Are You Being Served stars son details how Mrs Slocombe joke made life difficult

Mollie Sugden’s son says cat joke made ‘life difficult’

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Known for its raunchy jokes and innuendos, Are You Being Served? received plenty of criticism but viewers could not get enough of the over-the-top antics and cheeky gags. One of the most well-known jokes from the series was in regards to Mrs Slocombe’s pussy, referring to her cat Tiddles, which was brought onto set in a little wicker carry-on basket. Unfortunately, the long-running joke led to some difficulties for actress Mollie Sugden and her young sons.

Speaking in Are You Being Served?: Secrets and Scandals, Mollie’s son Robin Moore, explained how he had to pretend he didn’t understand the jokes.

The narrator explained: “Mollie Sugden clearly had no qualms delivering the raunchy humour on screen. Off screen, it made things painfully awkward for her young family.”

“Are You Being Served? was in that era when things weren’t politically correct,” Mollie’s son Robin remarked.

“You could have the double entendre and some of them were actually quite risqué.

“As you imagine, I was at first at primary school when mum started and then actually Are You Being Served? went right through to secondary school and O-Levels, A-Levels, actually joining the army.

“All through that period, myself an my brother had to pretend we hadn’t become aware of what certain jokes were, for example, the pussy jokes.”

A snap shot from one episode was broadcast showing Mrs Slocomobe complain “my pussy has been locked u0 for eight hours”.

“For mum, it became increasingly difficult as well and it was one of those things where both parties had to pretend to be stupid and had to pretend to not understand what the joke was, both knowing the other party probably did understand the joke,” Robin continued.

“It was one of those that wasn’t really mentioned at home.”

Robin and his twin brother simon were eight at the time Are You Being Served? first debited in 1972.

Previously recalling their mother’s character, Robin told the Daily Record: “Mum had pretty much copyrighted Mrs Slocombe.

“That slightly raised eyebrow and ­sometimes whimsical smile.

“She and John Inman, as Mr Humphries, had an intuitive ­chemistry which they refined over years.

“No one could really capture that withering look mum had – or that perfect comedy timing.”

He added Mollie had been a great mentor to Wendy Richards, who played Mrs Slocombe’s assistant Miss Brahms.

“Mum was a bit of a mentor to her because they spent so many years working together,” he recalled.

“She was very saddened by her death.”

Mollie died just four months after Wendy and son Robin said there “were no last words”.

“She’d been so sharp, it was sad seeing her struggle. But we don’t remember her like that, we remember her as the perfect mother, and a hugely versatile actress who brought a lot of joy,” Robin shared.

“I know she’d be immensely proud that after all these years her biggest role is still being talked about.”

Are You Being Served?: Secrets and Scandals is available to watch on Channel 5 now.

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