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Are You Being Served?


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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 JJR512

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Posted October 24 2001 - 10:47 AM

I've seen some interest around here in Fawlty Towers coming out on DVD. Frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about. Maybe it's just because with only 12 episodes, I've seen them all about a dozen times each and just got tired of them. But I can't help but wonder why there were only 12 episodes to begin with, and I suspect it's because the original audience didn't really think the show was all the great. I think maybe some people here are just into the show because it's got John Cleese from Monty Python, and there's been a lot of interest in MP around here lately, too.

Now I'd like to know when or if another great (in my opinion, better) British comedy will be coming out on DVD, and that's "Are You Being Served?". Although the show was broadcast from 1973 to 1985, although there were only 69 episodes actually produced (I have no idea how that worked out). So despite being on for 12 years, there is really only about three "seasons" worth of episodes.

It's my understanding that the various home release videos of AYBS? had some scenes cut out for whatever reasons. It's my hope that should this series ever come out on DVD, that the episodes be fully restored to their original broadcast states (or better).

Would anyone else be interested in the complete series on DVD?

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#2 of 16 Julian Lalor

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Posted October 24 2001 - 11:02 AM

The reason why there are only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers is that Cleese only wanted to do 12 episodes. British comedies often only have 6 episodes a season (Blackadder, Absolutely Fabulous) and are much the better for it. Fawlty Towers 2 seasons were separated by 4 years. The first season was tremendously successful and it was due to this success that Cleese and Booth were coaxed back to a second season in 1979.

As for Are You Being Served, I have no idea. This series seems to have a fascination for Americans that I just can't fathom. I thought it terrible, even when I was very young and more susceptible to bad camp (I mean, how many "pussy" jokes do you need?). It certainly isn't on the agenda in the UK, which I think odd, given the success of the recent releases of the vulgar (but genuinely funnny) Carry On movies.

#3 of 16 David Lambert

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Posted October 24 2001 - 12:05 PM

Call us purveyors of bad taste, but the missus and I would genuinely kill for complete, uncut, in-episode-order releases of Are You Being Served?.

http://www.anchorbay...ent.com/future/


Click on the above link and scroll down just a tad, and you'll see a listing for "Are You Being Served? - The Movie (1977)". It's shown as timed between Jan & Jun 2002, with exact details TBD.

Maybe it'll pave the way for the actual episodes on DVD. I am sure it would be popular; every time the local PBS station holds a pledge drive, AYBS is the best carrot that helps raise the most money. And this is back-water Memphis we're talking about here! Posted Image

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DAVE/Memphis

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MORE TV ON DVD, PLEASE!



[Edited last by David Lambert on October 24, 2001 at 07:06 PM]
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#4 of 16 DaveF

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Posted October 24 2001 - 12:50 PM

I've been wondering for years what peculiar group of people demand that PBS keep re-running this odd British show. Now I know.

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#5 of 16 David Lambert

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Posted October 24 2001 - 12:54 PM

Was that a dis? Posted Image

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DAVE/Memphis

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MORE TV ON DVD, PLEASE!


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#6 of 16 George_Reis

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Posted October 24 2001 - 03:59 PM

I can tell you for sure that aside from FAWLTY, ARE YOU BEING SERVED? is the most popular Britcom in America. I would think Warner has the rights to the series, but Anchor Bay's disc of the movie will be a treat next year.

#7 of 16 JJR512

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Posted October 24 2001 - 04:36 PM

I don't know if I would say it's the most popular...in a recent pledge drive, the local PBS station held a little contest where anybody pledging could vote for their favorite "Britcom" from several choices. They were AYBS?, Waiting for God, As Time Goes By, and something else that I forgot. During the pledge drive/poll, they showed an episode from each series, and as a bonus, they would show an extra episode from whichever series won. The winner was As Time Goes By.

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#8 of 16 Steve Hauben

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Posted October 24 2001 - 04:47 PM

I'd LOVE to see the entire series uncut in order on DVD!

-Steve
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#9 of 16 andrew markworthy

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Posted October 24 2001 - 11:02 PM

In Britain, AYBS? was a popular, if fairly mundane Brit sitcom which I *think* was devised by the team who did Dad's Army (one of the truly great Britcoms, but not likely to be of as great an interest outside the UK because of the subject matter). It was never really liked by the critics in Britain (who preferred Monty Python spin-offs like Rutland Weekend Television, which nobody remembers these days), but in recent years it has attained something of a nostalgia cult, largely because of John Inman's marvellously OTT performance.

A lot of the characters and situations are very much of their time. For example, the insolent shop steward capable of getting what he wanted by threatening a strike was very much a contemporary cliched figure (strikes were never out of the news in seventies Britain). Again, the sort of store like Grace Brothers was still to be found in a lot of larger towns and cities, but most have now disappeared.

Personally, I think AYBS? is harmless in small doses, but there are far better candidates for bringing out on DVD. Top of my list would be Brass (everything except the very final series), but precious few people seem to remember it in the UK, let alone elsewhere in the world.



#10 of 16 ChristopherM

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Posted October 25 2001 - 12:25 AM

Well, I for one remember "Brass" and would welcome a DVD. However, the Britcom that I would really like to see again is "Well Anyway", starring John Bird and John Fortune. I thought it was hilarious at the time it was first aired (way back in the 70s), but have never seen it repeated.

By the way, it was interesting to learn which Britcoms are most popular in the US. According to a BFI poll in September 2000, the five most popular Britcoms here in the UK are very different:

Fawlty Towers
Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister
Dad's Army
Blackadder Goes Forth
Absolutely Fabulous

The full list of the UK's favourite programmes (not just the comedies) is at http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/tv/100/




#11 of 16 ChristopherM

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Posted October 25 2001 - 12:29 AM

My mistake - I just remembered that the BFI list was voted for by Industry Insiders. Still, I think the top five Britcoms broadly reflects the UK public's tastes, if you add "Only Fools and Horses".

#12 of 16 Rouslan Sytnik

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Posted October 25 2001 - 02:24 AM

I love to buy "Are You Being Served?" complete on DVD.
I hope they not going to do collections as on VHS.

And while we here I want to see "Are You Being Served Again" on DVD too.

#13 of 16 Chris Moreau

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Posted October 25 2001 - 02:59 AM

If, as it seems, we're voting for which Britcoms we'd like to see on DVD, mine goes to "As Time Goes By" and "Keeping Up Appearances," in that order. I think both Dame Judi and Patricia Routledge are wonderful actresses, and I'll watch almost anything in which they appear.

I heard a rumor that new episodes of "As Time Goes By" are in the works. I certainly hope that's true. I'd love to see more "Keeping Up Appearances," as well, but since the death of Mary Millar ("Rose") it just wouldn't be the same.

#14 of 16 DaveF

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Posted October 25 2001 - 05:00 AM

Quote:
Was that a dis?
A jestful jab, if you will Posted Image
But I've never understood why it plays perpetually on PBS. It seems like the British equivalent of, say, "Bewitched" -- an amusing 70's sitcom, but not the show I'd expect to see PBS showing ad infinitum.

But hopefully it'll come out on DVD, and they can free up the time-slot for more shark documentaries Posted Image Though it would probably be used for more Teletubbies Posted Image

#15 of 16 Chris Moreau

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Posted October 25 2001 - 05:37 AM

Dave,

Actually, the Britcoms are not distributed by PBS. They're syndicated by BBC America, and are purchased by the individual PBS stations. Some stations show them in the early weekday afternoons, some at night on the weekends, and many choose to not purchase them at all.

Whenever you see the BBC America globe preceding a show, you'll know that this is not something that PBS distributes to its affiliate stations.

[Edited last by Chris Moreau on October 25, 2001 at 02:03 PM]

#16 of 16 andrew markworthy

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Posted October 25 2001 - 07:16 AM

I'd heard that Keeping Up Appearances was popular on the other side of the Pond. Personally I can't bear it, but for the very personal reason that Hyacinth is a dead ringer looks and behaviour-wise for a friend of my parents (even the houses are practically identical).

Christopher - Brass was repeated in the 1989 on ITV (I know, because it was a year I moved house and I missed taping one episode during the move). It has also been repeated late at night on one of the satellite channels (I think UK Gold), but not recently. Since it was loved critically, I'm surprised an issue of at least the first series hasn't been attempted. As far as I know, it never even got a VHS release. My own tapes have now rotted/worn out and I'd love to see this released.

Now, does anyone want to admit to wanting Last of the Summer Wine to be released on DVD?