Are You Being Served?

Woefully unfunny and extremely objectionable big-screen spin-off from the woefully unfunny and extremely objectionable TV sitcom series set in a none too realistic department store. Crap of the lowest order as the staff of Grace Brothers' clothing department go on holiday to the Costa Plonka.

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Bob Kellett
Screenwriter: Jeremy Lloyd, David Croft
Cast: John Inman
Mollie Sugden
Frank Thornton
Trevor Bannister
Wendy Richard
Arthur Brough
Andrew Sachs

Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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johnb

This is the feature movie drawing on the long running British TV comedy sitcom concerning the daily goings in the clothing department of an old fashioned family-run department store. The half hour shows enjoyed regular seasons from 1972 to 1985, and in that golden age of British TV comedy attracted regular audiences of up to 20 million. Especially popular was John Inman's characterisation of the high camp Mr Humphries, a menswear retail assisitant, and his trilled 'I'm free' became a national catchphrase in home and workplace at that time, and is even heard to this day. Although the characters were stereotyped caricatures and the humour very much in the 'Carry On' film mode, the writers Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft created situations which reflected real life and relationships - Lloyd was familiar with the setting having worked in such a department store earlier in life. Full length movie spin-offs from half hour format sitcoms rarely match up to their origins and this film is no exception. The formula does not lend itself to threefold extension and therefore additional story lines in unfamiliar settings have to be introduced. In this case after a conventional first half, the usual cast are transported to Spain on a cheap holiday and become caught up in a revolution. The adaption of the familiar characters to this situation never quite works. One suspects that Lloyd and Croft did not work overtime on the film script. Whole chunks of dialogue from TV episodes appear in the first half, together with a ludicrous fancy dress appearance - the weekly standby in the dying days of the sitcom when the inspiration was running out. Interestingly enough, the byplay introduced between the keen and ferocious Spanish revolutionary Carlos and his reluctant supporter, the hotelier Don Bernardo, was later developed in 'Allo 'Allo, between resistance leader Michelle and cafe proprietor Rene. Nonetheless the movie does have it moments, particularly with witty one liners. It has achieved unlikely longevity in its stage version. A popular choice on the amateur stage, it's fidelity to the film script demands imagination and ingenuity in production.