'obsessive' affection for this show than we do (because they love the quaint 'Britishness' of it, I guess), but I would like to point out that it's also very well-loved in its home country!
In fact, I am extremely annoyed with the BBC for choosing to release some of its best shows on DVD ONLY in the Unites States ('Are You Being Served', 'The Forsyte Saga', 'The Chronicles of Narnia', etc.). To add insult to injury, they give these DVD releases a 'Region 1' coding, effectively preventing them from playing on DVD players here in Europe! (It works the other way around as well in some cases, e.g. another classic BBC Britcom, 'Only Fools and Horses', is only available on DVD in the UK, and has a 'Region 2' coding!)
I do think it is an absolute disgrace that the BBC is giving 'Are You Being Served?' a Region 1-only DVD release (in its entirety, I might add!). By doing this, the BBC is neglecting both the British fans of this series AND its responsibilities as a public service broadcaster. As soon as I found out about these American DVDs, I went out and bought myself a 'multi-region' DVD player especially to watch them! (So, as Mrs. Slocombe might say, the BBC can "get stuffed"!)
All I seem to have done so far in this review is complain about the BBC's DVD release policy! I apologize. Back to the show itself: this DVD (Volume 1) actually contains SIX episodes (not three as the Amazon description says): Pilot, Dear Sexy Knickers, Our Figures Are Slipping, Camping In, His And Hers and Diamonds Are A Man's Best Friend. The Pilot episode was made in colour but now only exists in black and white. The other episodes on this disc make up the entirety of Season 1.
I enjoyed this DVD so much that I have decided to buy the entire box set of Seasons 1-5! According to BBC America's website, a second box set containing Seasons 6-10 will be released later this year - which is great news! In the meantime, the show will probably remain unreleased on DVD in the UK.... I would normally give this DVD 5 stars, but because I had to buy it from abroad AND buy a special DVD player to watch it on, I give only 4 stars because of the inconvenience caused! But for such a great show, it was well worth it. :-)
on November 19, 2003
As a Britt I have seen the episodes on sky T.V. and although they were funny didn't know that the pilot was actually a never before seen episode thinking it was the one where the ladies and gents have to share counter space (which is why I wrote this review). Although in black and white and without the bells and whistles it was one of the best I have seen, as you get to see the young Mr. Lucas learning the ropes from Mr. Humphreys. The cast are much friendlier than on latter episodes but the freshness of when Mr. Lucas First sees `Young Mr. Grace' is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
It is terrible that we can't get the DVD on region 2 but most players over here can be made to play region 1 disks. Although inquiring into when a set may be releases by the BBC led me round and round the same email addresses, I suppose it makes the series more valuable having to wait a few weeks for them to come.
All in all I think this is a great purchase and I am definitely going to buy the whole collection one by one. Sorry there is no detailed episode guide but I'm too busy watching the disk :o)
on October 25, 2014
Had to replace the first volume (lost in DVD land) of this amazingly hilarious comedy series. I know it's from the 70s and early 80s, but it is still funny. Not many shows have the staying power that "Are You Being Served?" has. As in most TV series, the first years are the best, though great humor runs right up through the final show. Begin your adventure with Volume 1, and I believe you'll be hooked.
on June 26, 2014
Are You Being Served was one of my favorite and best comedies on "The Beeb" in the 70s. Season 1, originally airing in 1971 and 1972 had some classic actors. Mollie Sugden, playing the stern Mrs. Betty Slocum, Frank Thornton as the militant floor manager Captain Stephen Peacock, Trevor Bannister as Mr. Lucas, Wendy Richard as the ditzy bombshell Miss Shirley Brahms and John Inman as the over-the-top gay man, Mr. Wilberforce "I'm Free" Humphries.
Once you start watching this series you'll have an appetite for more as evidenced by its 13 year run on British television.
Are You Being Served? is the story of the staff of the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Wear departments in Grace Brothers department store. While customer’s come and go, the staff fights each other and their incompetent superiors with laughs all around. The stories are hilarious and are generally clean, though a running gag involves one lady’s constant frettings about her pussy (cat). So, this tape can be watched with younger ones, but some discretion should be exercised.
Nonetheless, this is a great Britcom, one of the classics. If you want to find out what all the excitement about Britcoms is, then buy this DVD!
This great DVD includes the following six(!) half-hour episodes:
Are You Being Served? – Pilot, 9/9/1972 – With the recent reorganization of Grace Brothers department store, the Gentlemen’s Ready Wear department finds themselves sharing the floor with the Women’s department, and no one is happy about it.
Dear Sexy Knickers - Series 1, episode 1, 3/21/1973 – When Mr. Lucas tries to send a sexy note to the delicious Miss Brahms, it is accidentally intercepted by Captain Peacock, who gives it to Mrs. Slocombe, and hilarity ensues.
Our Figures Are Slipping - Series 1, episode 2, 3/28/1973 – With sales down, Mr. Rumbold decides that the department needs to come up with some new ideas. But, will their savior be the unlikely Mr. Lucas?
Camping In - Series 1, episode 3, 4/4/1973 – With a transport strike on, there’s no way for the staff to get home. It looks like they will be camping in at Grace Brothers, and nobody is happy with the arrangement.
His And Hers – Series 1, episode 4, 4/11/1973 – When a perfume stand appears in the middle of the department, no one is happy. But, when it becomes clear that free ties and stockings will be given away with every purchases (stealing commissions from the rest of the staff), it becomes clear that something must be done!
Diamonds Are A Man’s Best Friend – Series 1, episode 4, 4/18/1973 – When a wealthy customer loses a diamond on the floor, she offers £100 for its return. Everyone wants that money, and everyone is looking for the diamond, but can everyone find it?
on May 20, 2003
I was thrilled that this wonderful series was finally coming out on DVD. After purchasing the first set of episodes, I was happily surprised at the pristine quality of the picture and sound. The extra features aren't that exciting, but that can be forgiven by the shows themselves. After seeing many different British comedies, I always return to this one if I want to smile. Even though you know what is going to happen, it will still make you laugh. The characters almost feel like part of your extended family after a time. You won't be disappointed by this DVD. Buy it!!!