Grace & Favour: Wikis

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Grace & Favour
Grace & Favour titles.jpg
Format Sitcom
Created by Jeremy Lloyd & David Croft
Written by Jeremy Lloyd & David Croft
Directed by Mike Stephens
Starring Mollie Sugden
Frank Thornton
John Inman
Wendy Richard
Nicholas Smith
Fleur Bennett
Joanne Heywood
Billy Burden
Michael Bilton
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 12
Production
Producer(s) Mike Stephens
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC1
Original run 10 January 1992 – 8 February 1993
Chronology
Related shows Are You Being Served?

Grace & Favour (American Title: Are You Being Served? Again!) was a British sitcom that was the sequel to the long-running and successful series Are You Being Served?. It aired on BBC1 for two series from 1992 to 1993, and marked the return of Are You Being Served? creators/writers Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft.

Contents

History

The idea of a spinoff was originally suggested by the cast of Are You Being Served? almost immediately after the original series ended in 1985. Writers Lloyd and Croft liked the idea, but agreed that the department store format was exhausted, and any spinoff would require a change of location.[1] Despite the enthusiasm of the original cast, it would be almost seven years before Lloyd and Croft brought them back to television. The plotline 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. Grace and Favour was different from Are You Being Served? in that it involved a continuous story arc, with the plot unfolding over several episodes. Some episodes, within the timeline of the show, begin almost immediately after the previous episode ends. This device allowed Lloyd and Croft to construct more complex storylines and subplots than were allowed in Are You Being Served?, and allowed guest characters to make return appearances.

The series name 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 their retirement—as the characters have retired—and the surname of the store (and owner) was Grace.

Cast

Out of the cast of the original series when it ended, only Mike Berry (Mr. Spooner), chose not to return. Though Mollie Sugden had met with limited success in her own television serial Come Back Mrs Noah she agreed to reprise her popular role of Mrs. Slocombe. Wendy Richard took time off filming for EastEnders to film these two series of Grace and Favour (In the other series, she was told she travelled to New Zealand to visit her brother Kenny Beale after a car crash). Also returning to their roles were John Inman, who played the effeminate Mr Humphries; Frank Thornton, who played the floorwalker Captain Peacock; and Nicholas Smith as the former head of the department, Cuthbert Rumbold.

Several new repeat characters were added to the show. Joanne Heywood as Miss Lovelock, Billy Burden as farmer Maurice Moulterd, and Fleur Bennett as his daughter, Mavis, all made appearances in each episode. Michael Bilton, as Mr. Grace's solicitor, Mr. Thorpe, and his assistant, Miss Prescott, played by Shirley Cheriton also held key roles in several episodes.

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Cast List

Plotline

The new series has the elderly and womanising Young Mr. Grace, head of Grace Brothers Department Store, recently deceased. He has died 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 at Grace Brothers' closing sale (coincidentally, most of the staff who were present in the original series) are named co-beneficiaries in his will.

Young Mr. Grace has 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 can't 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 accommodations 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 distressed, 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 didn't straighten up they could leave - and they left. With time running out, the old Grace Brothers employees are obligated 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's 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 guide

Series 1

1. Young Mr. Grace has died and the store has closed. 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.

2. The staff decide to take over Millstone Manor and run it for themselves. The home farm, run by Morris 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 advert for staff. The only alternative is for them all to knuckle down and try to make the place presentable.

5. 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.

6. A group of American tourists arrive for the weekend as part of their European tour. The ex-shop workers do their best, but the Americans are expecting a church service and the traditional Harvest Thanksgiving Dance.

Series 2

1. Mrs. Slocombe's pussy, 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.

2. The staff organise a cricket match against the townspeople. The match is marred by the jealousy of Malcolm Heathcliff, who sees Mr. Humphries as a competitor for Mavis' affections. The highlights of the match is a fantastic dive by Mrs. Slocombe and a winning stroke of Mr. Humphries.

3. 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.

4. Mr. Rumbold, Mrs. Slocombe, Mr. Humphries and Miss Brahms plant potatoes. Captain Peacock removes a petrified pussy from a niche in the attic, precipitating a series of supernatural events.

5. 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.

6. 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.

DVD releases

Title Card from "Are You Being Served? Again!".

Both the Region 1 & Region 4 release contains both series of Grace & Favour in one set, it is unknown if the Region 2 release will be the same.

DVD Series Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Series 1
Sep 07, 2004
TBA
Mar 06, 2009
Series 2
TBA

Location filming

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

Notes

  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  

External links


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