When Are You Being Served?? was about to finish in 1985 the creators, Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, were already thinking about a spin-off. The concept of department store have already dried out (which is hardly surprising after 10 seasons), so they would need a new location, constant cast changes in previous seasons did not helped in keeping it all together, but on the other hand they gathered a group of colourful characters, very good actors, that could be a powerhouse for another sitcom.
For some reason it took them 7 years to finally come up with the idea for Grace and Favour, even though the original cast has already agreed to take part in it. The idea they used was at least partly based on a 1991 scandal, when after death of British media magnate Robert Maxwell it turned out that he was heavily "borrowing" from his employees’ pension fund. So the very first episode of Grace and Favour showed the remaining of Grace Brothers staff learning that their pension fund is empty and they are broke. Young Mr Grace have invested the money in different businesses and now their only option is to run a rural hotel that was bought using their money. They can’t even sell it since it is a trust, to make thing worse they learn who the manager of that hotel is - Cuthbert Rumbold. So now, instead of parting ways and retire they are co-owners of run-down hotel and have to deal with they former superior again.
Out of the original cast members not all reunited with the rest in Grace and Favour - Mollie Sugden' title='Mollie Sugden' target=_blank>Mollie Sugden (Mrs. Slocombe), John Inman (Mr. Humphries), Wendy Richard (Miss Brahms), Frank Thornton (Captain Peacock) and Nicholas Smith (Mr. Rumbold) returned to reprise their roles from original Are You Being Served??, while Mike Berry and Trevor Bannister did not wanted to return, Arthur English had already retired, rest of the original cast was either already dead or took only small parts in the original series. To fill the cast new characters were added - the farmer / handyman, his daughter and Miss Lovelock, the last of the Young Mr Grace "secretaries".
Now the location was a small hotel in the middle of nowhere, but the stories concentrated mostly on the clash between the Londoners becoming owners of a hotel and adjacent farm and trying to deal with things they did not new existed. And while it was interesting to see the character we knew and loved in completely different environment it was the nostalgia that kept this series going since most of the jokes were catchphrases from Are You Being Served? or the jokes that only fans of original series would fully understood. It was nice to see the actors together again, but Grace and Favour was rather a nostalgia trip for the cast and creators, a closure for devoted fans, rather than a beginning of something that could have lasted longer.
Comedy Series Blog - we search all the interesting (and sometimes not that interesting) comedy series from around the world. Some of them might be slightly better than the others, but in comedy there are no strict rules - sometimes less funny series, but made with skillful touch could be a hit. On the other hand there are series that try too hard to be funny and lose on the plots and characters building.