So long, Mrs. Slocombe

A dreadful stretch of days for fans of classic television continues: After My Little Margie‘s Gale Storm and Streets of San Francisco‘s Karl Malden, now we’ve lost Mollie Sugden, star of one of my favorite Britcoms, Are You Being Served? (Her cohort at the ladies’ counter, Wendy Richard, passed away earlier in the year.)

A TV critic once said that the reason Cheers worked so well is that it was basically a radio show: the actors made the characters so familiar to viewers that you could enjoy the show without ever looking at the screen, which is how a lot of television is increasingly consumed. Are You Being Served? definitely fit that bill — and that’s lent something to its enduring popularity, I think.

I’ve read a good deal about the show behind the scenes — and one can gather that the actors made the show pretty easy to write for. A true sitcom — just give them the situation, and you’ve got comedy. Thanks for the laughs, Mrs. Slocombe…