Dec 08

“Mr Rumbold” Died Sunday


Nicholas Smith was the last surviving cast member of the old British show, Are You Being Served? when he died Sunday at the age of 81.

My son and I got hooked on the show and Blackadder when we’d visit my parents in Delaware about 25 years or so ago.  Luckily the jokes would (hopefully!) go over my son’s head!



Are You Being Served? was a British sitcom that followed the misadventures and mishaps of the staff, as well as various interludes with customers of the retail ladies’ and gentlemen’s clothing floor departments of a fictional London department store called Grace Brothers.

Mr. Cuthbert “Jug Ears” Rumbold (Nicholas Smith) was the autocratic, obsequious, yet bumbling and incompetent floor manager.

I’m sure that PBS will start running these again, now that the entire cast has died.

In the case of Blackadder, most of the cast is still alive.  My first memory of Hugh Laurie was on this show, at my parents, when he played Prince George.



Hugh Laurie being interviewed on the House set about his role on Blackadder. Taken from a Blackadder documentary. Includes enough of each clip to put whatever Hugh says in his short interview in context.


My husband was always surprised that they Hugh Laurie in Blackadder was the same as the one in House.



And then, he sings – AND plays piano…



Wow – I sure got off topic!



Back to Nicholas Smith.  He began AYBS? with the pilot episode in 1972, playing Mr. Cuthbert “Jug Ears” Rumbold, the manager of the menswear and ladieswear departments in a large fictional London store called Grace Brothers.

Smith remained with the show until the end of its run in 1985. Following the death of Frank Thornton on 16 March 2013, Smith was the last surviving member of the original cast of Are You Being Served?

Host Ed Sutkowski talks with Nicholas Smith who is the the beloved Mr. Rumbold from “Are You Being Served.” The interview was recorded during Mr. Smith’s recent visit to Peoria.


Rest in Peace to the entire cast – and end of an era 🙁


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