Critics and viewers were left unimpressed with the BBC’s remake of Are You Being Served?

The legendary British sitcom, set in a department store, was revived – with a new cast – on Sunday night.

Written by Derren Litten, the creator of ITV’s Benidorm, the show featured Sherrie Hewson as Mrs Slocombe, John Challis as Captain Peacock, Roy Barraclough as Mr Grainger and Justin Edwards as Mr Rumbold.

Mr Humphries (Jason Watkins) and Mr Conway (Kayode Ewumi)
Mr Humphries (Jason Watkins) and Mr Conway (Kayode Ewumi)
(BBC/Scott Kershaw)

Viewers were not keen on the BBC1 show, which was followed by a one-off Porridge special as part of the BBC’s sitcom season.

But there were some satisfied viewers.

The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Hogan only gave the show two stars, saying it was a “turgid, interminable half-hour” which made “Mrs Brown’s Boys look like PG Wodehouse”.

“It wasn’t so much that the humour was un-PC or especially offensive. It was just tired and limp, like an iceberg lettuce long past its sell-by date,” he wrote.

Are You Being Served?
Are You Being Served? (BBC/Scott Kershaw)

“There was a lazy reliance on lavatorial humour and casual misogyny.”

The sitcoms had been “dusted down decades later to look like lumbering dinosaurs,” he added.

Chortle’s Steve Bennett wrote that “they should have let sleeping pussies lie” – referring to one of the famous jokes from the original sitcom.

Miss Croft (Jorgie Porter), and Captain Peacock (John Challis) (BBC/Scott Kershaw)
Miss Croft (Jorgie Porter), and Captain Peacock (John Challis) (BBC/Scott Kershaw)

He added: “Quite what that plot means is anyone’s guess” and “Every joke is predictable, tired or forced…”

The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries called the return “spirited”.

He added: “Litten, sensibly, didn’t airbrush the show, but fondly disinterred its double entendres. Deck covered in seamen? Check. Mrs Slocombe clutching Jimmy Connors’ balls? Check. Taking Miss Brahms up the Regal? Check.

“Thank heavens it’s only a one-off, though: a little of Mr Humphries mincing in his mother’s kitten heels goes a long way.”

Digital Spy’s Morgan Jeffery wrote: “The experience is still akin to watching a tribute band – entertaining enough, but never coming close to competing with your memories.”

Fletch (Kevin Bishop), Officer Meekie (Mark Bonnar) in Porridge
Fletch (Kevin Bishop) and Officer Meekie (Mark Bonnar) in Porridge (BBC/Scott Kershaw)

In the second of the two revivals, Porridge was deemed more successful.

It returned with the show’s original writers, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, featuring Fletch’s grandson, also known as Fletch, imprisoned for a series of cyber-crimes.