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Grace & Favour

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Grace & Favour
Also known asAre You Being Served? Again!
Written byJeremy Lloyd
David Croft
Directed byMike Stephens
StarringMollie Sugden
Frank Thornton
John Inman
Wendy Richard
Nicholas Smith
Fleur Bennett
Joanne Heywood
Billy Burden
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
ProducerMike Stephens
Running time30 minutes
Production companyBBC
Original release
Release10 January 1992 (1992-01-10) –
8 February 1993 (1993-02-08)
Are You Being Served?

Grace & Favour (known as Are You Being Served? Again! in the United States) is a British television sitcom that was first broadcast on BBC1 from 1992 to 1993. It served as a sequel series to Are You Being Served?, and was written by Are You Being Served? creators and writers Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft. The series starred Mollie Sugden, Frank Thornton, John Inman, Wendy Richard and Nicholas Smith reprising their Are You Being Served? roles, and also starred Fleur Bennett, Joanne Heywood and Billy Burden.


The idea of a spin-off was suggested by the cast of Are You Being Served? almost immediately after the original series had ended in 1985. Lloyd and Croft liked the idea, but agreed that the department store format was exhausted and that any spin-off would require a change of location.[1] Despite the enthusiasm of the original cast, it was almost seven years before Lloyd and Croft brought them back to television. Most of the original cast were able to return quite easily, with the exception of Wendy Richard, who had since joined the soap EastEnders; however, she was given a leave of absence from that programme, and temporarily written out so she could reprise her role of Miss Brahms.

The plot line that brought the cast from the store to the manor was considered remarkably topical, since it aired just a few months after the death of British publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, who was revealed to have borrowed heavily against his own employees' pensions, in a similar vein to what Young Mr Grace does in the series.

Grace & Favour is different from Are You Being Served? in that it involves a continuous story arc, with certain plot elements, such as the relationship between Mr Humphries and Mavis Moulterd, unfolding throughout each episode. This in turn allowed the series to involve more complex storylines and subplots, making it possible to include returning guest stars and location shooting, neither of which was done on Are You Being Served?.

The title of the series is a double play on words. A "grace and favour" is a home or other property owned by a monarch but given to the use of a faithful retainer upon retirement, as with the retired characters in this series. "Grace" is the surname of the owner of Grace Brothers (the fictional department store where the characters had previously worked) who had also been the previous owner of Millstone Manor.

International broadcasts[edit]

In the United States, the series was broadcast on PBS member stations as Are You Being Served? Again! in 1992. In a documentary included with the Are You Being Served? DVD box set, John Inman mentioned that he preferred the American title, and thought the programme may have performed better if that title had been used in the UK as well.

In Australia, the series was broadcast on Network Ten in 1994.[2]


Audio samples of Grace & Favour (media help)

The main cast included the five actors and characters who had appeared in every episode of Are You Being Served?. These were John Inman (Mr Humphries), Mollie Sugden (Mrs Slocombe), Frank Thornton (Captain Peacock), Wendy Richard (Miss Brahms) and Nicholas Smith (Mr Rumbold).

Of the other surviving Are You Being Served? cast members who had either left or joined the cast during the programme’s run, only Trevor Bannister (Mr Lucas) was reportedly asked to join Grace & Favour, but declined.

Several new recurring characters were added to the show. Joanne Heywood as Miss Lovelock, Billy Burden as farmer Morris Moulterd, and Fleur Bennett as his daughter, Mavis, appeared in all twelve episodes. Michael Bilton, as Mr Grace's solicitor, Mr Thorpe, and his assistant, Miss Prescott, played by Shirley Cheriton, also played key roles in both series.


The cast of Grace & Favour (left to right): Frank Thornton (Captain Peacock), Mollie Sugden (Mrs Slocombe), John Inman (Mr Humphries), Wendy Richard (Miss Brahms), Nicholas Smith (Mr Rumbold).


Plot line[edit]

The new series has the elderly and womanising Young Mr Grace, head of Grace Brothers department store, recently deceased while scuba-diving on holiday in the Caribbean with his personal secretary, Miss Jessica Lovelock. As per the instructions in his will, the remaining workers in each department at Grace Brothers' closing sale find their pensions invested in different things. The members of the Men's and Ladies' Departments, along with Miss Lovelock, inherit the estate that is the locale of the show.

Young Mr Grace had invested their pension funds in a multitude of antiquated businesses, the largest of which is a country manor house called Millstone Manor. The will stipulates that they cannot sell the house and split the profits, but can use the property in the manner of their choosing. After a trip to Millstone Manor to view the property, where they also learn their pensions are minuscule, they decide to live in the manor in order to run it as an inn and live off the proceeds. Miss Lovelock, given accommodation in the grooms' quarters and charge of the horses, also lives at the manor much to the distress of Mrs Slocombe and Miss Brahms. Captain Peacock is not so bothered, however.

The series begins just after the funeral of Mr Grace, and quickly brings the cast to Millstone Manor. There they find Mr Rumbold having trouble trying to find new staff after telling the previous staff "in no uncertain terms" that if they did not straighten up they could leave – and they left. With time running out, the old Grace Brothers employees are obliged to "stand in" for the staff in order to have their picture taken as the inn staff for a travel brochure. Soon they find that they are running the inn themselves with the help of Mr Moulterd, who manages the manor's farm, and his daughter Mavis, who helps out at the manor.

With Mr Humphries forced by circumstance to share a bed with Mavis, he finds that she develops a bit of a crush on him. This series of events leads all of the cast to assume they are having an affair, which flatters Mr Humphries, though he denies any such goings-on. Despite these events, Mr Humphries continues to be rather ambivalent to the idea of a relationship with anyone. A young man from the village vies with Humphries for Mavis' affection, and frequently attempts to intimidate him by threatening him with violence.

On her first day in the country, Mrs Slocombe tries to move a gypsy's wagon that blocked the road and ends up charged with wagon theft, narrowly avoiding a charge of indecent exposure since there was "just a flash" as the out-of-control wagon raced past the post office. At her trial, all of her colleagues are called as witnesses, but it is Mr Moulterd who ends up winning the case for her. Mrs Slocombe is grateful, despite her irritation that he brings up their sexual relationship during the War, which she insists never happened. Also notable is the unexpected appearance of the oft alluded to, but never-before-seen Mr Slocombe, from whom Mrs Slocombe seeks to hide her identity.

Other events include the staff putting on a traditional harvest festival dance for octogenarian American visitors and putting on a showcase of British arts and culture for a tour group from Mongolia.

Episode 1 of Series 2 contains a number of satirical references to the wrongful conviction and hanging of Derek Bentley for the murder of a policeman. The case revolved around the issue of whether Bentley's words "Let him have it, Chris" to his associate Christopher Craig were meant literally ("Let him have the gun") or figuratively ("Open fire!"). The case had been widely publicised and was the subject of a film titled Let Him Have It starring Christopher Eccleston, that was released three months before the first episode was broadcast.


Series 1 (1992)[edit]

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
11"The Inheritance"10 January 1992 (1992-01-10)
Young Mr Grace has died and the store has closed down. On behalf of the pension fund, Mr Grace acquired a Tudor manor house with farm which at the moment is being run as a country house hotel. Being the only source of pension money for the retired staff, they all decide to visit for the weekend to investigate its possibilities.
22"Under Arrest"17 January 1992 (1992-01-17)
The staff decide to take over Millstone Manor and run it for themselves. The home farm, run by Maurice Moulterd and his daughter Mavis, provides fresh eggs for breakfast, but Mrs Slocombe gets a shock whilst collecting them. Mr Humphries and Mavis "to and fro" in the woodshed.
33"The Court Case"24 January 1992 (1992-01-24)
Mrs Slocombe finds herself in court, charged with stealing a gypsy cart. Captain Peacock and the others travel to town on the back of Moulterd's pig cart. Once in court the staff come forward as character witnesses.
44"Looking for Staff"31 January 1992 (1992-01-31)
A group of American tourists, the hotel's first guests, are due to arrive at the weekend but there are still very few replies to Mr Rumbold's advertisement for staff. The only alternative is for them all to knuckle down and try to make the place presentable.
55"Things That Go Bump in the Night"7 February 1992 (1992-02-07)
A photograph is organised for the hotel brochure. The staff decide to fill the vacant positions at the Manor themselves. Something ghastly (with a bald head and big ears) walks about the manor on a dark and stormy night.
66"American Tourists"14 February 1992 (1992-02-14)
A group of American tourists arrive for the weekend as part of their European tour. The former shop workers do their best, but the Americans are expecting a church service and the traditional Harvest Thanksgiving dance.

Series 2 (1993)[edit]

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
71"The Gun"4 January 1993 (1993-01-04)
Mrs Slocombe's cat, Tiddles, gets gummed up. A gun discovered by Captain Peacock brings the riot police to Millstone Manor where the criminal records of such notorious characters as "Knuckles Rumbold" are revealed.
82"The Cricket Match"11 January 1993 (1993-01-11)
The staff organize a cricket match against the townspeople. The match is marred by the jealousy of Malcolm Heathcliff, who sees Mr Humphries as a rival for Mavis's affections. The highlights of the match are a fantastic dive by Mrs Slocombe and a winning stroke by Mr Humphries.
93"Mr Slocombe"18 January 1993 (1993-01-18)
Mrs Slocombe's long-lost husband pays an unexpected visit after an absence of 42 years, forcing Mrs Slocombe into hiding. When the staff find that he intends to purchase the hotel, they temporarily expand the staff to make the idea seem unprofitable.
104"A Mummified Cat"25 January 1993 (1993-01-25)
Mr Rumbold, Mrs Slocombe, Mr Humphries and Miss Brahms plant potatoes. Captain Peacock removes a petrified cat from a niche in the attic, precipitating a series of supernatural events.
115"The Darts Match"1 February 1993 (1993-02-01)
After Mr Rumbold complains that he gets no respect, the staff vote to share authority democratically. The staff play darts against the local team at the village pub. Captain Peacock leads a commando raid to rescue a flock of sheep, when the staff, expecting them to be breeding stock, discovers that the man they sold the sheep to, plans to sell them to the knackers.
126"The Mongolians"8 February 1993 (1993-02-08)
A Mongolian tour group gets a cultural extravaganza from the staff at Millstone Manor. The high point of their visit occurs on the presentation of the ballet by Mr "Sergei" Humphries and Miss "Natasha" Lovelock.

Home media[edit]

Both series of Grace & Favour have been released on DVD in the US, UK[3] and Australia.

Location filming[edit]

All external filming for the series was undertaken in and around Tetbury in Gloucestershire. Primary filming was at Chavenage House, which was used for Millstone Manor, just outside Tetbury.


  1. ^ Rigelsford, Adrian; Brown, Anthony; Tibballs, Geoff (1995), Are You Being Served?: The Inside Story of Britain's Funniest—and Public Television's Favorite—Comedy Series, KQED Books, ISBN 0-912333-04-9
  2. ^ Are You Being Served? / Grace and Favour Promo (1994), YouTube, 25 February 2017, retrieved 6 March 2024
  3. ^ "Grace & Favour (Are You Being Served? Again!) The Complete Series(BBC TV) (DVD)". Amazon.co.uk. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.

External links[edit]