Are You Being Served? (1972) Episode Scripts

N/A - The Think Tank

1 are you being served? the think tank good morning, ladies.
under the arms? oh, dirty neck.
morning.
mr.
mash, what are you doing? just giving her a sponge down, sir.
do you have to do it up here? i daren’t do it in the cellar, sir.
i’d get too excited.
hurry up, daphne.
you should be up those stairs by now.
captain peacock, did you know that this sort of thing was going on? no, i did not.
mr.
mash do you usually do that sort of thing? only on the dummies, sir.
they can’t do it themselves, can they? captain peacock.
i feel that the female staff should wash the female dummies.
i do see the reasoning behind your observation.
on the other hand, what about the male dummies? ah, yes.
the men should do those, of course.
have you anybody in mind to attend to the female dummies? well, how about the female cleaners? i fear that may well lead to inter-union strife, sir.
young mr.
grace would have a fit if he saw this.
yes, and he can’t afford too many of those.
i have it, sir.
why don’t we wash them as they do in convents? how’s that? they wash in shifts.
no, we don’t have that many dummies.
no, they wear shifts.
do they? how do you know? one reads books.
oh, i see.
what exactly is a shift? it’s sort of a petticoat.
is it? that seems rather a good solution.
mr.
mash in future, i would like you to wash the female dummies with a petticoat on.
well, if you say so, captain peacock.
is it all right if i keep my socks on? - captain peacock - excuse me, sir, i must sign on.
captain peacock, i’m rather surprised to see you wearing a bowler hat.
really, sir? why? at grace brothers, bowlers are reserved for departmental heads and above.
i thought those archaic rules had gone long ago, sir.
well, no, they haven’t.
senior floor staff, such as yourself, are allowed a homburg.
junior floor staff should wear caps or trilbys.
i see.
good morning, captain peacock.
mr.
humphries, may i have a word with you? certainly, captain peacock.
i don’t think you ought to be wearing that hat.
no? i thought a homburg was rather me.
at grace brothers, homburgs are reserved for senior floor staff, such as myself and mr.
grainger.
what a shame.
i was going to see my solicitor.
and they don’t really go fo a porkpie at solomon and finkelstein.
good morning, captain peacock.
one minute to 9:00.
just in time.
mr.
lucas, why are you not wearing a hat? - am i supposed to? - yes, you are.
it states quite clearly in writing in the staff rules, that the junior floor staff will wear a trilby or a cap.
senior floor staff will wear homburgs.
mrs.
slocombe will look a fair old treat in a homburg.
- good morning, mr.
humphries.
- good morning, mr.
lucas.
- would it be all right to wear a bowler? - certainly not.
only departmental heads and above may wear bowlers.
in that case, this can’t possibly belong to anyone here.
i’ll take it to the lost property office.
good morning, mrs.
slocombe.
morning, miss brahms.
yes, just on the dot.
oh, i’m worn out, to start with.
i have stood standing in the bus all the way, and not one man offered me a seat.
you should do what i do.
shove a shopping bag under your coat and stagger a bit.
that’s the trouble with all you ladies.
you want equality, but you’re not prepared to stand up for it.
you’re very sharp today, aren’t you? quite right, captain peacock.
they are all the same these days.
you take girls out, and they all want equality until the waiter brings the bill.
that’s because of what you want after the waiter’s brought the bill.
when we don’t get it, how many offer to split it down the middle? it's time you were at your counter, mr.
lucas.
yes, of course, captain peacock, to deal with that milling throng of customers.
good morning, mr.
grainger.
oh, you look exhausted.
i am– i gave up my seat on the train to some stupid woman.
the lost property office seems to be closed.
the man in charge has lost the key.
in that case, i’ll take charge of this.
- going somewhere, captain peacock? - no, sir.
i should have thought you’d have put your hat away by now.
allow me.
- is evernyone here? - yes, sir.
well, while there are no customers, i’d like a quick word with the staff.
very well, sir.
would everybody gather round, please? mr.
rumbold wants a quick word.
- mrs.
slocombe, miss brahms.
- oh, hang on.
you should do that before you get here.
she used to do it on the bus, but the lipstick kept shooting up her nose.
i have here the trade figures for last month, and i am deeply concerned.
i read about those in the paper, mr.
rumbold.
poor old england, hundreds of millions of quid in the red.
i’m referring to this department.
we were over 600 down again last week.
now, why is this? i know the answer to that.
people aren’t spending so much money.
that could have something to do with it.
they’re not even looking like they used to.
there was a time when you’d go up to a customer and say, “excuse me, sir, are you being served?” and they’d say, “no, just looking.
” now they don’t even come in.
it’s most frustrating, isn’t it, mr.
grainger? most frustrating.
trousers are at a complete standstill.
you’re lucky to get your tape up once a day.
my corsets have been down for over a fortnight.
i mean women nowadays let their figures run riot and then wear a kaftan.
i know we are living in very difficult times precisely.
of course, the pound is to blame look at the price of milk.
and i remember when bread was farthings a loaf.
things were bound to go up after mafakin.
do we have to have the juniors in on this discussion? i think we are straying from the point, which is that our sales figures are down and i am going to be asked by the board to give a reason for it.
what am i going to say? “goodbye, and it’s been nice being here.
” you may find yourself saying that, mr.
lucas.
if you make any further interruptions.
- i’m sorry, sir.
- it’s youth, captain peacock.
you can’t hold it down.
if i may make a suggestion, sir, why don’t we take a leaf out of the government’s book and have a think tank? - a what? - a think tank where everybody throws in ideas.
what? into the tank? no, mrs.
slocombe, there isn’t actually a tank.
oh, you just think there is.
perhaps i should explain it more clearly.
experts sit around, chew over a problem, then bring up a solution.
when you put it like that, they could do with a tank.
i think that’s a surprisingly good suggestion, captain peacock.
- are we agreed then, we’ll have a think tank? - yes, yes.
- a very good suggestion don’t you think so? - a stroke of genius.
you know gin used to be 12 and six a bottle.
- are we agreed? - yes, 12 and six a bottle.
no, no, no.
are we agreed that we shall have a think tank? - oh, yes, yes.
we’ll meet here this evening, after the store closes.
well, i can’t stay behind.
i’m being picked up outside the staff entrance.
if i were you, i’d stand outside the front you’d get a better class of person.
i shan’t be seeing you, then, shall i? i daresay, we could manage without you, miss brahms.
i can’t make it, i’ve got someone coming around to wash my hair.
with the little bit you’ve got, that shouldn’t be a two-man job.
couldn’t you phone him? what makes you all think it’s him? as a matter of fact, it’s the girl from the poodle parlor.
she does a lovely cut and blow wave and it doesn’t cost me a thing.
all i’ve got to do is sit up and beg.
oh, very well, mr.
humphries.
well, if i’m not home on the stroke of 6:00, my pussy goes mad.
it’s hardly convenient for me, too.
what excuse have you got, peacock? i have to rush away and buy a hat.
well, mr.
rumbold, it looks like you and mr.
grainger for the think tank.
due to the fact that on captain peacock’s instructions, i, too, have to go and buy a hat, as befits my menial and lowly position here.
i’m perfectly prepared to toss some ideas about and give you the benefit of my vast experience, mr.
rumbold.
i think in the circumstances we will cancel the think tank for tonight and convene at a time when we can all get there.
let’s say tomorrow morning at 8:30.
8:30? but that’s a half an hour before the store opens.
yes, you’re quite right.
it’s not early enough.
we’ll make it 8:00.
good morning.
i’m dying for a cup of coffee.
so am i.
i want one to take my pill.
are you on the pill? when mr.
mash gets here we’ll send him to the canteen.
beatrice, turn that confounded thing off for now.
yes, sir! i hope i haven’t kept you all waiting.
i just stopped at beppo’s to get a coffee.
good morning, ladies.
good morning, sir.
good morning, captain peacock.
i must say, i like the hat.
thank you, sir.
for some reason, they seem to be much more expensive than bowlers.
hardly surprising, i suppose, since it seems that bowlers are mainly worn by private detectives and bailiffs.
i’m dying for a cup of coffee.
can i just have a sip? - oh, very well.
- oh, thank you.
oh, that was lovely.
much better than the canteen muck.
taste that, miss brahms.
oh, isn’t it lovely and creamy? could i just have a sip to wash down my pill? it’s my blood pressure, you know.
unless i take them regularly i feel as though i’m going to blow up.
please take it now, mr.
grainger.
oh– it hasn’t gone down.
oh, it’s very nasty.
yes, indeed.
you’re very quiet this morning, mr.
humphries.
i was just finishing off my dream.
i dreamt that there was this wild creature half man, half beast came galloping towards me on a big, black horse.
i didn’t know which way to turn.
i was absolutely petrified, until i noticed he was riding sidesaddle.
it’s very difficult getting up early in the morning.
my wife insists that we still clean our teeth in the dark.
it’s all very well for her, but i can’t find my teeth.
it must be magic being married to you, mr.
grainger.
you’re late again, mr.
lucas.
thank goodness you’re all here.
- i said, you’re late.
- yes, very late.
what is the excuse this time? i can’t tell you, captain peacock, the relief to see you all safe and breathing.
it was horrible, horrible.
what was? this dream that i had it was more of a premonition, really, you see.
i dreamed that i woke up, streaked here so as to be on time as always came up in the lift right here to the department.
when i got here, you were all sitting around the table, motionless, just like that, with your mouths open.
i think it’s come true.
what a horrible dream.
what happened then? well, i just touched captain peacock on the shoulder, you see and he just fell over slowly out of his chair and crashed down onto the floor and broke into hundreds of little pieces.
i was just putting humpty together again, when i woke up.
why should that be an excuse for lateness? i was having trouble with your head, you see, captain peacock.
every time i put it back on, you sort of unbalanced and fell off your chair again.
- it’s not at all that big either, is it? - sit down, mr.
lucas.
well, if we’re all assembled - are you free, mr.
grainger? - yes, i’m free, mr.
humphries.
well, the problem before us is the fall in our sales figures over the past month, and how we are going to rectify it.
we have all had a further 12 hours to think over this problem, and i feel sure you’ve all come to the meeting full of ideas and suggestions– i don’t think that’s such a good idea after all, mr.
mash.
i think you should do that in the fitting room.
i don’t think he should do it anywhere.
at 20 past 8:00 in the morning it's more than flesh and blood can stand.
yes, i think you’d better stop, mash.
- shall i powder her down, sir? - certainly not.
- but she’s still got a wet– - never mind, mr.
mash.
just leave the floor.
oh, all right.
marvelous, isn’t it, eh? bloody marvelous.
i’ll tell you what i will do.
i’ll take her to the staff changing room - we’ll have a shower together.
- better make it a cold one.
i think you’d better wait until the store’s closed, and then do it somewhere where no one can see you.
creaky arms, sir, needs a bit of oil.
as i was saying how are we going to increase our figures? let’s run a few ideas up the mast and see who salutes them.
why don’t we have a sale? we had a spring sale a month ago.
we can’t go on having sales without any reason.
why don’t we do like the petrol stations give away plastic footballs or tankards? that’s going to be a big draw in my lingerie.
in the sports department they’ve just had a famous golfer autographing clubs.
but what sort of person could we get to autograph trousers? errol flynn would have done very well.
i’m not having raquel welch autographing one of my bras.
who needs raquel welch? the way you’re stacked, you’ve got enough space for the whole of the manchester united.
if i have any more of your lip, i’ll come over there and smack your chops.
i’m just in the mood.
order, order, please.
how about advertising in the local newspapers? something like, “you get a square deal at grace brothers”? we’d be in trouble with the trades descriptions act.
oh, i don’t know.
i mean, you couldn’t have squarer clothes than what we’ve got.
what do you mean, mr.
lucas? we’re not exactly trendy, are we? look at all the fuss you made the other week when i came in wearing high-heeled shoes.
it wasn’t the shoes it was that walking stick you had to stop yourself from falling over.
anyway, i think they look ridiculous on men.
i like them.
all the pop stars wear them.
mr.
lucas is not a pop star.
no, but pop stars set the fashion.
are you suggesting we should all dress like bing crosby? i don’t think that bing crosby would would help the sales on this floor.
do we have any sensible suggestions? yes, sir, i have.
after i came out of the army, i made a study of sales technique.
there was a theory that a moving display has more impact than a static one.
- true.
- true.
i suppose you mean we should have our trousers - moving about more? - yes.
how do we achieve that? a couple of dozen pairs of electric legs? i’m being quite serious, mr.
lucas.
how does that effect my department? yes, do we have lots of electric knickers jumping up and down on the counter? wouldn’t that be very expensive? we can have mrs.
slocombe jumping up and down on the counter.
that should make a big enough impact.
that’s it.
i am withdrawing to the canteen.
please mrs.
slocombe, do bear with us.
i think captain peacock may be onto something.
- make him apologize then.
- lucas! i’m sorry, mrs.
slocombe, you’re such a likable person and such a sport, i find it difficult to think of you as head of the ladies department.
i shall accept your gracious apology, but i suggest for the rest of this discussion you shut your cakehole.
what i had in mind, if i may be allowed to speak– - yes, do continue, captain peacock.
- thank you.
i always thought he’d get on ever since i saw him in “college rhythm.
” - saw who? - bing crosby.
we’ve left that some time ago.
i know, 1935.
mr.
grainger, may i speak? you saw it too, did you? it was fun.
look, we’d better get a move on.
i’ve still got to touch up my mouth it’ll be opening time soon.
do get to the point, captain peacock.
i think i have the solution.
i suggest that we have a fashion show.
well, he’s run it up the mast.
who going to salute it? i don’t mean a fashion show in the accepted sense i mean, where one shows off exotic creations.
i mean, a down-to-earth fashion show.
where we demonstrate to the man in the street that we sell ordinary clothes that are well within the reach of his pocket.
what about the woman in the street? - unisex! - i beg your pardon? i mean a show for both sexes.
i don’t think your idea for a men’s fashion show would get us anywhere, but my idea for a unisex show seems very original.
but i thought unisex meant men and women in the same clothes.
- it does.
- does it? perhaps i meant bisexual.
no, i don’t think you meant that, mr.
rumbold.
perhaps we should call it “a man and woman’s fashion parade.
” or better still, “male and female modes on the move”– yes, that’s it.
i don’t think your idea for a man and woman’s fashion parade would have any appeal at all, but my idea for male and female modes on the move has fantastic appeal– agreed? oh, yes, mr.
rumbold, yes.
what a pity you couldn’t have thought of something like that, captain peacock.
yes, it needs an executive mind to come up with something of that sort.
one has a certain responsibility to produce ideas.
“uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
” or indeed– the bowler hat.
all i have to do now is to approach young mr.
grace and convince him that it’s a good idea.
- that you’ve had.
- yes.
you’ll have to convince him that it’s a very good idea before he forks out a couple of hundred quid for six mannequins.
as much as that? it’ll be cheaper to have electric trousers, and mrs.
slocombe jumping up and down– i’m sorry! i just got carried away.
yes, well, it’s up to me now to get over the financial problem.
if i run into any difficulties, we’ll just have to have another session of the think tank.
in which we think and it all goes in your tank.
the store’s open.
places, everybody.
i hope this is not going to take too long.
i’m supposed to be going to see “last tango in paris.
” i got the okay from my heart specialist this morning.
no, no, mr.
grace, you just sit there.
what you’re going to see is the fashion show i told you about.
did you? oh, yes.
yes, i remember– “male and female moods in the mauve.
” “modes on the move.
” the fashion show to help the falling figures.
are we going to see girls in corsets? no, no– salesfigures.
and if you like it, we’ll have one.
have one what? a fashion show, sir.
i thought we were having one.
no, this is just a demonstration to show you what we have in mind.
it’s aimed at the man in the street and the woman in the street.
you mean tarts? no, sir, just ordinary people.
are you ready with the microphone, mr.
lucas? ready when you are, mr.
rumbold.
then carry on, mr.
lucas.
first, we have bobby… spring is in the air but beware of the winter wind.
but bobby’s keeping warm as toast in a cozy crombie, inspired by james bond in “you only live twice.
” is that a storm approaching? bobby doesn’t care.
he’s got his snap-up japanese brolly.
bobby’s great gatsby hat will stay dry as a bone, and bobby’s tootsies will stay dry as well, thanks to his “ever-tough streetwalkers.
” hat, 3, shoes, 9.
50, cozy crombie from grace brothers, 44.
95.
and i’m extra.
well done.
very good, very good.
doesn’t that boy look like our mr.
humphries? that was our mr.
humphries, sir.
oh, he has left us? no, sir, but you wouldn’t pay for professional models until you were convinced it was a good idea.
and now we have tania and tony.
home from the office and so to bed.
- wait for me! - oh, come on! leap into bed in our snug-as- a-bug range of sleepwear.
that’s not grainger’s wife, is it? no, sir.
he always was a bit of a lad.
tony’s tired, so he’s off to bye-byes– so it’s off with the dressing gown to reveal… to reveal - it’s knotted.
- tony’s got knotted, so he’s not going to reveal anything at all.
so let’s turn our attention to tania, and i must say, that’s not too difficult at all.
tania is wearing one of our new range of naughty ’90s nighties– note the cherries.
it’s made for dream time, but if she wore it to a ball, - who’d notice the difference? - well, i would for one.
mr.
lucas, i’m ready! not now, tony, not now! what shall i do? go and snuff out tania’s candle.
and now for something completely new an evening creation as inspired by susan hampshire in “the pallisers” as worn by naomi! how graceful this fashion was.
how lucky she had her parachute with her.
perhaps all the girls will be wearing one of these soon.
over my dead body.
dress material obtainable in ladies bespoke.
and so we say farewell to naomi.
and so we say farewell to naomi.
oh, belt up! an echo– an echo from the elegance of yesteryear.
just one more to come, mr.
grace.
i hope it’ll be quick.
i don’t want to miss the mickey mouse.
and now, showing us his city suit, from our “new tycoon” range, we have rodney! confident in his casual elegance, rodney is ready for a board meeting with the captains of industry.
there is ample fullness in the chairman’s seat.
plenty of give in the arms for those transatlantic phone calls.
concealed pocket for the key to the executive loo.
red lining to gain sympathy during talks with the workers.
rodney’s day’s work done, there’s no need to change his suit.
it’s formal enough for the board, but also trendy enough to call at that penthouse flat for that society bird, who is preparing to look her very best for the man in a ”tycoon” suit.
cor blimey! ain’t there no privacy anywhere? now we will see all of them in the grand finale.
very good, well done, well done.
well, sir, what do you think of that, mr.
grace? who’s idea was the fashion parade? mine, sir.
well, i think it’s a rotten idea.
- or was it mine? - yes, it was.
if you want to sell goods, you’d better have a sale.
well, i’m off.
- oh, and peacock - yes, sir? i wonder if mr.
rumbold hasn’t told you before that hat doesn’t suit you.
you should get a bowler and wear it all the time.
don’t you agree, mr.
rumbold? absolutely, mr.
grace.
thank you, sir.
- well, goodbye, everybody.
- goodbye, mr.
grace.
goodbye.
you’ve all done very well.
thank you, mr.
grace.