Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Are You Being Served? (1972-1985)

First broadcast: Friday, September 8th, 1972 (pilot, as part of Comedy Playhouse) in the UK
Final broadcast: Monday, April 1st, 1985 in the UK
Description: BBC TV situation comedy written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft which ran for 69 episodes over 10 series. It was set in a department store called Grace Brothers and focused on the increasingly ridiculous antics of the shop floor staff. It was one of many sitcoms Croft wrote with Lloyd, as well as other collaborators, with a distinctive ensemble cast.
  • Are You Being Served? also had a stage version, which ran at Blackpool's Winter Gardens Theatre in the Summer of 1976, and this supplied the basic idea for a movie spin-off in 1977.
  • A partial remake of Are You Being Served? ran for two series in Australia, in which John Inman reprised his role as Mr Humphries, but the others were based on the UK characters, renamed, and recast. It ran on Network 10 for 16 episodes between Monday, June 16th, 1980 and an unknown date in early 1981.
  • There was a sequel series entitled Grace and Favour (UK) aka Are You Being Served Again! (North America) which ran for two six-part series between Friday, January 10th, 1992 and Monday, February 8th, 1993.
  • Finally, on Sunday, August 28th, 2016, the BBC celebrated 60 years of British sitcoms by reviving a handful of old favourites, including Are You Being Served? The original characters were the same, but recast, with Only Fools and Horses favourite John Challis as Captain Peacock, Sherrie Hewson as Mrs Slocombe, Jason Watkins as Mr Humphries, Niky Wardley as Miss Brahms, Roy Barraclough as Mr Grainger, Arthur Smith as Mr Harman, and Justin Edwards as Mr Rumbold. There were new characters too, including Young Mr Grace's grandson (also Young Mr Grace) played by Mathew Horne, Mr Conway played by Kayode Ewumi, and Miss Croft, played by Jorgie Porter. This one-off episode was set in 1988, three years after the original run ended. The special attracted 6.3m viewers, and was the fourth most watched show on BBC1 that week.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Rita Hayworth (1918-1987)

Birth name: Margarita Carmen Cansino
Birthdate: Thursday, October 17th, 1918
Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Died: Thursday, May 14th, 1987
Location: Manhattan, New York, USA
Cause of death: Alzheimer's Disease

Best known for: Beautiful actress and dancer who was at her height in the 1940s with films such as Cover Girl (1944), Gilda (1946) and Salome (1953). She was never nominated for an Oscar, but was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in Circus World (1964 - she lost to Anne Bancroft). She was married five times, including to actor and director Orson Welles, Argentinean actor and singer Dick Haymes, socialite Prince Aly Khan, and producer James Hill.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Stewart Granger (1913-1993)

Birth name: James Lablache Stewart
Birthdate: Tuesday, May 6th, 1913
Location: London, UK

Died: Monday, August 16th, 1993
Location: Santa Monica, California, USA
Cause of death: Bone and prostate cancer

Best known for: Actor associated with heroic and romantic leading roles between the 1940s and 1960s. Although he was never nominated for an Oscar, he found great fame and success in films such as Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), Blanche Fury (1948), King Solomon's Mines (1950) and North to Alaska (1960). He had two famous wives - the English actresses Elspeth March (1938-48) and Jean Simmons (1950-60).

North to Alaska was actually the last Hollywood film Stewart made, having turned down a role in 1959's Ben-Hur as he refused to take second billing to Charlton Heston. The 1960s was taken up with productions in Europe, principally Germany, where he took on the role of Old Surehand in three adaptations of Karl May's Western novels - Amongst Vultures aka Frontier Hellcat (1964), The Oil Prince aka Rampage at Apache Wells (1965) and Old Surehand aka Flaming Frontier (1965). Further 1960s work included the Italian production Requiem for a Secret Agent (1966), the British/ German co-production The Trygon Factor (1966) and the British/ American co-production The Last Safari (1967).