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October 6, 2015

Remembering Mollie Sugden

by Michael Pascua, posted Jul 5th 2009 6:02PM
Mollie Sugden as Mrs. SlocombeI was a recent convert to watching BBC comedies on PBS. Although I love all the comedies that PBS offers, I was awed by the show Are You Being Served? The show went places with double entendres and physical comedy that you would never see in American television.

I found out that Mollie Sugden, who plays the infamous Mrs. Slocombe, died on the first of July at the age of 86.

A show like Are You Being Served? was such a strong ensemble that Mrs. Slocombe had to stand out. With her continuous hair color changes, references to her "pussy," and attempts at the bar with Mrs. Axelby, there was no way anyone could forget her. The show ran for 13 years between 1972 and 1985, and although several characters changed, Mrs. Slocombe was there from the beginning.

I could never pinpoint why I loved Mrs. Slocombe so much. On paper a middle-aged woman who was kind of a lush and often made attempts on moving up the Grace Brothers ladder doesn't sound interesting. What Mollie Sugden put into Mrs. Slocombe is remarkable, a spirit and energy you don't see on sitcoms anymore.

Along with Are You Being served?, Mollie Sugden appeared in several other shows including ITV's soap Coronation Street and the comedy That's My Boy. She also reprised the role of Mrs. Slocombe in the 90s' sequel Grace & Favour (known as Are You Being Served? Again! in the U.S.).

With so many famous people dying, I hope that Mollie Sugden isn't forgotten in the shuffle. I will truly miss her and will continue to watch Are You Being Served? to see some truly amazing acting chops.

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"I hope that Mollie Sugden isn't forgotten in the shuffle."

This was sad news and even sadder was the fact I could not find a single website for Mollie so I have created this one in dedication to her and to ensure she or her work are never fogotten.

August 01 2009 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The passing of Mollie Sudgen was a sad thing to learn about. Mollie Sudgen and John Inman made "Are You Being Served" the best British comedy seen around the world. And despite the fact that the show aired in the 70's, it is still a wonderful, funny show to watch in the 21st century and will continue to be so until the end of time.

July 14 2009 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In college in the late 1990's, I was broke and had only rabbit ears and PBS was the only station I could pull in. I really got into AYBS. Came on late at night and really made my night better before I crashed.
Then they stopped showing it. I emailed PBS, and they said it was out of rotation, but may bring it back later, but they never did.
I will miss her too.

July 09 2009 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hugh Inman

I too am very sad about the death of dear Mollie Sugden. I began watching AYBS? twenty years ago as a newly-wed with a new job that required me to be out of town a great deal, often 3-4 nights each week. One lonely night in a lonely hotel room in a strange city, I was flipping around the TV remote when I suddenly came across a woman with brilliantly colored blue hair. It took only a few nights to become totally hooked on this show. I was especially drawn to this character of Mrs. Slocombe. Because of my interest in AYBS?, I began to look at other Britcoms. This began a true love affair with British comedy that continues to this day. I must say that I fell in love with almost all of them, from "Keeping up Appearances" to "Last of the Summer Wine" I love them all, but my heart will always belong to "Are You Being Served?" and especially to Mrs. Betty Slocombe. Even though I never met her, I felt as if I knew her. Mollie was truly one of the greatest comediennes of all times, in the same category as Lucille Ball. God bless you, Mollie. Thank you for all the joy you brought to me and millions of others around the world. My heart is extremely sad, and I am unanimous in that!

July 08 2009 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A cat lover to the bitter end, she will be buried with her pussy.

July 07 2009 at 3:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Molly will be missed. Our PBS station still shows Are you being served?. Saw Wendy last night on Masterpiece Mystery ( A pocketful of rye) They both were tremendous actresses. Will be sorely missed. At least we can still see their talented performances. God bless their souls!!!

July 06 2009 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sad to hear this. I was also unaware of Wendy Richards. Are you being Served (first 5 years or so) was absolutely brilliant. It's still on some of our PBS stations. It's longevity reflects it's one of the classic britcoms.

July 06 2009 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I met Mollie some years ago on an Alpha course organised by my church. She lived in a nearby village to me in Surrey was such fun to be with.
It seemed, on occasion, very strange to be talking to "Mrs Slocombe" about such serious subjects as the Holy Spirit or the meaning of life! Mollie had a very strong faith. May God bless her.

July 06 2009 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wendy Richard gone too. Wow. Missed that one. Yes wicked funny show. It and Appearances so bare repeat
viewings. Not much can stand that these days.
Since The Avengers & The Prisoner the Brits can do it best
when comes to language smithing.
She and WR will be sorely missed. Thanks for the laughs.

July 06 2009 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unfortunately, AYBS isn't on our local PBS station anymore. While it was on, it was absolutely "must see tv." Sugden always knew how to milk the "cat" lines. Somewhere I've got an old VHS tape where the actors were talking about the show. In one excerpt, Sugden talks about the time she flubbed the line "Are you free, Mr. Peacock." She inadvertently switched free and pea.

July 06 2009 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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