Are You Being Served? is a British sitcom broadcast from 1972 to 1985 on BBC One. It was set in the ladies' and gentlemen's clothing departments of Grace Brothers, a large, fictional London department store.
It was written mainly by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, with contributions by Michael Knowles and John Chapman. The idea for the show came from Lloyd's brief period in the early 1950s working at Simpsons of Piccadilly, a clothing store which traded for over 60 years until 1999.
Are You Being Served? featured humour based on sexual innuendo, misunderstandings, mistaken identity and occasional slapstick. In addition, there were sight gags generated by outrageous costumes which the characters were sometimes required to wear for store promotions, and gaudy store displays frequently featuring malfunctioning robotic mannequins. The show is remembered for its prolific use of double entendres.
The main humorous base of the series was a merciless parody of the British class system. This permeated almost every interaction and was especially evident in the conversations between the maintenance men and the ostensibly higher-class store personnel.
The episodes rarely left the store, and to parody the stereotype of the British class system, characters rarely addressed each other by their first names, even after work, opting for their formal titled names ("Mr", "Mrs", "Miss", or even "Captain"). When they did address each other by their first names, it was almost always for a comical effect.