List of Are You Being Served? characters
This is a list of characters from the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? and its spin off Grace & Favour. Are You Being Served? originally aired on BBC One between 1972 and 1985 and is still repeated around the world. Grace & Favour aired between 1992 and 1993.
- 1 Principal cast durations
- 2 Menswear
- 2.1 Wilberforce Claybourne Humphries (John Inman)
- 2.2 Dick/James Lucas (Trevor Bannister) (series 1–7)
- 2.3 Ernest Grainger (Arthur Brough) (series 1–5)
- 2.4 Percival Tebbs (James Hayter) (series 6)
- 2.5 Harry Goldberg (Alfie Bass) (series 7)
- 2.6 Grossman (Milo Sperber) (series 8)
- 2.7 Klein (Benny Lee) (series 8)
- 2.8 Bert Spooner (Mike Berry) (series 8–10)
- 3 Ladies wear
- 4 Management
- 5 Maintenance & Packing
- 6 Milstone Manor Staff
- 7 Relatives of staff
- 7.1 Mrs. Annie Humphries (John Inman) (series 5, series 8)
- 7.2 Mrs Peacock (Diana King and Diana Lambert) (series 4, series 8, series 9, series 10)
- 7.3 Cecil G. Slocombe (Donald Morley) (Grace And Favour Series 2)
- 7.4 Mrs. Grainger (Pearl Hackney) (series 2)
- 7.5 Mrs. Rumbold (Jean Challis) (series 10)
- 7.6 Mycroft Rumbold (Nicholas Smith) (Series 8)
- 8 Supporting characters
- 8.1 Mrs. Diana Yardswick, canteen manageress (series 3, 5, 6, 7–10) (Doremy Vernon)
- 8.2 Miss Bakewell/Miss Nicholson (series 4–7, series 8) (Penny Irving)
- 8.3 Miss B. Belfridge (Candy Davis) (series 9–10)
- 8.4 Nurse to the Grace Brothers (season 5–8) (Pat Astly and Vivienne Johnson)
- 8.5 Goddard (Freddie Wiles) (season 1–6)
- 8.6 Virginia Edwards (Louise Burton) (Series 8)
- 8.7 Main Secretary (Debbie Linden) (Series 8)
- 9 Minor characters
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Principal cast durations
|Series 1 (1972-1973)||Series 2 (1974)||Series 3 (1975)||Series 4 (1976)||Are You Being Served?: The Movie (1977)||Series 5 (1977)||Series 6 (1978)||Series 7 (1979)||Series 8 (1981)||Series 9 (1983)||Series 10 (1985)||Grace and Favour: Series 1 (1992)||Grace and Favour: Series 2 (1993)|
|Mrs Slocombe||Mollie Sugden|
|Captain Peacock||Frank Thornton|
|Mr Humphries||John Inman|
|Miss Brahms||Wendy Richard|
|Mr Rumbold||Nicholas Smith|
|Mr Grainger||Arthur Brough|
|Mr Lucas||Trevor Bannister|
|Young Mr Grace||Harold Bennett|
|Mr Mash||Larry Martyn|
|Mr Harman||Arthur English|
|Mr Tebbs||James Hayter|
|Mr Goldberg||Alfie Bass|
|Mr Grossman||Milo Sperber|
|Mr Klein||Benny Lee|
|Mr Spooner||Mike Berry|
|Old Mr Grace||Kenneth Waller|
|Miss Belfridge||Candy Davis|
Of the cast throughout the duration of the series and its sequel, all are deceased with the exception of Candy Davis, Mike Berry and Nicholas Smith.
This section contains information on the characters who worked in the Menswear department of Grace Brothers
Wilberforce Claybourne Humphries (John Inman)
Mr Humphries (John Inman), sales assistant, later senior assistant in menswear. Mr Humphries' colleagues and 'best friends' (although he denied this) were Mr Lucas and Mr Spooner. His ambiguous sexuality was used as a catalyst for many comedic situations and one-liners. Mr Humphries was particularly noted for his mincing walk and his slightly high-pitched voice, which he discarded when answering the phone: "MENSWEAR", he intoned in a falsified baritone. He had one of the most famous catchphrases of the era: when asked by a colleague, "Mr Humphries, are you free?" (to serve a customer), he always gave the exaggerated response, "I'm free!" in a very high pitched voice. As the series progressed he often arrived late at work in increasingly outrageous attire including punk rocker clothing and hair, motorcycle leather jacket and chaps, and a sailor uniform, always with an equally outrageous account of his previous night's activities and his efforts to make it to work on time nonetheless. On one occasion, Mr. Lucas opined to him after a description of the previous evening: "It's all go at your place!" Mr Humphries frequently spoke of a companion or companions referred to only as "my friend", often in a situation that pertained in some way to the subject under discussion. Everyone always assumed that the friends that he mentioned were men and would sometimes ask about them, and Mr Humphries would answer back, "What makes you think it's a 'he'?!", often in a voice lowered by an octave. He was born in 1938/39, so throughout the show, his age was 33/34 - 46/47. He is often described as the most loveable character in the show, and was shown to be the most popular member of the floor in 'Shedding the Load' when he was the only member of staff not to receive a vote to be sacked.
Dick/James Lucas (Trevor Bannister) (series 1–7)
Mr Lucas (Trevor Bannister) (born 1954, aged: 18-31) was the 'Jack the lad' junior menswear assistant, who was nearly always late for work but always had a creative excuse. He was not very concerned about the departmental pecking order, and made many sarcastic remarks, usually towards Mrs Slocombe. In the early series he had a relationship with Miss Brahms, as mentioned in 'Big Brother', however by later episodes she seems to have developed an antipathy towards him. Mr Lucas once called himself the 'best friend' of Mr Humphries, who was quick to deny it. His departure is never explained, although Captain Peacock remarked in the episode "Sit Out" after Mr Lucas left, on a day in which the departments had achieved no sales, that the last time the departments had no sales, "we fired the junior." (In real life Trevor Bannister had already accepted a part in a tour for Middle Age Spread so he was unable to continue the role of Mr Lucas.) In the series Mr Lucas represents fresh, modern thinking contrasted with the stale, old-fashioned thinking that permeates Grace Brothers. In a series 5 episode, Mr Grace decides to Americanise the store, and the staff must call each other by their first names; Mr Lucas embarrassingly reveals to his co-workers that his first name is Dick, much to the delight of Mr Humphries. In "Shedding The Load" he signs a letter as Dick Lucas. But in the series 2 episode The Clock, Mr Mash addresses him as Mr James Lucas.
Ernest Grainger (Arthur Brough) (series 1–5)
Ernest Grainger (Arthur Brough) was the original senior of the menswear department; he had been with Grace Brothers for over four decades. He resented being forced to share the floor with the Ladies Department. He vaguely resembled Winston Churchill, in both appearance and demeanor, and had done impressions of him during the war while in ENSA. Mr Grainger often fell asleep at work, and failed to wake up when called, unless Mr Humphries asked him "Are you free, Mr Grainger?" When flabbergasted, Mr Humprhies would often come to his aid and call for water for him: "Glass of water for Mr Grainger!"
Unlike his successors, Mr Tebbs and Mr Goldberg, who only lasted one series, and Mr Grossman and Mr Klein, who only lasted four episodes, Mr Grainger lasted five series, and was thus the longest-serving menswear senior. Like Mr Rumbold, he was bald. He was 65 in 1974, so was born in 1909.
Although he generally got on well with the others, Mr Grainger would protest and become resentful whenever the menswear department had to share valuable space with the ladies, or when Captain Peacock would nonchalantly mention a perk he had earned despite having served less time at the store than Mr Grainger (such as a visit to the company boardroom). Once he had the opportunity to fill in for Mr Rumbold who was away for a one-month conference (this was a nice gesture, as it entitled Mr Grainger to a slightly bigger pension) but the position went to his head: he took advantage of all Mr Rumbold's perks (in particular the liquor cabinet and cigars), but imposed strict discipline on the rest of the staff: he threatened to make an adverse entry in Peacock's personnel record and he actually sacked Mrs Slocombe (however, he did repent his ways by the end of the episode). His character left when Arthur Brough retired from acting in 1977 following the death of his wife Elizabeth Addyman, to whom he had been married for fifty years.
Percival Tebbs (James Hayter) (series 6)
Mr Tebbs (James Hayter) was Mr Grainger's first replacement as menswear senior, following the death of Arthur Brough who played Grainger. He shared many traits with his predecessor, but unlike the somewhat sloppy Mr Grainger, he was obsessed with order and propriety and considered himself an excellent salesman. He was also an overachiever, and received a number of recognitions from Grace Brothers for his contributions. After only one year in the show, Mr Tebbs retired from Grace Brothers; interestingly, Mr Tebbs' departure was the only one actually addressed by the series (as his retirement party at Grace Brothers is shown). Mr Humphries filled his position; Mr Lucas filled that of Mr Humphries; and Mr Harry Goldberg was hired as junior salesman, but was quickly promoted after one day.
Harry Goldberg (Alfie Bass) (series 7)
Mr Goldberg (Alfie Bass) replaced Mr Tebbs as menswear senior; he originally took on the junior position, while Mr Humphries and Mr Lucas were respectively promoted to Senior Assistants. However, Mr Goldberg had all of his friends purchase goods from him the very next day after he was hired. As a result, he was quickly promoted to menswear senior, and Mr Humphries and Mr Lucas returned to their former positions. Goldberg often tried to supplement his wages, for example by establishing his own recruitment agency (and recruiting Grace Brothers' employees away to better-paying jobs). At his job interview, he revealed that he had spent time in the Army with Captain Peacock, to the shock and amusement of all except Captain Peacock. A slick businessman, Mr Goldberg allegedly burned down his own store for insurance purposes. In order to remain at Grace Brothers he blackmailed Captain Peacock with a picture of them in the army which showed Peacock in a corporal's uniform. Mr Goldberg was much more relaxed than his predecessors, and was in general a friendly presence.
Grossman (Milo Sperber) (series 8)
Mr Grossman (Milo Sperber) Not much is known about him as he only appeared in four episodes, although his first episode, in which he was transferred from the Shoe Department, revealed him to be an expert in shoe sales. Like Mr Goldberg, Mr Grossman was a relaxed and friendly influence in the Men's Department. Mr Grossman also spoke with a foreign accent.
Klein (Benny Lee) (series 8)
Mr Klein (Benny Lee), joined the department to help out with the sale, but is from the Cutting Department. Speaks often of his wife, generally in disparaging tones, and doesn't object to quietly making jokes at Captain Peacock's expense. Other than that, his character remained undeveloped over his brief tenure. Like Mr Grossman, he lasted only four episodes.
Bert Spooner (Mike Berry) (series 8–10)
Mr Spooner (Mike Berry) (born 1954, aged 26-31), Mr Lucas' replacement, was similar to him in many ways: He was best friends with Mr. Humphries, he was sarcastic and lazy, but generally less witty and charming. He made rude remarks, most frequently toward Mrs. Slocombe (often being made to change tables in the canteen for this) and had a hinted affair with Miss Brahms. In the final episode he became a pop star. Mike Berry was unable to return for Grace and Favour, as he was fired for indecent exposure.
This section contains information on the characters who worked in the Ladies wear department.
Mary Elizabeth Jennifer Rachel Abergavenny 'Betty' Slocombe (nee Yiddell) (Mollie Sugden)
Mrs Slocombe (Mollie Sugden), the senior in the ladies department, was born Mary Elizabeth Jennifer Rachel Abergavenny Yiddell in the 1920s  in Blackpool, but usually went by the name Betty. She frequently sported elaborate hairstyles with brightly coloured rinses ranging from blue to more outrageous shades. Mrs. Slocombe's husband left her, or was possibly arrested by the Fraud Squad (although viewers are finally introduced to him in the second series of Grace & Favour), and she lived with her cat, Tiddles, which she referred to as "my pussy"; this was the source of many a double entendre, most of which Mrs. Slocombe herself completely missed. Although Tiddles was generally referred to as a tomcat (male), this was contradicted in one episode when Tiddles had a litter of kittens in the store. Mrs Slocombe also tried to sound refined and "posh", but when exasperated or annoyed, she revealed more than a trace of a working-class Northern accent. She developed something of an adversarial relationship with Mr. Lucas, and later Mr. Spooner, frequently exchanging insults, despite having got along reasonably well with Lucas early on in the series.
Shirley Brahms (Wendy Richard)
Miss Brahms (Wendy Richard) was the attractive junior ladieswear assistant who was often cheeky to Mrs Slocombe. Her Cockney accent was sometimes unintelligible, but she often put on a posher voice when answering the telephone. Under Mrs. Slocombe's guidance, she became a more useful assistant throughout the series, though the hierarchy of Grace Brothers meant that she would have been promoted only when Mrs. Slocombe left. She was attractive and receptive to the advances of Mr. Lucas, Mr. Spooner and, once or twice, Mr. Humphries. Because of her youth and life, she considers herself to have few standards. In one incident, she was approached to participate in a store-wide Holiday Girl contest with the assumption that she would easily win; but she refused, mainly because one of the prizes was a vacation aboard the yacht of Old Mr Grace, who had previously tried to assault her indecently. The biggest sale she ever made was when Mrs. Slocombe was away, temporarily taking Rumbold's place.
This section includes the characters who had a management role at Grace Brothers.
Captain Stephen Peacock (Frank Thornton)
Captain Stephen Peacock (Frank Thornton), the somewhat stuffy floorwalker, considers himself a cut above the assistants with both his position at the store and his dubious military record; he even feels the need to brag about his experiences fighting Rommel in North Africa. But Mr. Mash likes to tell the staff that Peacock served in the NAAFI instead, and probably never left England, while Mr. Goldberg hints that Peacock was actually only a corporal. Allegedly, despite his military rank, Peacock began at Grace Brothers as a sweeper in the stockroom. Although Peacock usually talks as if he were a member of the elite Commando unit, on two occasions he admits he was in the Royal Army Service Corps. He is very pedantic with the staff (in one instance admonishing Miss Brahms for being one second late for work) as well as being rather disloyal to his colleagues (believing Mr. Humphries guilty of stealing money from the till in spite of knowing him for 9 years). By 1975 he had been working at Grace Brothers for 20 years. In the episode 'Front Page Story' Mr. Humhpries states that Peacock is 55, meaning he must have been born in 1926, the same age as Mrs. Slocombe.
Cuthbert Rumbold (Nicholas Smith)
Mr. Rumbold (Nicholas Smith), the manager of the floor, was often mocked for his bald head, large ears, and lack of intelligence. Nicknamed "Jug Ears", he frequently took slang phrases literally, leading to his formulating far-fetched explanations of incidents between staff members. He often took credit for others' ideas but subsequently tried to deny all involvement when the idea inevitably proved disastrous. Mr. Rumbold's greatest ambition was to become a director of Grace Brothers: he looks up dreamily whenever the word "boardroom" is mentioned. He was usually oblivious to the sex appeal of his attractive secretaries. By the time of Grace and Favour Mrs. Rumbold has left Mr. Rumbold for a younger do-it-yourself man. In the episode 'Roots' his brother Mycroft (also played by Smith) makes a brief appearance.
The Grace brothers (Harold Bennett and Kenneth Waller) (series 1–8, series 8)
The Grace brothers, Young Mr. Grace (Harold Bennett) and Old Mr. Grace (Kenneth Waller), were the old-fashioned owners of the store. Both were old but loved young, curvaceous women. They both treated their employees with respect and encouragement, hence Young Mr. Grace's catch phrase, "You've all done very well!" However, they were terminally naive to the fact that Grace Brothers was in its declining years. Despite the wealth of the family, they were somewhat stingy with money and paid their workers terribly, causing many strikes, disagreements and disruptions. Young Mr. Grace started off as a fish salesman before inheriting the store from an uncle in 1926. Old Mr Grace remained an unseen character until series eight, and there was a recurring joke for many years in which, upon seeing Young Mr. Grace for the first time, someone would ask in surprise, "That's Young Mr. Grace?" The other person always replied, "Old Mr. Grace doesn't get about much these days." Ironically, when he finally did appear in the show, Kenneth Waller (as Old Mr Grace) twenty-eight years younger than Harold Bennett (as Young Mr Grace). It was revealed that Young Mr. Grace had a wife who died in 1935. Young Mr. Grace's age was a mystery. In 1976, it was said he was 80, yet in 1977, it was said he was born in 1897, and his 80th birthday was celebrated in that episode. In 1978, it was said that it was his 80th birthday then. Old Mr. Grace was born in 1891, and celebrated his 90th birthday in 1981. At some point, Young Mr. Grace had a heart attack and was left with a very weak heart afterwards. Whenever his secretary showed off her legs, it would have a terrible effect on his heart.
Maintenance & Packing
This section includes characters who worked in Maintenance & Packing.
Mash (Larry Martyn) (series 1–3)
Mr. Mash (Larry Martyn) was a Grace Brothers maintenance man. He was frequently reprimanded by Captain Peacock for appearing on the sales floor during business hours, but had no fear of his superiors. He had a thorough knowledge of store operations and was a union agitator. He often bragged of taking home much larger pay cheques than the sales assistants due to overtime. Mr. Mash was rather weedy and class-conscious, and made sneering comments towards the sales staff.
Beverley/Harry Harman (Arthur English) (series 4–10)
Mr. Harman (Arthur English) replaced Mr. Mash in Series 4 as maintenance man. He shared some traits with Mr. Mash: both were "common" sorts and union men; and like Mash he battled with Captain Peacock over his appearances on the floor during store hours. However, he was considerably less militant and was more friendly towards the sales staff. Reciprocally, the other staff were much more accepting of him than they had been of Mr. Mash, and he frequently acted as a member of the group and not just as an antagonist. He graciously assisted Mrs. Slocombe in the episode "The Apartment", when she was allowed to stay on the sixth floor of the building, by setting up various items of furniture and displays so that she could have all the creature comforts. He also masterminded the deception in "The Hold Up", dressing up as the leader of "The Gumby Gang" in order to fool the small-time burglars who were holding Miss Brahms, Captain Peacock and Mr. Spooner hostage. In earlier episodes he was referred to as "Harry", but in the episode "Monkey Business", when Mr. Rumbold addresses the staff by their first names (calling Harman "Harry") Harman says his name is actually Beverley, "but it's the thought that counts". Seymour later refers to him as Beverley in "The Pop Star".
Warwick and Seymour (Jimmy Mac and Keith Hodiak) (series 6–10)
Warwick (Jimmy Mac) and Seymour (Keith Hodiak) were both assistants to Mr. Harman in later series. Warwick made brief appearances from series six to series nine and Seymour appeared more visibly in three episodes of series ten. Two other assistants appeared throughout, one unnamed in one episode in series five and one named Stanford in two episodes in series nine.
Milstone Manor Staff
This section includes characters who worked at Milstone Manor in Grace & Favour
Maurice Moulterd (Billy Burden)
Played by: Billy Burden
A longtime farmer and ratcatcher, old Maurice proves to be a ghost from Mrs. Slocombe's past when he remembers her from her days as a land girl during the Second World War, and as it turns out he still fancies her. It is Maurice who saves Mrs. Slocombe's hide on two occasions, first when she is tried for the theft of a gypsy horse and cart, and second when her ex-husband Cecil attempts to buy Millstone Manor.
Mavis Moulterd (Fleur Bennett)
Played by: Fleur Bennett
Maurice Moulterd's beautiful, hardworking daughter, she has been relentlessly pursued by village bully Malcolm Heathcliff, whom she detests, for as long as she can remember. And things get even more complicated when she falls for Mr. Humphries after he and the rest of the Grace Brothers staffers arrive at Millstone Manor.
Jessica Lovelock (Joanne Heywood)
Played by: Joanne Heywood
Ms. Lovelock was Mr. Grace's assistant, who tended to Mr. Grace in his last year and was with him when he died while scuba diving. In Grace and Favour, she is living in the groom's quarters. Her presence gave Captain Peacock something to look forward to each morning and caused Mrs. Slocombe and Miss Brahms to increasingly dislike her.
Relatives of staff
Mrs. Annie Humphries (John Inman) (series 5, series 8)
Mrs Annie Humphries is Mr. Humphries' mother. She only appears twice during the show. The other times that we hear about her is from Mr. Humphries himself or from their telephone calls during and after work. Her marital status is unknown, in early series and in 'Heir Apparent' Mr. Humphries mentions his father, but for most of the show she stays with Mr. Humphries at a shared home, and Mr. Humphries speaks frequently about her, at one point saying 'I wish she'd get married again'. The first time she appears is in the episode Founder's Day, where she explains how Mr. Humphries got his job at Grace Brothers. The second time she appears is in "Heir apparent", where Old Mr Grace is thought to be Mr Humphries' father. In this episode, Mr. Humphries' mother does come to Grace Brothers. Her first appearance was a video recording. John Inman was not credited for that episode. In the second episode, however, he was credited as a 'guest appearance'. In this episode the mother and son never cross paths, and one is always looking for the other. Mr. Humphries' mother often tries to change her son's sexual orientation. She often enrolls him in things that will 'make him a man'. In the movie, she overhears the female worker, Conchita, asking Mr. Humphries if she can share his bed. She tells him that 'the change will do him good.'
Mrs Peacock (Diana King and Diana Lambert) (series 4, series 8, series 9, series 10)
Mrs Peacock was the long-suffering wife of Captain Peacock. She always suspected Captain Peacock of cheating on her and all her on-screen appearances were during periods of marital discord. In Mrs Peacock's first appearance ("Oh What A Tangled Web"), she suspected Captain Peacock of having an affair with Mr Rumbold's secretary, Miss Hazelewood, because her brother had seen them in a car together, although he was later cleared. In her second appearance ("A Personal Problem"), because Captain Peacock had accidentally put his hands down a Miss Pickthorpe's cleavage to retrieve some spilt blancmange and semolina pudding at a party (the department Miss Pickthorpe works for was never specified, and the semolina pudding tuned out to be Mr Harrowgate and Miss Fawcett the year before. Like Miss Pickthorpe, their department was never found out). Mrs Peacock became Mr Rumbold's secretary, and she pretended that she was having an affair with him to make Captain Peacock jealous. In her third appearance ("The Sweet Smell Of Success"), Mrs Peacock burst into Mr Rumbold's office because she suspected Captain Peacock of flirting with Mr Rumbold's new secretary, Miss Belfridge. In her fourth appearance ("Grounds For Divorce"), Captain Peacock chose to stay with her rather than a bank/accounts clerk who had become infatuated with him. In her fifth appearance ("Friends And Neighbours"), Mrs Peacock came to the Grace Brothers houses to check up on her husband (like Mrs Rumbold), but she left satisfied (unlike Mrs Rumbold). Captain Peacock once mentioned that she had many brothers and sisters ("His And Hers" and "The Think Tank"). By the time of Grace and Favour, Mrs Peacock seems to be either dead or divorced from Captain Peacock as she is neither seen nor mentioned.
Cecil G. Slocombe (Donald Morley) (Grace And Favour Series 2)
Cecil G. Slocombe was Mrs. Slocombe's husband. He met her in an air raid in WW2. He either left her when he went to go shopping in Sainsburys, or was arrested by the Fraud Squad. He became a successful land developer, and tried to buy Millstone Mannor, in Grace And Favour, but was fortunately put off.
Mrs. Grainger (Pearl Hackney) (series 2)
Mrs. Grainger was Mr. Grainger's wife. She was mentioned by him, to miss Mrs. Dale's Diary, despite that it had gone off the air over twenty years earlier, and to want a world-cruise, when it appeared that Mr. Grainger had won a lot of money. Mrs. Grainger's only appearance was when she came to the store in "The Clock", to celebrate Mr. Grainger's 65th birthday.
Mrs. Rumbold (Jean Challis) (series 10)
Mrs. Rumbold was Mr. Rumbold's wife. She was rarely mentioned and only appeared once in the show, that was when she suspected Mr. Rumbold of cheating on her ("Friends And Neighbours), and she stormed into the Grace Brothers flats to see what was going on, and discovered her husband drinking champagne with his secretary, Miss Belfridge. By the time of Grace And Favour, Mrs Rumbold has left her husband for Mr. Prentice of Tools And Hardware.
Mycroft Rumbold (Nicholas Smith) (Series 8)
Mycroft is Mr. Rumbold's brother. He is only seen once, and it is implied that he is an artist or family researcher, for he makes a shield for Old Mr. Grace's 90th birthday, to celebrate his roots, which were Welsh, then Scottish, then from Somerset, and then had something to do with the Black and White Minstrels. Unlike his brother, he has a head of flaming red hair, and has thin, metal-rimmed glasses.
Mrs. Diana Yardswick, canteen manageress (series 3, 5, 6, 7–10) (Doremy Vernon)
Manager of the canteen, once addressed as Diana and again as Mrs. Yardswick, mostly cooked disgraceful food, and had a large, rubbish-strewn kitchen. She frequently had arguments with the senior staff and wasn't worried about being fired due to her union, 'National Associated Canteen Employees, Restaurant and Domestic' (NACERD, a play on the term knackered).
Miss Bakewell/Miss Nicholson (series 4–7, series 8) (Penny Irving)
Miss Bakewell was Young Mr. Grace's secretary from season four to the end of season seven where she left alongside Mr Grace. Irving also appeared in the movie where she was named Miss Nicholson. Due to her good looks, she frequently came to the attention of the male staff.
Miss B. Belfridge (Candy Davis) (series 9–10)
Miss Belfridge was the longest-running secretary of Mr. Rumbold (lasting two seasons) and caught the attentions of most male staff (especially Captain Peacock, besides Mr. Rumbold). The busty blonde appeared to be smitten by Captain Peacock, often flirting with him. She appeared in many episodes and was the most prominent of Mr Rumbold's secretaries. She has an O-Level in Literature, and is known or her flamboyant clothes and hairstyles. She is conscientious of her hair and nails, and is sometimes portrayed as mildly stupid.
Nurse to the Grace Brothers (season 5–8) (Pat Astly and Vivienne Johnson)
Although her character was never given a name, the blonde nurse to both Old Mr Grace and Young Mr Grace appeared on the programme for three series. She is mostly recalled for her good looks and particularly for her seductive, husky voice; which was used for effect in the episode "Closed Circuit" when Miss Brahms' high-pitched Cockney accent proves to be incompatible as the public face of Grace Brothers' department store. Nurse dubs Miss Brahms' voice, causing a passing by Lord to become smitten with the sound of her. Another actress also played the role in season five, Pat Astly.
Goddard (Freddie Wiles) (season 1–6)
Goddard was the early chaffeur to Young Mr Grace. He appeared in many episodes between the pilot and season six. He always appeared in clothing similar to a military uniform. Although regularly appearing and escorting Mr Grace around the store, Wiles was never credited for his role. However Freddie Wiles played a porter in the final episode of season five and was credited.
Virginia Edwards (Louise Burton) (Series 8)
Virginia Edwards is Old Mr. Grace's Deputy Secretary. She seems to pal up with Mr. Grace's nurse. In her interview, she sits on Mr. Grace's knee and types a letter, with one finger, that Mr. Grace is dictating to her.
Main Secretary (Debbie Linden) (Series 8)
Although never being assigned a name, Old Mr. Grace's Main Secretary is very good looking. When Old Mr. Grace first meets her, she is described by Mr. Harman as 'one owner since new, very sporty, and capable of high speeds if you put your foot down and she's all yours.' She is blonde, and often wears short skirts, low cut tops and she has a purple streak in her hair. She only appeared in five episodes, after Mr. Grace says that he is going off on a course.
This section contains the minor characters in Are You Being Served?
Even though Fenemore played one character, it was assigned three names (Elsie, Daphne, Ivy). She appeared between seasons two and seven, and always has her hair in curlers and wears a turban, except series seven where she wears a white, bright yellow overall. She speaks with a Cockney accent, and is apparently married, although her husband is only mentioned once. In one episode she is joined by another cleaner played by Lambert (Cold Comfort). In the final episode, the cleaners are played by Mary Bradley and Joan Dainty.
Mrs Axelby is the best friend and possibly close neighbour of Mrs Slocombe. She is never seen on screen but Mrs Slocombe mentioned her many times, mostly starting with the line "My friend Mrs Axelby". They would seem to frequent a lot of bars together in search of men. Many episodes begin with Mrs Slocombe relating an anecdote involving her and Mrs Axelby to Miss Brahms. She is described as a tough woman, who plays many contact sports and is a chain smoker. In Grace and Favour, Mrs Slocombe talked about her being trapped in Spain while working on a nudist beach hiring umbrellas and chairs to tourists. In an earlier episode, she is referred to as 'Mrs. Elthrop'.
Tiddles was the pet cat and longtime feline companion of Mrs Slocombe. Mrs Slocombe refers to Tiddles as her "pussy". Mrs. Slocombe clearly loves Tiddles often voicing her dislike for staying behind for a staff meeting, or coming in early, due to inconveniencing Tiddles. It is later revealed that Mrs Slocombe owns a parrot/canary called Winston whom Tiddles does not get on with. In "Mrs Slocombe Expects", Mrs Slocombe discovers that Tiddles was pregnant and suspects that the father is a Burmese cat that lives nearby. Later, Mrs Slocombe becomes worried that Tiddles will go into labour when she is not there so decides to ask permission to bring her into work. When Mr Rumbold refuses, Mr Harman smuggles her into the tailor store in a coffee machine and she goes into labour. Tiddles's tail is actually seen coming out of the coffee machine (this was props, not a real cat). Mrs Slocombe is prevented from helping her. The management work out Tiddles is there. When they go in, they find that Tiddles now has six kittens. Captain Peacock and Mr Rumbold's anger are washed away at the sight of the "cute and enchanting" kittens. The credits then show each of the staff (apart from Young Mr Grace and Mr Rumbold) holding, smiling and cuddling one of the kittens. (Live kittens were shown briefly in the episode.) In "The Apartment", Mrs Slocombe is moving house and but finds she has squatters in her new house, so Mrs Slocombe temporarily moves into the store and makes up a little house and takes Tiddles and Winston with her. Tiddles is actually seen again in her carrier box (once again Tiddles is portrayed by props). In "Lost And Found", Tiddles went missing causes great distress for Mrs Slocombe. The staff receive news that one of her toys was found near a well. Fearing the worst, the staff decide to buy her a kitten called Madam Wou whose father was "Emperor Chong of Bangkok, five times triple champion". At the end, Tiddles returns with another six kittens and sired by Madam Wou's father. Mrs Slocombe also briefly wins another parrot/canary in the Lottery. In "The Night Club", Mrs Slocombe tries to send a telephone message to Tiddles but accidentally sends it to a neighbour, making him think that she fancies him. Tiddles was seen live for the first time in Grace and Favour. In "Fifty Years On", it is revealed that Tiddles was born in the late 1960s. Tiddles's appearance keeps changing throughout the series. In "Mrs Slocombe Expects", Tiddles appears to be a grey tabby. In "The Apartment", Tiddles is a black cat. In Grace and Favour, Tiddles is a blueish-grey Persian cat. Also in Grace and Favour, it is revealed that Mrs Slocombe had a cat before Tiddles, in 1951. Despite having been depicted as having had kittens with male cats (two litters: six in each, making twelve), and being referenced as a female in some episodes, Tiddles was sometimes referred to as a tomcat (male).
Played By: Avril Angers
Despite only appearing in one episode (Mrs. Slocombe, Senior Person), Miss Comlozi is mentioned in several other episodes, and works in the Cosmetics department. In a later episode, it is said she was fired for being rude to a customer. In earlier episodes, she is said to be a friend of Mrs. Slocombe, but in her appearance she is heard to call Mrs. Slocombe a 'silly old bitch'.
Played By: Renu Setna
Mr Patel is the head of the accounting department. Like Miss Comlozi, he only appeared in one episode, but is mentioned frequently by members of staff. In a later episode, he has resigned due to one of Mr. Grace's new rules or schemes. He is from either India or Bangledesh, for he is said to eat curry and chapatis.
- Are You Being Served? at BBC Online
- Are You Being Served? at the British Film Institute
- List of Are You Being Served? characters at the BFI's Screenonline
- Are You Being Served? at the Internet Movie Database