Thursday, July 02, 2009


You Know You’re Getting On A Bit When…

You’re rather brought down by the sad passing of the Queen of the Purple, Pink, Auburn, Green and Blue Rinse – and not by the “King of Pop”. Mollie Sugden’s Mrs Slocombe was a magnificent comic creation, always fighting her corner in Grace Brothers with a mixture of her usual assumed haughty grandeur and cutting asides in her real accent, and always vying with John Inman to steal the show in Are You Being Served?
“Before we go any further, Mr Rumbold, Miss Brahms and I would like to complain about the state of our drawers. They’re a positive disgrace.”
“Your what, Mrs Slocombe?”
“Our drawers. They’re sticking. It’s always the same in damp weather – Miss Brahms could hardly shift hers at all this morning. They sent up a man who put beeswax on them, but that didn’t work.”
“I’m not surprised.”
“I think they need sandpapering.”
“Would that help, do you think?”
“I puffed French chalk on mine, and they’re smooth as silk.”
“Perhaps you could puff some French chalk over Mrs Slocombe’s.”
“Would that solve your problem, Mrs Slocombe?”
“They ought to be changed. I’ve had them ever since I’ve been here!”
Mrs Slocombe, Mr Rumbold, Miss Brahms and Mr Humphries, from – appropriately for today’s return to its straitened economic times – the Are You Being Served? episode Our Figures Are Slipping.
“I think it would pay us to examine our whole customer handling technique. And to that end, I shall be holding a course in salesmanship this evening, after the store closes.”
“You mean in our own time?”
“It’s very short notice. There’s my pussy to consider.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Who’s going to let it out?”
It’s sad to see that Karl Malden went on the same day (I always remember him from Where the Sidewalk Ends, a favourite film noir), with both actors known for remarkably long-lasting marriages. Good for them. And who’d have thought Miss Brahms would go first?

If you’re wondering, the clips of Mrs Slocombe played on this morning’s Today Programme – including her exchange with the woman billed as The Large Brim With Fruit – were taken from the episode Camping In (naturally), which I found just after Our Figures Are Slipping on cranking up our steam-powered laserdisc player to watch our giant disc of Are You Being Served? last night.

She always did very well.

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Me too on the 'more bothered by the passing of Mollie than Michael' (though more genuinely upset by the death of music jounro Steven Wells, if truth be told).

And I'd never considered the fact that Miss Brahms died first, but now you mention it...yes, that does feel odd.
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