Grainger is attending to a middle-aged customer; Humphries has just brought him some items.
Grainger: Thank you, Mr. Humphries.
Humphries: You're welcome, Mr. Grainger.
Humphries joins Lucas at other end of counter.
Humphries: Well, —
Just a minute, Mr. Humphries. This is a historic moment.
I want to hear Grainger say for the last time that something
will ride up with wear.
Humphries: Tsk! They're Y-fronts, Mr. Lucas.
Humphries: Yes, four pair for
his son who's goin' to university. Not a very
big sale, is it?
Lucas: No, I would say not.
Humphries: (looks at watch)
And it's nearly closin' time. Tsk! Looks like
Mr. Grainger is going out not with a bang but a whimper.
Lucas: Hah. It'll be the son whimperin' if those Y-fronts ride up.
Humphries: (looking at Grainger,
who is writing up the bill) There must
be something we can do. Come along.
They go over to Grainger
Humphries: (to customer) Excuse
me, sir, my friend and I were just
admiring your suit. Isn't that one of ours?
Man: Why, yes, I bought it last year, er, from this gentleman, I believe.
Humphries: From our Mr. Grainger, yes. Hasn't it worn well?
Grainger: Yes, I remember. And it does still look very smart, indeed.
Man: Ah. Thank you. I've been shopping here since I was a young man..
Humphries: Fancy that! And now you've a son going off to university.
Yes, and I only wish he would shop here. Unfortunately, he's
something of a layabout, and his taste in clothing is disgraceful.
Blue jeans and Army surplus clothing and all that rot. He looks a
right refugee. I shall soon be giving him his clothing allowance, and
I shudder to think what he'll come back with.
Humphries: Yes. I don't mean
to speak out of turn, but I'm sure Mr. Grainger
was about to recommend a gift certificate, weren't you,
to) Oh, yes, er, what a splendid suggestion, Mr. Humphries.
May I recommend a gift certificate for your son, sir?
Man: A gift certificate?
Oh, yes, good for any purchases in this department. You see,
this way, he'll be sure to outfit himself in apparel more to
Man: That's not a bad idea. How much would you say?
Grainger: Er, well—
Oh, I wouldn't be too conservative, sir. You don't want him to buy
just one or two items; you know how it is, here today, gone
Humphries: That's right. But
if you encourage a steady custom, you'll find
the lad will come around soon enough. A small investment,
really, for a lifetime of good grooming.
Man: By Jove, you're right. Make it for a thousand pounds.
Humphries: Ah, most wise, sir.
I'm sure your son will become the Beau
Brummel of his university.
Lucas: (aside, to Humphries) That or the best-dressed layabout.
Man: (to Grainger) You'll give him your personal attention, then?
Grainger: Well, after
today I'm retiring sir, but our Mr. Humphries will
look after him.
Humphries: Yes, I shall give him my full attention!
Man: (a bit uneasily) Yes, I have no doubt.
Grainger: Thank you very
much, sir. Mr. Humphries, will you kindly prepare
the, er, gift certificate for this gentleman, and credit it to me. You'll
pardon me, sir, I've got a, er, gammy foot, you see, and I need
Humphries: You do that, Mr. Grainger.
(takes pad from drawer and picks up
pen) Now, sir, what's the boy's name?
The customer regards Humphries warily.
Brahms is tidying up; Slocombe is talking with Peacock. Mash enters pushing a trolley.
Mash: Oy! I ‘ate to interrupt your chat.
Mash! We may be slow at the moment, but that is no concern
of yours. And need I remind you that support staff are not allowed
on the salesfloor during working hours?
No, Captain, you need not remind me of that. No, that's not what
you need. Mind you, I know what you need, but I'm not ready to
pick up my cards.
Peacock: State your business, Mash.
Hmph. In the interest of charity towards the upper classes, I shall
pretend that was a polite enquiry. I have brought Mrs. Slocombe
‘ere a parcel from the Tropical Boutique what is on the First Floor.
(takes bag from trolley, hands it to Slocombe) Miss Wetzler says
you can ‘ave your money back on the other one only if you didn't
try it on. Did you?
Slocombe: Er, no. Of course not. Thank you, Mr. Mash.
Peacock: Sent back the bikini, Mrs. Slocombe?
Slocombe: Yes, I decided to go with
a one-piece, Captain. I decided it's just
too easy to get attention with a bikini. I mean, everybody's wearin'
them, anyway. It's better to stand apart, y'know. So I decided to
go with my second choice. It's a bit more refined.
Peacock: Ah. Perhaps a wise idea, Mrs. Slocombe.
Brahms: Ooh, let's see it.
Slocombe pulls out the garment and holds it up to herself. It is bright yellow with red polka dots and fringe. All blanch.
Slocombe: (happily) What do you think?
Mash: Oh, you'll stand apart, all right.
Rumbold enters carrying a clipboard and goes to center floor.
Rumbold: Cpt. Peacock, would you kindly assemble the staff?.
Gather ‘round, everyone. Mr. Rumbold is here to announce
the staff changes, I presume.
Rumbold: Indeed I am, Captain. (he consults clipboard)
The staff come excitedly to center floor, except Grainger, who sleeps, forgotten for the moment, in his chair.
Rumbold: I know you are
all most interested in the new senior assistant
position at the Men's Counter, so I'll begin there.
Lucas: (whispering to Humphries) Now don't forget to act surprised.
Humphries: (whispering back) Watch me!
Slocombe: (to Rumbold) Oh, I've got a feelin' it's our Mr. Humphries, isn't it?
Rumbold: Well, as a matter
of fact it is not. I'm sorry, Mr. Humphries. This
is rather unusual. (removes glasses) Mr. Grace had decided to
give you the position, but just a short while ago he notified me that
there had been a change. It seems an applicant for another position
withdrew his transfer request at the last minute — for reasons he
apparently did not share with Mr. Grace — and instead requested
this position in Gentlemen's Ready-Made, and I'm afraid that under
the rules of seniority, Mr. Grace had to honour his request.
Humphries: Oh, dear. Don't tell me. It's Mr. Tebbs!
Rumbold: Why, yes, it is. How did you know?
Humphries: Tsk! It's finally happened!
Rumbold: What has?
Humphries: Hoist by me own petard!
Rumbold puts his glasses back on and regards Humphries with puzzlement.
Lucas: But why here? Couldn't Mr. Tebbs just stay in Bedding?
not. Some bad blood, I'm told, between him and
Slocombe: Oh yes, she can be quite trying at times.
Mash: Yeah, and ‘e's a BASTer, and all.
Rumbold: How impertinent!
Peacock: Mash, why are you still here?
The closing bell rings
Mash: Ha! I'm a free man now, aren't I, Captain!
Rumbold: If I may continue.
So after the holiday, Mr. Tebbs will join this
department as the new senior assistant, and I expect you will
welcome him and give him every accommodation.
Humphries: Indeed we will, Mr. Rumbold.
(winks at Lucas) Oh, may I ask
where Mr. Tebbs was going originally?
Rumbold: I don't
see why not. He'd planned on transfering to the new branch
in Brighton, where he had been awarded the senior assistant position
in the Railyard Boutique.
Ah. Well, at least that position is open. Can we just shift
Mr. Grainger there, then?
Humphries: Yes, he can do that job
quite easily, you know, because he'll be
able to sit quite a bit.
Rumbold: Hmmm, if I'd known
he was interested, I might have been able
to recommend him, but as it is, Mr. Grace has already given that
position in Brighton to another gentleman.
Peacock: Which staff member?
Rumbold: Well, not exactly a
staff member. I don't have all the details yet,
I'm afraid. According to Mr. Grace, he gave the gentleman the
job because (consults clipboard) "after Liverpool, it's the next
Executive prerogative, I suppose. Well, cheer up,
Mr. Humphries. You're still a young man, and quite an asset to
the department. Your time will come.
Humphries: Oh, I don't mind that. I'm
sure Mr. Tebbs will do a splendid job.
I was just hoping a position could be found for Mr. Grainger.
Rumbold: Well, you needn't worry.
Mr. Grace has in fact secured a position
for Mr. Grainger.
Slocombe: Oh, that's wonderful!
Peacock: Indeed! Go wake him, Mr. Humphries.
Humphries: Oh! In all the excitement I forgot he was over there.
Peacock: I'm afraid we all did. Er, what job has Mr. Grace found him?
Rumbold: Well, it's a position
at Mr. Grace's club. (removes glasses;
with puzzlement) For some reason, he thinks Mr. Grainger will
make a splendid night watchman.
All agree happily as Grainger snores on.
The closing credits are run over scenes of Grainger's retirement dinner
You have been watching
standing at party next to Humphries, peering at him
Harold Bennett smiling, toasting with champagne glass
Nicholas Smith refusing champagne refill
Frank Thornton giving Grainger shoe horn/back-scratcher
Mollie Sugden dancing cheek-to-cheek with an exasperated Peacock
John Inman sticks tongue out at Tebbs after he looks away
Trevor Bannister listening attentively to words from Grainger
Wendy Richards smiling, toasting
Larry Martyn at attention, clutching tin of Japanese champagne
Penny Irving smiling, toasting
Doremy Vernon holding up plate of Steak Tartar
Raymond Bowers (the grey tie) smiling, toasting
Robert Raglan (the Y-fronts) smiling, toasting
Arthur Brough beaming, at center of banquet table as all rise in toast
(c)1999 John F. Crowley