Are You Being Served?. Image shows from L to R: Mrs. Betty Slocombe (Mollie Sugden), Captain Stephen Peacock (Frank Thornton). Image credit: Anglo-EMI.

Are You Being Served?

The staff of Grace Bros. take a trip to Costa Plonka while the department is being remodelled

AKA:
Are You Being Served?: The Movie
Genre:
Sitcom
Released:
1977
Starring:
John Inman, Mollie Sugden, Frank Thornton, Trevor Bannister, Wendy Richard, Arthur Brough, Nicholas Smith, Harold Bennett, Arthur English, Karan David, Glyn Houston
Writers:
David Croft, Jeremy Lloyd
Production:
Anglo-EMI

When Grace Brothers closes for redecoration, Young Mr. Grace decides to send the staff on holiday to the Costa Plonka. But first, Mrs. Slocombe needs to sort out her passport photograph and her injections, and Mr. Rumbold needs to hand out the tickets. Well that's simple enough, isn't it?

Meanwhile, the staff discover that Mr. Harman is coming with them. Then they later find out that Mr. Rumbold is coming too. To make things worse, he has purchased the same hat as Captain Peacock, and they can't possibly be seen matching!

Upon arrival at the Costa Plonka, the staff find that their rooms won't be ready until the morning, so they are forced to spend the night in tents. This would normally be alright but a criminal is on the lookout for Mrs. Slocombe...

Our Review: As with most big screen spin-offs, the jokes were sparse and the comfort of the series had been removed. However, the film has a strong plot and the actors are on top form, particularly John Inman and Mollie Sugden.

Guest stars such as Andrew Sachs are incorporated into the story well and the general feel of the film is positive. The story moves with a gentle pace and the comedy glides along beside it. As a stand-alone film it's not awful, but compared to the TV series it just doesn't work; no doubt it would have been a different experience in a packed cinema as intended at the time of production and initial release, but now the lack of a studio audience's laughter is particularly obvious and at odds with the humour. Rightly or wrongly, this is widely regarded as the worst of all sitcom-to-movie adaptations of the 1960s-80s.