Are You Being Served? aired in the UK for 13 years and 30 years later it’s still one of Afternoon Tea’s most popular British imports. 'Allo 'Allo! enjoyed an equally long run and, had the rights to air it not expired, it would probably still be in our lineup of afternoon shows. Given the track record of both these comedy favorites, you’d think the man who dreamed them up and who – along with his co-writer David Croft - put a smile on the face of so many would have been able to retire in financial comfort. I was saddened to learn recently though that this was not the case for Jeremy Lloyd, who died last year two days before Christmas, at the age of 84.
As well as Are You Being Served? and ‘Allo ‘Allo!, Lloyd is also credited with being a writer and actor on 26 episodes of one of America’s much loved comedy sketch series, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. He also wrote and/or appeared in dozens of other comedy series and films, going back to the late 1950s. Yet, last month it was announced that at the time of his death, Lloyd’s estate was valued at £59,218 (about $90,000), which after his outstanding affairs had been settled, dwindled down to zero. Lloyd had died penniless.
According to British newspaper reports, Lloyd had planned on “leaving his estate to wife Lizzie and ex-fiancée actress Charlotte Rampling”. Rampling and Lloyd had met in the 1960s when Lloyd was married to his first wife, but although they were a fixture on the swinging ‘60s party circuit, Lloyd and Rampling never married. They did though remain such good friends that Rampling took on the role of Lloyd’s "best man" when he married his third wife, Elizabeth Moberly. Six months after the wedding, Lloyd contracted pneumonia and was admitted to hospital, where he died.
Lloyd was also engaged for three years to actress Carole Ashby, who played Louise in ‘Allo, ‘Allo!, but they split up in 1990. An actress with whom Lloyd did make it to the altar was Joanna Lumley. The pair met when working on a British comedy series together before Lloyd moved to Hollywood for Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In; a show that seemed to pay its stars in fame not money.
When Lloyd returned to London, he was broke and it was Lumley who encouraged him to write about something he knew well – that something turned out to be his experiences working in the menswear section of Simpson’s department store in Piccadilly. Thus Are You Being Served? was born and fortunately it survived a lot longer than Lloyd’s marriage to Lumley as the couple were divorced after just six months.
Are You Being Served? airs weekday afternoons at 2pm on Afternoon Tea.
To contact Heather:
Address: Afternoon Tea
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