13 comments on “Are You Being Served…In Blackface?

  1. Oh, my. I don’t remember that episode either. I remember all the fuss when Ted Danson did it so I guess I can understand why some stations chose not to air it.


  2. Ha, ha, ha! You’re all to young to remember, but until recently, no one found anything wrong with white people in blackface — remember Al Jolson?
    I’m not excusing it, I’m just sayin….


    • @Randy: I guess that’s true if you equate the entire African-American population of the United States to “no one”. Oh but did you ask them?


  3. As Randy sort of says, I think you’re forgetting how long ago this show was made. I watched the original run as a kid in the 70s and “golliwog” toys were still very popular; Robertsons jam still had the Golly emblem and were giving away / selling golly-themed merchandise etc.
    There was a lot of stuff went on in the 70s that wouldn’t happen now. Just be glad these are more enlightened times…


  4. I’m sorta torn between “They should have known better!” and “Well, it WAS 27 years ago…” It’s just hard to believe that in 1981 someone thought it would be hi-larious for the cast to do this. (The joke, of course, was that Mr. Grace’s ancestors were black. Har-har!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And 10 years after this post… I have just seen this episode for the first time. I’ve only recently started watching the series, and I adore a lot of the characters, humor, and stories. However, this episode really reminded of how long ago this series was filmed. All of the original cast are now gone. I applaud Miss Brahms for not wearing the makeup though, that really stood out to me.


  6. Just watch the episode and I was flabbergasted at what i saw..im black and just seeing people in one of my favorite shows go that route makes me wonder will i watch the show again plus i seen it on Amazon prime and I would have thought maybe they would have not put that episode in the series…I’m an anglophile and it just baffled me that the brits thought this was ok in 1981 wow


  7. It was funny then and it’s funny now. People need to lighten up about this. No-one took offense then but unfortunately in this day and age we have the liberal lefties PC brigade who want to be seen to be complaining.


    • Riiiiight. It definitely was offensive to American audiences back then, because it was edited from later broadcasts. The blackface/minstrel thing was still used in comedy in the UK up until the late 70’s I believe, but here it’s long been considered unacceptable. You don’t have to be a “liberal lefty” to find blackface stupid and offensive today — you just have to *not* be an asshole.


  8. I recall, the one time I saw this episode (compared to multiple times on the others) thinking that Wendy Richard had probably refused to do blackface. I later read that not only was this the case, the BBC threatened to fire her over it. She called their bluff, and won. Cheers to Wendy (may she rest in peace) for being just a little ahead of her time!


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