Keeping Up Appearances

BBC (ended 1995)



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Show Summary

Keeping Up Appearances was one of the best and most popular British sitcoms of all time. Patricia Routledge played Hyacinth Bucket, a woman who pretended to be upper-class but wasn't. To side herself with Britain's top ten percent, Hyacinth insisted her surname be pronounced "bouquet." Her attention to cleanliness, candlelight suppers, and desire to sing gave pain to her husband Richard and her neighbors. Hyacinth, who once wrote a book of "Etiquette for the Socially Less-Fortunate," wanted to give her skills to anyone she met: the vicar, the postman, the milkman. She shuddered to think of her poor father, living in a run-down house with her sister Daisy and her bare-armed husband, Onslow. Generally, though, the likes of Daisy and Onslow would weigh out, while Hyacinth bowed out. The brilliance in its tact and humor helped make Keeping Up Appearances, in July 1999, the first Britcom to air in the U.S. with closed-captioning for the hearing-impaired. However, the show has no conclusion. The last episode 'The Pageant' aired on Christmas Day 1995, but the show was not cancelled here and another series was written. However, Patricia Routledge decided that after 5 years, she did not wish to reprise the role for a sixth series, no matter how much the BBC courted here, and how they did. Routledge went on to star in Hetty Wainthropp Investigates for the BBC. Therefore, there is not actually any decisive ending or finale to the show.

Shirley Stelfox

Shirley Stelfox

Rose #1

Mary Millar

Mary Millar

Rose #2

Patricia Routledge

Patricia Routledge

Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced "Bouquet")

Josephine Tewson

Josephine Tewson

Elizabeth Hawksworth Warden

Clive Swift

Clive Swift

Richard Bucket (pronounced "Bouquet")

Geoffrey Hughes

Geoffrey Hughes


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  • Part Martha Stewart, Part Capt. Queeg

    Keeping Up Appearances is a BritCom with a simple, yet entertaining premise. Patricia Routledge is Hyacinth Bucket (Boo-Kay), a busybody who pretends she part of the British upper crust despite the fact that she's a housewife whose poor but patient husband Richard, played by veteran British actor Clive Swift, is a civil servant, later retired.

    The situations Hyacinth gets into usually makes her lose her "regal standing" thanks in part to some comical mishap that befalls her. In addition to her shortcomings, she's also managed to distance herself from her less than refined relations, her sisters Rose (the "loose woman"), Daisy (not so well-off) & the rarely seen but talked about over the phone Violet whose equally rarely seen husband Bruce is of questionable moral standing. But she stays in touch with Rose, Daisy and to a lesser extent, Daisy's unemployed hubby Onslow just to keep tabs on Hyacinth & her sister's senile father.

    Other characters who are in the sphere of Hyacinth's "influence" are her only friend, Elisabeth, her divorced brother Emmett & of course the local vicar & his flustered wife.

    The reason this show's comic moments work so well is because they literally make sport of Hyacinth's attempts in emulating "the good life", but always ending in disaster, much to Hyacinth's chagrin. I saw this show on Chicago Public TV & found it to poke fun without being mean about how British people are supposed to act in society.

    One question remains though: Who in their right mind would name their only child Sheridan?moreless
  • Its a British show that you will like almost as much as Benny Hill

    I liked this show. Why? All that you need to do is watch a few episodes and you will see where all the laughter and true comedy really is.
  • keeping up Appearances

    I love this show but PBS took it off my tv listing. I loved watching it on TV . This is a great show and PBS should put it back on for the TV Viewers
  • I am wondering if the 1990s produced any sitcom from any part of the world which was better than this British classic and I'm thinking that the answer is a definite 'no' because this would take some beating!moreless

    Hyacinth and Richard Bucket are anything but ordinary, or at least according to Hyacinth they are not ordinary and I would say I have to agree with her as there is definitely NOTHING ordinary about a show which I consider to be one of the best comedies ever made.

    For five years we were fortunate enough to share the lives of not only Hyacinth and Richard, but their neighbours, Elizabeth and Emmett and also Hyacinth's dysfunctional family; sisters Rose, Daisy and Violet and brothers-in-law Onslow and Bruce. Of course, there was also the poor, terrified vicar and his wife, the womanising Major and Mrs. Barker-Finch from number 23 who vexed Hyacinth greatly. You see, Hyacinth's only goal in life was to keep up with and then surpass the Jonses (and anybody else whom she considered was trying to outdo her in any way.) Only the best furniture, the best china, the best clothes, the best holidays and the best car would do.

    Unfortunately for friends, neighbours and relatives, Hyacinth's desire to have and be the best always seemed to somehow include all of them as well! To say that, for the most part, they were less than pleased would be quite the understatement!

    Hilarious from start to finish. A brilliant ensemble cast headed by Patricia Routledge and Clive Swift. Every post was most definitely a winner. If you haven't seen this show, you don't know what you're missing!moreless
  • Hilarious! And absolutely perfect. Good job Hyacinth!

    Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) is a woman dedicated to showing everyone proper etiquette and pretends to be from the upper class. She constantly tells everyone what to do and how they should act including her husband, Richard. Her next-door-neighbour tries her hardest to avoid Hyacinth but to no avail as Hyacinth seems to know everything no matter how hard you try to keep information from her. Her two sisters and Onslow, the husband of one sister, end up meeting her at some point which constantly unnerves Hyacinth as she does not want to be seen in that company. The show is filled with great moments, from Hyacinth pointing out things to Richard while he's driving (watch out for the car in the parking lot, dear) and an upperclass woman going in to a bar with Onslow and Hyacinth's sisters, you will never have a boring moment. This show deserves a rating far beyond what it has now.moreless

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parents and children, sarcastic characters, primadonnas, fame and fortune, opposites attract