Son: David Speake
Died April 11, 2013.


 

 

 

AYBS Role

Crew member who hired and created props for all the AYBS episodes except the pilot.

Tribute

DONALD SPEAKE

For my father, Donald Speake, prop hirer & maker who passed away on the 11th April 2013

My father Don, personally dressed the set of every episode of Are You Being Served for the entire production run, except the pilot episode. As I understand it, this was quite exceptional at the time, since the BBC Unions were very unhappy about it. David Croft personally intervened apparently. My father knew how to display items from the period, and hit on an ingenious method of keeping costs down - using my grandfather's loft insulation covered with material instead of real shirts & blouses for the cabinet drawer fronts. This meant that shirts etc. did not disappear from the locked BBC cages overnight (very frequent), and also that hire costs were minimal.

All the cabinets, shop models, clothing & fitments on set were hired from Don Speake & Co. (still in business), and came originally from my grandfather's gentleman's outfitters & drapers shop in East Acton established in 1929 (Speake Brothers). My father was extremely fortunate to have been allowed to dress the set for the entire run, thanks to David Croft. He has never been credited, as far as I know, and I would like to put on record my appreciation of his charm, hard work and likeability which I know made a contribution to the overall success of the show as a whole, as I sometimes dressed the set with him. He was held in great regard & affection by those on the set.

Yours sincerely,

David Speake, his son.


 

Some neat artifacts from his collection

Ticket for one of the AYBS shows:


Used with permission from David Speake. From Donald Henry Speake's collection. Ticket images ©BBC