Entertainment & Arts

Are You Being Served? actor Nicholas Smith dies aged 81

Nicholas Smith
Image caption Smith played Cuthbert Rumbold in Are You Being Served?, famous for its innuendo and slapstick

Nicholas Smith, the actor who played store manager Mr Rumbold in the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served?, has died aged 81.

He had been the last surviving member of the original cast.

"It is with great sadness we can confirm that our client passed away yesterday," his agents at Michelle Braidman Associates said.

"He was a lovely man and a terrific actor. He will be much missed by all who knew him."

Image caption Mollie Sugden and Frank Thornton starred in the show with Smith
Image caption Are You Being Served? got more than 20 million viewers

They added that their thoughts were with his family.

Smith's daughter is the actress Catherine Russell, who plays Serena Campbell in Holby City. She tweeted some recent footage of him on YouTube playing his own composition at the piano called The Music Lesson.

She said: "My dad died. But before he did we got this gem. One of his own compositions."

Smith, who died in hospital on Sunday, had been in hospital for seven weeks following a fall at home.

Are You Being Served? was set in fictitious department store Grace Brothers and ran from 1972 to 1985, often attracting audiences of more than 20 million. Written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, much of its humour was based on innuendo and slapstick.

It also starred John Inman, Mollie Sugden, Frank Thornton and Wendy Richard alongside Smith, who played Cuthbert "Jug Ears" Rumbold, the manager.

Image caption Frank Thornton, who played Captain Peacock, died in 2013

Born in 1934 in Banstead, Surrey, Smith's other TV roles included parts in Doctor Who, The Frost Report, The Saint and The Avengers.

He played PC Yates in several episodes of the BBC police series Z Cars between 1972-75.

Image caption Smith appeared in Last of the Summer Wine in 2008

More recently, he was the voice of the eccentric Reverend Clement Hedges in Wallace & Gromit film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005). In 2008 he appeared as a vicar in Last of the Summer Wine.

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