Nicholas Smith (Mr. Rumbold) was the last surviving member of the original cast, passing away on December 6, 2015. Mike Berry (Mr. Spooner) is now commonly believed to be the only surviving regular cast member from the series' entire run, however also surviving are Penny Irving (Miss Bakewell, contract cast member from 1977-1979, recurring previously), Vivienne Johnson (Young/Old Mr. Graces' Nurse, 1978-1981), and Candy Davis (Miss Belfridge, 1983-1985); these three ladies are regularly overlooked as permanent cast members and were in fact the only actors outside of the sales staff, Mr. Rumbold, Young/Old Mr. Grace, and maintenance men Mr. Mash/Mr. Harman who were on contract at any stage.
Mrs Slocombe's best friend Mrs Axelby is the only person regularly mentioned by a main character who does not eventually appear in the show (and to a lesser extent, Mr Lucas's mother). Throughout the series, numerous characters are mentioned repeatedly who finally show up onscreen several seasons later. This includes Old Mr Grace, Mrs Peacock, Mrs Rumbold, Mrs Grainger, Miss Hurst of Novelty Candles, Mr Patel of Accounts, Seymour of Maintenance, and Mr Humphries' mother.
In 1972, the broadcasting of the live reports from the Munich Olympics had to be cancelled due to the Black September incident. Amongst the programmes hurriedly brought forward to fill the sudden gaps in BBC1's programming schedules was the as-yet untransmitted Comedy Playhouse (1961) edition "Are You Being Served?". It proved popular enough for a full series to be commissioned.
Mr. Tebbs (James Hayter) and Young Mr. Grace (Harold Bennett) were the only characters to ever be given a departure story line (Tebbs retired and Young Mr. Grace reduced his office hours in favor of holidaying), although Bennett did reprise his role once in "Roots?" Once his replacement Old Mr. Grace also departed, the characters were "merged" into one and although unseen in the last two seasons, was referred in every episode as "Mr. Grace", without the "young/old" monikers attached. Everyone else who left the show simply disappeared and was never mentioned again.
Toys is the only other department at Grace Brothers to be seen in the entire series. Part of the Radio Department (and Packing) was seen through CCTV in the final season, while other parts of the store shown on screen were the boardroom, management offices, basement, nurse's station, roof, the fifth floor (vacant at the time), three "apartments" on the top floor, and, of course, the canteen. At various points in the series, Sporting, Cosmetics and Shoes were temporarily moved onto the Mens and Ladies floor, while many other departments were mentioned but never seen (although their staff were).