Nicholas Smith (actor)

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Nicholas Smith
Born Nicholas Smith
(1934-03-05) 5 March 1934 (age 81)
Banstead, Surrey, England
Nationality British
Ethnicity English
Occupation Actor
Television Are You Being Served?
Spouse(s) Mary Smith
Children Catherine Russell

Nicholas Smith (born 5 March 1934) is an English actor who is best known for playing the bald and jug-eared manager, of the fictional department store Grace Brothers, Mr Rumbold, in the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served?.

Early life[edit]

Smith's father was a chartered surveyor and he attended a preparatory school and St. John's School, Leatherhead. He learned to play musical instruments, studied singing and trained as an actor at RADA. He then appeared in repertory theatres, on the West End stage, at the Bristol Old Vic and on Broadway.[1]


Smith's earliest TV roles were as a non-speaking extra in various ITV programmes. He had his first speaking role in 1964 in the BBC's Doctor Who serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Smith persuaded the serial's director, Richard Martin, to expand the role so that his character, Wells, appeared in three of the serial's six episodes instead of only one or two as originally scripted. This was followed by small roles in many other adventure series, such as The Saint, The Avengers, The Champions and Ace of Wands.

Are You Being Served?[edit]

Are You Being Served? began in 1972, with Smith playing Mr. Cuthbert "Jug Ears" Rumbold, the manager of the menswear and ladieswear departments in a large fictional London store called Grace Brothers.

Smith remained with the programme until its end in 1985, as well as appearing in the spin-off film in 1977 and the sitcom's sequel, Grace & Favour (known as Are You Being Served? Again! in the United States), in 1992 and 1993. With the death of Frank Thornton on 16 March 2013, Smith is the last surviving member of the original cast of Are You Being Served?[2]. The only other principal actor who survives is Mike Berry, who was brought in as "Mr. Spooner" when Trevor Bannister left the series.

Other roles[edit]

From September 1972, in contrast to his contemporaneous work in Are You Being Served?, he also had a semi-regular role as PC Jeff Yates in the series Z-Cars. His last appearance as Yates was in February 1975. His film work included appearances in Salt and Pepper (1968), A Walk with Love and Death (1969), The Twelve Chairs (1970), The Canterbury Tales (1972) directed by Pasolini, and The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975) as Hunkston, Sigerson Holmes' servant.

In 1979, he appeared in Worzel Gummidge as Mr Foster, the headmaster of the school.

In 1986 he played Sir John Treymayne in the British tour of Me And My Girl, a role played in the West End by his Are You Being Served? co-star Frank Thornton. In 1987 he joined the cast on And There's More and was paired up with Joan Sims for a number of sketches for each episodes as an old couple.

He appeared in the TV mini-series Martin Chuzzlewit. In 2005, Smith featured in a supporting role as Vicar Clement Hedges in the Academy Award-winning film Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. In 2008, he appeared as a vicar in Last of the Summer Wine.

In 2010, he appeared in children's TV programme M.I. High as Professor Quakermass. Smith also writes music and poetry. He is the father of actress Catherine Russell.


  1. ^ Who's Who on Television Independent Television Publications Ltd (1970)
  2. ^ "Frank Thornton, Star Of 'Last Of The Summer Wine', 'Are You Being Served?' Dies, Aged 92". Huffington Post. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

  • Nicholas Smith at the Internet Movie Database
  • Are You Being Served? A Celebration of Twenty-Five Years. Richard Webber with David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd. New York; Welcome Rain, 1998.