Anger as '˜stereotyping' Are You Being Served Play halted

An amateur theatre company has been told it cannot perform a stage version of BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? after it was deemed 'demeaning to women and outdated'.

The original Are You Being Served Picture: BBC
The original Are You Being Served Picture: BBC

Hull Playgoers’ Society were told by the city’s Truck Theatre that the play was “not suitable”, the company’s artistic director has said.

The BBC sitcom, set in the clothing department of Grace Brothers department store, was well-known for its risque jokes, slapstick and innuendo and ran for 13 years from 1972.

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Vince Matfin told the Press Association: “They are basically saying it’s outdated and it’s stereotyping and doesn’t fit with what they want to do.”

The 118-year old theatre company has been staging productions at the Truck’s 136-seat studio for almost 40 years.

Mr Matfin added: “We have been going there since 1980 and now they have decided to choose what is acceptable and what the audience wants to see.”

“When we did Up Pompeii! the only sanitisation we had was instead of the ladies being scantily clad it was the boys.

“We sold out every night. I was always a big fan of Up Pompeii! and I know how it has to be, what people remember off the telly.

“It has to be as close to the original as possible.”

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He continued: “Up Pompeii! took £2,000 profit, our most profitable production ever.

“We know what the public like. We did a classic recently, Cyrano de Bergerac, and lost £600. The classics don’t work.

“Their new moral compass is seriously adrift, it’s the customers that pay the rent.”

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Mr Matfin said he is committed to staging the production elsewhere, adding: “We will go as planned. If Mrs Brown’s Boys is acceptable, so is Are You Being Served?

“Everyone is gobsmacked and asking me when we will put on because they want tickets.”

Mr Matfin’s post about the issue on the Facebook group One Hull Of A City, in which he wrote: “Just been informed by Hull Truck that Hull Playgoers’ Society cannot perform “Are you being served” because it is demeaning to women and outdated and they want productions to be more “PC”,” has attracted 599 comments since January 25.

A spokeswoman for Hull Truck Theatre has been contacted for comment.