God bless Molly Sugden! And I am unanimous in that!

by CynthiaYockey on July 6, 2009

I just read the news at Instapundit that Molly Sugden died on Wednesday at the age of 86. She played the indomitable Mrs. Slocombe on the British comedy, Are You Being Served? and one of her signature phrases was, “And I am unanimous in that!”

My late life partner, Margaret Ardussi, was quadriplegic due to multiple sclerosis the last 10 years of her life. She spent most of her time in her hospital bed watching television and loved PBS, especially the British dramas like Upstairs, Downstairs, All Creatures Great and Small and the British comedies. Our favorite was Are You Being Served? with Molly Sugden, John Inman, Frank Thornton and Wendy Richard. Wendy Richard died earlier this year of cancer. She played Miss Brahms, Mrs. Slocombe’s Cockney young assistant.

I do find it hard now to watch any of the British shows I loved to watch with Margaret because I feel her presence so much when I do and miss her terribly. But, when we watched them together every Saturday night, I noticed something wonderful about the writing of the Britcoms, as PBS called them, which was that we could watch them over and over and over and delight in them every time. It’s now one of my criteria for successful writing, “How much can I stand to see or read this again and again?”

(I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the Horatio Hornblower series, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, Middlemarch by George Elliot, or Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.)

H/T: Instapundit and Armchair Commentary. The Telegraph has an obituary detailing the life of Mrs. Sugden.

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smitty July 6, 2009 at 6:23 am

Truly excellent comedy. The later seasons got somewhat repetitive, but it’s right up there on the fave list.

apodoca July 6, 2009 at 8:58 am

Ah, yes, Mrs. Slocumb was a marvelously and desperately man-hungry simperer. May God grant her peace and rest her soul.

I used to love to watch Are You Being Served cuz it was so deliciously over the top and funny. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, but it’s still remembered with pleasure. Why are so many British comedies so funny and so many American ones not? The agenda, you think? Always the agenda.

I know what you mean, Cynthia, by the re-reads. I resisted reading Hornblower when I was a child, but my friends and I wallowed in Jane Austen. We’d walk home from secondary school laughing and discussing “civility” and Mr. Collins and Mrs. Bennett. Recently, after the Ioan Gruffydd depiction of Hornblower, I went to the library and borrowed one. That book was renewed several times before I got into it. Since then, I’ve read the entire series several times and have managed to convert the text (found online) into .pdb files readable on the iPhone. That’s a lot of reading pleasure from good writers who didn’t use profanity and who thought that dialogue ought to be accompanied by narrative of more than two lines. They let their readers hear and enjoy the authorial voice. What a pleasure.

You should get the Austen audio books, they’re just as pleasurable.

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