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‘It all fell apart’ Are You Being Served? star recalls Arthur English blunder

Are You Being Served: Crew recalls title mistake

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Speaking in Are You Being Served?: Secrets and Scandals, camera assistant Nigel explained he was given an opportunity by the operator to do the You Have Been Watching sequence at the end of the show. However, things didn’t quite go to plan as Nigel recalled the epic mistake he made involving one of the cast members.

“They were done in one take… the cameras would have their shots of the right artists and then the vision mixer would cut the camera and the caption at the same time so that the right names appeared with the right people,” he explained.

“I did my shot of Mollie Sugden, I quickly got my shot of Alfie Bass and then went hurtling off to do my shot of the two gentlemen in brown coats.”

He continued: “Everything fell apart, the camera before me was blamed.

“We reset and we did it again. Mollie Sugden, Alfie Bass and the men in the brown coats.

“It all fell apart again and the camera after me got blamed.”

Discussing why the sequence kept failing, Nigel admitted: “From a doorway, I saw Arthur English smiling, I’d missed him out and that’s why the whole thing fell apart.

“Thankfully, Arthur English was lovely and didn’t dob me in and after 44 years, nobody knew that was my fault until now.”

Are You Being Served? was a comedy set in London and it followed the mishaps of staff at a fictional department store called Grace Brothers.

The BBC show, which first aired in 1972 and ended in 1985, was broadcast for 10 seasons.

Elsewhere in the Channel 5 programme, it was revealed when Are You Being Served? first started Trevor Bannister and Mollie Sugden shared the top spot in the billings.

The duo would take it in turns to feature first on the show’s famous You Have Been Watching sequence.

However, Mr Wilberforce Claybourne Humphries, who was played by John Inman began to become the fan favourite which caused some friction on set.

“There was always that bit of professional rivalry,” Mollie’s son Robin Moore explained.

“And there would always be this sort of vying between John Inman and my mother as to who would be top billing.

“I think they both sort of saw themselves as the star of the show.

“I remember it not coming to a head but actually being most visible when they did a summer season when they took Are You Being Served? on the stage at Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

“And it was agreed that mum would be top left and traditionally top left was the top billing on a poster.

“But this poster was specially arranged so that there was Mollie top left, Frank Thornton top right and John Inman slightly higher in the middle.

“I remember there was a sort of spitting about that.”

Are You Being Served?: Secrets and Scandals is available to watch on Channel 5 now.


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