Keeping Up Appearances
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
|Keeping Up Appearances|
|Created by||Roy Clarke|
|Written by||Roy Clarke|
|Directed by||Harold Snoad|
David Griffin (series 2 - 5)
Mary Millar (series 2 - 5)
Shirley Stelfox (series 1)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||44 + 2 shorts (List of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes
50 minutes (one episode)
60 minutes (one episode)
|Picture format||576i (4:3 SDTV)
|Original run||29 October 1990– 25 December 1995|
Keeping Up Appearances is a British sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke for the BBC. Centred on the life of eccentric, social-climbing snob Hyacinth Bucket (who insists that her surname is pronounced Bouquet), the sitcom follows her obsessive and determined attempts to impress in middle class society and portray herself as more affluent than she truly is.
The show stars Patricia Routledge, who received two BAFTA nominations for her performance as Hyacinth . Broadcast between 1990 and 1995 on BBC One, the sitcom spawned five series and 44 episodes—4 of which are Christmas specials. Keeping Up Appearances was a great success in the UK and also captivated a large audience in the US and Australia, but production ceased in 1995 when Routledge wanted to move on to other projects. Since its original release, all five series—including Christmas specials—are available on DVD. In 2004, the sitcom was ranked 12th in the countdown of Britain's Best Sitcom. It is regularly repeated worldwide (PBS in the US; BBC One, Gold and Yesterday in the UK).
Plot summary 
Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge)— who insists her surname is pronounced Bouquet — is a social-climbing snob, originally from a very poor working-class background, whose main mission in life is to impress others with her lifestyle and pereceived affluence and refinement. Hyacinth likes to spend her days visiting stately homes (convinced she will meet and strike up a friendship with the owners) and hosting "executive-style" candlelight suppers (with her Royal Worcester double-glazed Avignon china and Royal Doulton china with "the hand-painted periwinkles"). She ostentatiously brags about her possessions to others, including her "white slimline telephone with automatic redial", which she always answers with "The Bouquet residence, the lady of the house speaking". (Frequently she receives calls asking for a Chinese take-away, causing her great consternation.)
Hyacinth's excessive snobbery makes life difficult for those around her, especially long-suffering, hen-pecked husband Richard Bucket (Clive Swift), who lives in fear of saying the wrong thing (and how he can afford his wife's expensive tastes), and her quiet and kindly neighbour Elizabeth (Josephine Tewson), who is constantly nervous in Hyacinth's presence (particularly when handling Hyacinth's fine china, which she generally ends up dropping). From series two, Elizabeth shares her home with her divorced brother Emmett (David Griffin), the director of an amateur operatic society, who quickly becomes terrified of Hyacinth because "she'll sing at me!" (an attempt by Hyacinth to win a part in one of Emmett's productions). Most other people either dislike or are afraid of Hyacinth, to the point of running or hiding when seeing her or hearing her voice, exclaiming "The Bucket Woman!".
Always hindering Hyacinth's best efforts to impress - and providing an unwelcome reminder of her less-than-refined roots - are her underclass sisters Daisy (Judy Cornwell) and Rose (Shirley Stelfox in series 1; Mary Millar thereafter), and Daisy's proudly "bone-idle" husband Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes). This threesome, along with Hyacinth's senile father, regularly turn up inconveniently (usually in their clapped out Ford Cortina Mk IV - which always makes a characteristic backfire when it pulls up), with Hyacinth going to great lengths to avoid them ("Richard, you know I love my family, but that's no reason why I should have to acknowledge them in broad daylight!").
Two relatives Hyacinth is not ashamed of are her wealthy sister Violet (Anna Dawson) and her unseen son, Sheridan. Violet frequently telephones Hyacinth for advice, allowing her to loudly announce to anyone in earshot that "it's my sister Violet - the one with a Mercedes, swimming pool, sauna and room for a pony". However, Violet's social acceptability is damaged by the eccentric behaviour of her cross-dressing husband, Bruce. Hyacinth also tries to impress people with the intellectual prowess of her beloved Sheridan (who actually only takes courses in needlework at a polytechnic). Hyacinth boasts about the closeness of their relationship, yet Sheridan's frequent phone calls are usually only to ask for money (much to the despair of Richard). Hyacinth is also blissfully oblivious to the obvious hints that Sheridan, who lives with a man named Tarquin (who makes his own curtains, wears silk pyjamas and has won prizes for embroidery), is gay.
- Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth Bucket
- Clive Swift as Richard Bucket
- Geoffrey Hughes as Onslow
- David Griffin as Emmet Warden (Series 2–5)
- Josephine Tewson as Elizabeth Warden
- Shirley Stelfox as Rose (Series 1)
- Mary Millar as Rose (Series 2–5)
- Judy Cornwell as Daisy
Keeping Up Appearances aired for five series, four Christmas specials, and one short Children in Need special, from 29 October 1990 to 25 December 1995. The series officially ended after the episode "The Pageant", because Patricia Routledge wanted to focus on other TV and theatre work, including Hetty Wainthropp Investigates which began airing in 1996. Clive Swift, who portrayed Richard, stated in a BBC interview that Routledge "didn't want to be remembered as simply 'Mrs Bucket'".
Series summary 
Series 1–5 
|1||29 October 1990||3 December 1990||6||0||Patricia Routledge
|2||1 September 1991||3 November 1991||10||1||Patricia Routledge
|3||6 September 1992||18 October 1992||7||0|
|4||5 September 1993||17 October 1993||7||2|
|5||3 September 1995||5 November 1995||10||1|
Exterior shots around Daisy and Onslow's council terrace were taped in Stoke Aldermoor in Coventry. Other exterior street and town shots were taped in Leamington Spa, and in various towns throughout Warwickshire, along with many scenes from the large town of Northampton. Some scenes were also shot in Swindon, Oxford, and Bristol.
The opening sequence shows Hyacinth writing an invitation to one of her trademark candlelight suppers; this invitation lists Hyacinth's address as "Waney Edge, Blossom Avenue, Fuddleton". In the same sequence, the invitation is eventually sent to an address in Eddleton. Neither town actually exists. However, there are several references to the characters being in the West Midlands throughout the series, as when Hyacinth said that she could become the "Barbara Cartland of the West Midlands Social Circuit Scene" in The Hostess, also, in one episode, police officers wearing West Midlands Police Nato Jumpers escorted Mr Bucket home.
Richard and Hyacinth Bucket's car is a Rover 200-series (SD3) saloon. Early episodes show a light blue 1987 216S bearing the registration plate D541 EXL, but later episodes feature a 1989 216SE EFi model (bearing same numberplate bar one letter, now D541 EFL).
Onslow drives a clapped-out 1978 Ford Cortina (registration plate VSD 389S) that backfires loudly almost every time it starts or stops, embarrassing Hyacinth, and frequently crushing her hopes of creating a perfect impression with new people. Onslow is also the owner of the rusting carcass of a Hillman Avenger in his front garden, wherein lives Onslow's dog that always barks at Hyacinth as she approaches.
Onslow's Cortina was scrapped a while after filming after it was stored outside under a tarpaulin, the car no longer exists. The (Coventry built) Hillman Avenger 'dog house' carried the Coventry registration number plate CKV 326K, has also been off the road since 1989. Several other vehicles feature in the programme including a green Renault 20 '2 litre' registration GBP 760X.
After Keeping Up Appearances 
Various shows related to the programs were released.
- The Memoirs of Hyacinth Bucket
In March 1997 Geoffrey Hughes and Judy Cornwell reprised their roles as Onslow and Daisy for a special compilation episode recorded for broadcast in the United States on PBS. The show saw the pair introduce classic clips from the series.
In 2004 the documentary series featured an episode dedicated to Keeping Up Appearances. Stars Clive Swift, Josephine Tewson, Judy Cornwell, and David Griffin, along with writer Roy Clarke and producer/director Harold Snoad, all discussed the series. Clips from an interview with Patricia Routledge from 2002 were also included. The episode revealed that there were serious artistic differences between Clarke and Snoad.
- Life Lessons from Onslow
In early 2008, Geoffrey Hughes reprised his role as Onslow once again for a clipshow of the series; this was to be broadcast on American television, and sees him teaching a credit course at the Open University, and has selected "successful relationships" as his subject matter. The special was also released on Region 1 DVD.
Two cast members died within two months of each other in 1998: Mary Millar, who played Rose from 1991 to 1995, on 10 November 1998 due to ovarian cancer; and George Webb, who played Daddy throughout the show's run, on 30 December 1998, of natural causes. Charmian May, who appears as Mrs. Councillor Nugent in the first three series, died on 24 October 2002. Geoffrey Hughes, who played Onslow, died on 27 July 2012.
In 1998 the BBC released three episodes of the show: "A Job for Richard", "Country Retreat", and "Sea Fever" on audio cassette. Clive Swift reprised his role as Richard recording a narrative to compensate for the lack of images.
BBC Video released three videos featuring episodes from the series.
- How to Enhance Your Husband's Retirement
This was released in 1993 and featured the episodes: "Iron Age Remains", "What to Wear when Yachting", and "How to Go on Holiday Without Really Trying".
- Sea Fever
This was released in 1994 and featured the episodes: "Sea Fever" and "A Job for Richard".
- Rural Retreat
This was released in 1995 and featured the episodes: "Country Retreat", "Let There Be Light", and "Please Mind Your Head".
- Series one and two
- Series three and four
The third and fourth series, along with the 1991 Christmas Special, were released on 16 February 2004.
- Series 5
The final series along with the 1993, 1994 and 1995 specials, were released on 26 December 2006.
- Keeping Up Appearances: The Essential Collection
On 8 October 2007, all episodes including the Christmas specials were released in a single box set.
- Keeping Up Appearances: The Full Bouquet
In 2004 all five series and the specials were released as a box set on Region 1 DVD.
- Keeping Up Appearances: The Complete Collection
The entire series was released in Region 4 in 2005 under the title.
- Keeping Up Appearances: Christmas Specials
- Keeping Up Appearances: The Full Bouquet: Special Edition
A second edition of the complete series was released in North America in 2008. This release in almost identical in terms of content to that released in 2005, except for the inclusion of the new Life Lessons from Onslow special, filmed for PBS in early 2008.
Unlike the Region 1 release, the region 2 set does not contain any special features.
Three books related to the series have been released in the UK. Two were written by Jonathan Rice and published by BBC Books and the other one was written by Harold Snoad (the director of Keeping Up Appearances) and was published by Book Guild Publishing.
- Hyacinth Bucket's book of etiquette for the socially less fortunate
This was first published in 1993, and is a light-hearted guide to manners, as seen through Hyacinth Bucket's eyes. It is based on the TV series' scripts and contains many black-and-white photos of scenes from the show.
- Hyacinth Bucket's Hectic Social Calendar
This was published in 1995 and is presented in a diary format chronicling a year in Hyacinth Bucket's life, with typical comments about her relations and neighbours.
- It's Bouquet - Not Bucket
This was published in late 2009, the book includes rare photos which were taken during the filming of Keeping Up Appearances. The book contains full plot synopses for all episodes, main cast details, filming locations for all episodes which used outside shots, and stories of some entertaining events which happened during filming.
- Overseas books
Due to the popularity of Keeping Up Appearances in the United States, books about the series have also been published across the Atlantic.
- Keeping Up Appearances: A Companion to the Series
This comical series guidebook was published in the late 1990s by WLIW21. It was co-authored by mother and daughter writers, Georgene and Mary Lee Costa. It features summary descriptions of each episode, cast and crew biographies, series photographs, and an interview with Harold Snoad.
Since it was written during the filming of the final series of episodes, Snoad included the co-authors of the guide as extras in the episode, “The Fancy Dress Ball.”
Theatre adaptation 
In 2010, the television show was adapted into a play entitled Keeping Up Appearances that toured theatres in the UK. The cast included Rachel Bell as Hyacinth, Kim Hartman as Elizabeth, Gareth Hale as Onslow, Steven Pinder as Emmet, Debbie Arnold as Rose, David Janson (who had previously appeared in the TV show as the postman) as Mr Edward Milton, a new character created for the stage show), Christine Moore as Daisy and Sarah Whitlock as Mrs Debden. Main character Richard Bucket, Hyacinth's husband, does not appear in the production, but is frequently referred to: Hyacinth addresses to him off-stage and talks to him on the phone. The main plot of the show revolves around Emmet directing a play at the local village hall, but when Hyacinth is cast in the play's leading role disaster is in the making.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Hyacinth Bucket|
- "BBC Keeping Up Appearances page".
- "Comedy Connections - Keeping Up Appearances". Comedy Connections. 26 July 2004. BBC. BBC One.
- Bucket's Residence Street View
- Onslow and Daisy's Street View
- "Keeping Up Appearances, TV Series, 1990-1995". imdcb.com. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- Comedy Connections
- Amazon: Keeping up Appearances Retrieved 14 April 2013
|Look up room for a pony in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Keeping Up Appearances|
- Keeping Up Appearances at BBC Online
- Keeping Up Appearances at BBC Programmes
- Keeping Up Appearances at the British Comedy Guide
- Keeping Up Appearances at the Internet Movie Database
- Keeping Up Appearances at TV.com