Debuted in 1975
Plot in 3 Sentences: The staff of Grace Brothers arrives at the store early to discuss ideas for boosting sales but Mr. Rumbold shows up with the news that Mr. Grace has rented fun costumes for all of them to wear. Their Christmas lunch is disappointing, with a tiny turkey, combustible Christmas pudding and not much else. But the decorations are lovely and everyone gets into the holiday spirit to close with a festive song.
Fun Fact: This episode marked the first appearance of Doremy Vernon as the Canteen Manager (who stayed for most of the series) and the last appearance of Mr. Mash.
My thoughts: Like many comedies of this era, Are You Being Served? is silly, formulaic and predictable. Mr. Lucas is going to insult Mrs. Slocombe, there’s going to be a point-of-display model that goes wrong and Mrs. Slocombe will make a double entendre statement about her cat. But it still manages to be good fun most of the time, with a few genuine laughs along the way. This is not my favorite of their Christmas episodes, but it still has its high points, including the bit at the end when they tell Young Mr. Grace that he’s done very well (which is something he usually says to them). You’re expecting the worst when the department decorations are revealed, so it’s a surprise when they turn out to be lovely and it makes for an unexpectedly sweet and cheerful ending.
Individual Superlative: Christmas Envy – From the ‘Christmas pud’ to pulling the giant crackers, this special makes you want to spend at least one Christmas in the U.K.
Want to Watch it? Are You Being Served?: Christmas Crackers is available on DVD and you can watch it on YouTube.