Monday 27 January 2020

Are You Being Served? remake panned by viewers

Are you Being Served? returned to the BBC with a new cast
Are you Being Served? returned to the BBC with a new cast

Critics and viewers were left unimpressed with the BBC's remake of Are You Being Served?

The legendary British sitcom, set in a department store, was revived - with a new cast - on Sunday night.

Written by Derren Litten, the creator of ITV's Benidorm, the show featured Sherrie Hewson as Mrs Slocombe, John Challis as Captain Peacock, Roy Barraclough as Mr Grainger and Justin Edwards as Mr Rumbold.

But viewers were not keen on the BBC1 show, which was followed by a one-off Porridge special as part of the BBC's sitcom season.

James Bailey ‏wrote on Twitter: "The BBC have tried to improve Porridge and Are You Being Served? and failed. What's next in this Beeb fad for retro remaking? Jim'll Fix It?"

Carole Matthews wrote: "BBC1 is this the best you can manage? I would like a refund on my licence fee."

Andrew G-H added: "Can I have my licence fee back? #AreYouBeingServed"

Joolz Denby ‏wrote: "If Brexit has brought us 'British Culture' in excruciating form of a sad rehash of truly ghastly Are You Being Served? I'm staying in Crete."

And @Brendan_Surrey wrote: " Commission an original comedy pilot? No. Let's reheat a much loved comedy and ruin everyone's fond memories of it #AreYouBeingServed".

But there were some satisfied viewers.

Cameron Yarde Jnr ‏wrote: "Thought reviving Are You Being Served? was mad. Then I saw the cast and set, then I watched it. I laughed. It's going to be a series isn't it?"

James Max wrote: "Are You Being Served? was splendid!"

Willy Nelson added: " Am I alone in really enjoying the remake of Are You Being Served?"

The Daily Telegraph's Michael Hogan only gave the show two stars, saying it was a "turgid, interminable half-hour" which made "Mrs Brown's Boys look like PG Wodehouse".

"It wasn't so much that the humour was un-PC or especially offensive. It was just tired and limp, like an iceberg lettuce long past-its-sell-by date," he wrote.

"There was a lazy reliance on lavatorial humour and casual misogyny."

The sitcoms had been "dusted down decades later to look like lumbering dinosaurs," he added.

Chortle's Steve Bennett wrote that "they should have let sleeping pussies lie" - referring to one of the famous jokes from the original sitcom.

He added: "Quite what that plot means is anyone's guess" and "Every joke is predictable, tired or forced..."

The Guardian's Stuart Jeffries called the return "spirited".

He added: "Litten, sensibly, didn't airbrush the show, but fondly disinterred its double entendres. Deck covered in seamen? Check. Mrs Slocombe clutching Jimmy Connors' balls? Check. Taking Miss Brahms up the Regal? Check.

"Thank heavens it's only a one-off, though: a little of Mr Humphries mincing in his mother's kitten heels goes a long way."

Digital Spy's Morgan Jeffery wrote: "T he experience is still akin to watching a tribute band - entertaining enough, but never coming close to competing with your memories."

In the second of the two revivals, Porridge was deemed more successful.

It returned with the show's original writers, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, featuring Fletch's grandson, also known as Fletch, imprisoned for a series of cyber-crimes.

PA Media

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