TV Cream

Films: A is for...

Are You Being Served?

On the tarmac the joke is presented, “Those people down there look small enough to be ants,” the answer is proffered, “They are ants, we’re still on the ground,” and verily one concludes – rightly – that this is cobblers. We’re not meant to question why the entire staff are on holiday in the one place and all at the one time, but to be honest that’s not the question foremost in our minds when watching this. Derek Griffiths is wasted, too. Criminal prosecutions must shortly begin.

AUTEUR’S CORNER: We’ve been unnecessarily unkind to the director of this bewilderingly oft-scheduled CostaPlonkathon, Bob Kellet, in the past, with the sole reason given as prosecutory evidence his workmanlike stewardship of the thing, as if any degree of sow’s-earage was possible with such a benighted specimen in the first place. Turns out Kello’s a solid comedy workhorse. He was one of the main men called upon by the great Dormar Productions, they of the pre-Sykes silent short whimsy, to oversee such fun as pubic Cribbins building site classic A Home of Your Own and feature-length speechless trans-Manche frivolity San Ferry Ann. He was also at the helm of the recently DVD-ed-up Ronnie Barker slapsticker Futtock’s End, and directed all the Frankie Howerd Up Pompeii! film spin-offs to boot. Such a CV would be worthy of enshrinement above the Creamguide (Films) mantle on its own, but there’s more. There was odd homophobe-baiting stage adaptation Girl Stroke Boy, with Michael Hordern and Joan Greenwood taken aback when their button-down son (Mr Sloane of ‘Entertaining’ fame) comes home with the screamingly camp son of Rudolph Walker. Gender-bending of a more  straightforward variety came with Danny la Rue wartime vehicle Our Miss Fred. In the TVC Top 100 pantheon, there was vintage farce Don’t Just Lie, There, Say Something, and bizarro second Till Death… film The Alf Garnett Saga, complete with infamous ‘Alf on acid’ scene. In the sexcom stakes there was All I Want is You… And You… And You…, about which we know nowt other than it came from Tony Tenser-affiliated production house Globebest Films, the same people who brought you the original The Stud, starring Dudley Sutton (aka The Importance of Being Randy). Better yet was Spano-British farce Spanish Fly, with lingerie magnate Leslie Phillips coming under the influence of caddish wine merchant Terry-Thomas’s ad hoc love potion. To top it all off, he more or less auteured late-period Children’s Film Foundation stuck cable car favourite Tightrope to Terror. Aye, it seems we’ve sore misjudged yourself indeed, Mr K.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    October 6, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Incredibly, this was based on a stage version of Are You Being Served? which ran at the Blackpool Winter Gardens during the 1976 summer season. I can’t say if it was better than the film it inspired, but it can hardly have been any worse.

  2. Neville Jackson

    July 18, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    It’s the worst film of all time and I’ve seen some bob in my time, believe me….

    • Tom Ronson

      March 31, 2022 at 7:04 pm

      Worse than Run for Your Wife or Sex Lives of the Potato Men?

  3. Glenn Aylett

    March 31, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Many sitcom spin offs were of variable quality and taking the cast of AYBS away from their department store, where all the action took place, was a big mistake. It would have worked so much better if it was in the slightly down at heel Grace Brothers. Yet this hopeless spin off didn’t harm the television sitcom, which remained a big hit until it was cancelled in 1985.
    My favourites of this variable genre were The Likely Lads and Porridge, which were like a send off for these two sitcom greats, in the former’s case quite literally as Bob Ferris is trapped on a tanker bound for Bahrain.

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