||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2012)|
|Birth name||Katherine Patricia Routledge|
17 February 1929 |
Tranmere, Birkenhead, England
Patricia Routledge, CBE (born 17 February 1929) is an English character comedy actress and singer. She is best known for her role as character Hyacinth Bucket (supposedly pronounced "Bouquet") in the British television series Keeping Up Appearances and Hetty Wainthropp in the British television series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates. In addition to her roles in British television, she has a long and successful career in musical theatre, receiving a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, as well as in film.
Early life and education 
She was born Katherine Patricia Routledge in Tranmere, Birkenhead, to parents Catherine and Isaac Routledge. Her father was a haberdasher, and, during the Second World War the family lived weeks at a time in the basement of her father's shop.
She was educated at Mersey Park Primary School, Birkenhead High School, now a state-funded Academy school, and the University of Liverpool. At Liverpool she graduated with Honours in English Language and Literature and was not on a path to pursue an acting career. She was, however, involved in the university's Dramatic Society where she worked closely with the academic Edmund Colledge who both directed and acted in several of the society's productions. It was Colledge who persuaded her to pursue an acting career. After graduating from Liverpool, she trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and launched her acting career at the Liverpool Playhouse.
Routledge has had a prolific career in theatre, particularly musical theatre, in the United Kingdom and the United States. She has been a long-standing member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), appearing in such acclaimed productions as the 1983 Richard III, which starred Anthony Sher, who played the title role on crutches. Her West End credits include Little Mary Sunshine, Cowardy Custard, Virtue in Danger, Noises Off, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Solid Gold Cadillac, as well as a number of less-successful vehicles. A classically trained singer, she has occasionally made forays into operetta; including portraying the title role in an acclaimed production of Jacques Offenbach's La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein at the 1978 Camden Festival.
Routledge made her Broadway debut in the short-lived 1968 musical Darling of the Day, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, sharing the honour with Leslie Uggams of Hallelujah, Baby!. Following this, Routledge had roles in several more unsuccessful Broadway productions including a musical called Love Match, in which she played Queen Victoria; the legendary 1976 Leonard Bernstein flop 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in which she portrayed every U.S. First Lady from Abigail Adams to Edith Roosevelt (the second wife of Theodore Roosevelt); and a 1981 musical Say Hello to Harvey – based on the Mary Coyle Chase play Harvey (1944) – which closed in Toronto before reaching New York City.
In 1980, Routledge played Ruth in the Joseph Papp production of The Pirates of Penzance co-starring American actor Kevin Kline and pop vocalist Linda Ronstadt, at the Delacorte Theatre in New York City's Central Park, one of the series of Shakespeare in the Park summer events. The show was a hit and transferred to Broadway the following January, but Estelle Parsons replaced Routledge. A DVD of the Central Park production, with Routledge, was released in October 2002.
Routledge won a Laurence Olivier Award in 1988 for her portrayal of the Old Lady in Leonard Bernstein's Candide in the London cast of the critically acclaimed Scottish Opera production. She also played the role of Nettie Fowler to great acclaim in the 1993 London production of Carousel. In a 2006 Hampstead Theatre production of The Best of Friends, she portrayed Dame Laurentia McLachlan. In 2008, she played Queen Mary in Royce Ryton's play Crown Matrimonial. More recent work include the narrator in The Carnival of the Animals with the Nash Ensemble in 2010 and the role of Myra Hess in the play Admission: One Shilling in 2011.
Film and television 
Routledge's screen credits include To Sir, with Love (1967), Pretty Polly (1967), The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom (1968), Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968), and If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969).
Routledge's early television appearances included a role in Steptoe and Son, in the episode "Seance in a Wet Rag and Bone Yard" (1974) as a clairvoyant called Madame Fontana. She also appeared in Coronation Street, and as a white witch in Doctor at Large (1971). Also in 1971, Routledge play Mrs. Jennings in the BBC mini-series production of Sense and Sensibility." However, she did not come to prominence on television until she featured in monologues written for her by Alan Bennett from 1978 (A Visit from Miss Protheroe) and later Victoria Wood in the 1980s. She first appeared in Alan Bennett's A Woman of No Importance in 1982, and then as the opinionated Kitty in Victoria Wood As Seen On TV in 1985. She performed two further monologues in Bennett's Talking Heads in 1987 and 1998.
In 1990, Routledge landed the role of Hyacinth Bucket in the comedy series Keeping Up Appearances. She portrayed a formerly working-class woman with social pretensions (insisting her surname be pronounced "bouquet") and delusions of grandeur (her oft-mentioned "candlelight suppers"). Routledge delighted in portraying Hyacinth as she claimed she couldn't stand people like her in real life. In 1991 she won a British Comedy Award for her portrayal, and she was later nominated for two BAFTA TV Awards in 1992 and 1993. The series ended at Routledge's request in 1995.
In 1995, Routledge accepted the lead in another long-running series, playing Hetty Wainthropp in the mystery drama Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, co-starring rising star Dominic Monaghan as her assistant and Derek Benfield as her husband. It first aired in January 1996, and ran until the autumn of 1998, with one special episode in 1999.
In 2001, Routledge starred in Anybody's Nightmare, a fact-based television drama in which she played a piano teacher who served four years in prison for murdering her elderly aunt, but was acquitted following a retrial.
Radio and audio books 
Routledge's extensive radio credits include several Alan Bennett plays and the BBC dramatisation of Carole Hayman's Ladies of Letters, in which she and Prunella Scales play retired women exchanging humorous correspondence over the course of several years. A tenth series of Ladies of Letters premiered on BBC Radio 4 in 2009.
Having a distinctive voice, Routledge has also recorded and released a variety of audiobooks including unabridged readings of Wuthering Heights and Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and abridged novelisations of the Hetty Wainthropp series.
In 1966, she sang the role of Mad Margaret in Ruddigore, the title role in Iolanthe, and Melissa in Princess Ida, in a series of BBC radio Gilbert and Sullivan recordings. She took part in a studio broadcast of Tchaikovsky's opera Vakula the Smith (narrating excerpts from the work by Gogol) in 1990. In 2006 she was featured in a programme of the "Stage and Screen" series on Radio 3.
Personal life 
Film and television work 
|1961||Hilda Lessways||Hilda Lessways||TV series (6 episodes)|
|1959||ITV Play of the Week||Dido Morgan/Kate Barclay/Louisa Lindley||TV series (6 episodes)|
|1960||The Terrible Choice||TV series|
|1961||Coronation Street||Sylvia Snape||TV series (5 episodes)|
|1962||Z Cars||Madge Kenton||TV series (1 episode: "Search")|
|1964||Victoria Regina||Queen Victoria||TV mini-series (4 episodes)|
|1965||Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life||Irish Mother||TV series (2 episodes)|
|1965||No Hiding Place||Pat||TV series (1 episode: "A Place in the Sun")|
|1965||Gaslight Theatre||'Our Mary'||TV series (1 episode: "Britons to the Rescue or, English Virtue Preserved in South America")|
|1956–66||ITV Play of the Week||Alice Clay/Maggie Hobson||TV series (3 episodes)|
|1966||Eamonn Andrews Show||herself||TV series (1 episode)|
|1967||Thirty-Minute Theatre||Beryl Turner||TV series (1 episode: "An Absolute Treasure")|
|1967||Seven Deadly Sins||Mrs. Vealfoy||TV series (1 episode: "The Good & Faithful Servant")|
|1967||To Sir, with Love||Clinty Clintridge|
|1967||A Matter of Innocence||Miss Gudgeon||Originally titled "Pretty Polly", starring Hayley Mills as the title role, Polly Barlow|
|1967||Androcles and the Lion||Megaera, Androcles' Wife||TV movie|
|1968||30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia||Mrs. Woolley|
|1968||Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River||Lucille Beatty|
|1968||The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom||Miss Reece|
|1968||The Ed Sullivan Show||herself (Audience Bow/Singer)||TV series (2 episodes)|
|1968||The Ed Sullivan Show||Performer, "Not On Your Nellie"||Soundtrack|
|1969||Lock Up Your Daughters!||Nurse|
|1969||ITV Saturday Night Theatre||Hazel Day||TV series (1 episode: "Hazel and Her New Gas Cooker")|
|1969||If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium||Mrs. Featherstone|
|1970||Egghead's Robot||Mrs. Wentworth|
|1961–1970||Armchair Theatre||Miss Furling/New mother||TV series (2 episodes)|
|1970||ITV Playhouse||Fern/Rose||TV series (1 episode: "Rose and Fern")|
|1971||Girl Stroke Boy||Pamela Hovendon|
|1971||Sense and Sensibility||Mrs. Jennings||TV series (4 episodes)|
|1971||Doctor at Large||Audrey Watt||TV series (1 episode: "It's All in the Mind")|
|1971||Vincent Price Is in the Country||herself||TV movie|
|1972||His and Hers||Myrtle Waller||TV series (1 episode: "Driving")|
|1973||Ooh La La!||Lucienne Homenides de Histangau||TV series (1 episode: "Caught in the Act")|
|1974||Affairs of the Heart||Mrs. Meldrum||TV series (1 episode: "Flora")|
|1974||Steptoe and Son||Madame Fontana||TV series (1 episode: "Seance in a Wet Rag and Bone Yard")|
|1974||...And Mother Makes Five||Mrs. Fletcher||TV series (2 episodes)|
|1974||David Copperfield||Mrs. Micawber||TV mini-series (3 episodes)|
|1971–75||BBC Play of the Month||Dorine/Annie Parker||TV series (2 episodes)|
|1977||Nicholas Nickleby||Madame Mantalini||TV mini-series (5 episodes)|
|1977||Jubilee||TV series (1 episode: "Plain Jane")|
|1977||The Cost of Loving||Sarah Taplow||TV series (1 episode: "The Years Between")|
|1978||BBC2 Play of the Week||Miss Protheroe||TV series (1 episode: "A Visit from Miss Protheroe")|
|1978||Doris and Doreen||Doreen Bidmead||TV movie|
|1979||Crown Court||Rita Finch||TV series (1 episode: "Forever: Part 1")|
|1980||The Pirates of Penzance||Ruth||TV movie|
|1980||Play for Today||ATS Officer||TV series (1 episode: "The Imitation Game")|
|1980||The Curse of King Tut's Tomb||'Posh' Lady||TV movie|
|1982||Objects of Affection||Peggy Schofield||TV series (1 episode: "A Woman of No Importance")|
|1983||The Beggar's Opera||Mrs. Peachum||TV movie|
|1983||Keep Off the Grass||Bag Lady||Short|
|1983||The Two Ronnies||Madame Multitude||TV series (1 episode)|
|1984||Home Video||TV movie|
|1985||Marjorie and Men||Marjorie Belton||TV series (6 episodes)|
|1985–86||Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV||Kitty||TV series (5 episodes)|
|1987||When We Are Married||Maria Helliwell||TV movie|
|1988||Tales of the Unexpected||Milly Dobson||TV series (1 episode: "The Verger")|
|1988||Talking Heads||Miss Ruddock||TV mini-series (1 episode: "A Lady of Letters")|
|1988||Sophia and Constance||Mrs. Baines||TV series (3 episodes)|
|1989||First and Last||Ivy||TV movie|
|1989||BAFTA British Academy Awards||herself|
|1990||Missing Persons||Hetty Wainthropp||TV movie|
|1990||Alas Smith & Jones||TV series (1 episode)|
|1991||Miss Pym's Day Out||Barbara Pym||TV series|
|1992||Aspel & Company||herself||TV series (1 episode)|
|1993||The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends||Cousin Ribby||TV series (2 episodes)|
|1994||Hildegard of Bingen||Hildegard von Bingen||TV documentary|
|1990–95||Keeping Up Appearances||Hyacinth Bucket||TV series (44 episodes)|
|1997||Heroes of Comedy||herself||TV series documentary (1 episode: "Alastair Sim", as Patricia Routledge OBE)|
|1996–98||Hetty Wainthropp Investigates||Hetty Wainthropp||TV series (27 episodes)|
|1998||Talking Heads 2||Miss Fozzard||TV mini-series (1 episode: "Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet")|
|1998||Parkinson||herself||TV series (1 episode, dated 30 January 1998)|
|1998||Funny Women||herself||TV series documentary (1 episode: "Patricia Routledge")|
|2001||Anybody's Nightmare||Sheila Bowler||TV movie|
|2001||Breakfast||herself||TV series (1 episode, dated 23 January 2001)|
|2003||In Search of the Brontës||narrator||TV movie|
|2004||The Funny Ladies of British Comedy||herself||TV documentary|
|2004||Ronnie Barker: A BAFTA Tribute||herself||TV movie|
|2004||Comedy Connections||herself||TV series documentary (1 episode: "Keeping Up Appearances")|
|2004||GMTV||herself||TV series (1 episode, dated 22 September 2004)|
|2004||The Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2004||herself||TV movie|
|2005||The Funny Blokes of British Comedy||herself||TV documentary|
|2006||A Taste of My Life||herself||TV series documentary (1 episode: "Alan Bennett")|
|2007||This Morning||herself||TV series (1 episode, dated 29 May 2007)|
|2008||Keeping Up Appearances: Life Lessons from Onslow||Hyacinth Bucket||Video|
|2008||The Alan Titchmarsh Show||herself||TV series (1 episode, dated 8 September 2008)|
|2008||The Greatest Christmas Comedy Moments||herself||TV documentary|
Stage work 
|1952||A Midsummer Night's Dream||Hippolyta||Liverpool Playhouse, Liverpool|
|1954||The Duenna||Carlotta||Westminster Theatre, London|
|1956||A Comedy of Errors||Adriana||Arts Theatre, London|
|1957||Zuleika||Aunt Mabel||Saville Theatre, London|
|1959||The Love Doctor||Henrietta Argan||Piccadilly Theatre, London|
|1960||Follow That Girl||Mrs. Gilchrist||Vaudeville Theatre, London|
|1961||Come As You Are||Guildford|
|1961||Out of My Mind||Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith|
|1962||Little Mary Sunshine||Mary Potts ("Little Mary Sunshine")||Comedy Theatre, London|
|1963||The Relapse, Virtue In Danger||Berinthia||Mermaid and Strand Theatres, London|
|1964||Home and Beauty||Victoria||Croydon|
|1965||How's the World Treating You?||Violet/Nell/Rover||London (1965) and Music Box Theatre, Broadway (1966)|
|1968||Darling of the Day||Alice Challice||George Abbott Theatre, New York City|
|1968||Love Match||Queen Victoria||Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles|
|1969||The Caucasian Chalk Circle||Mother-in-law||Chichester Festival|
|1969||The Country Wife||Lady Fidget||Chichester Festival|
|1969||The Magistrate||Agatha Posket||Chichester Festival and Cambridge Theatre, London|
|1971||First Impressions||Mrs Bennet||Birmingham Rep|
|1972||Cowardly Custard||Mermaid Theatre, London|
|1973||Dandy Dick||Georgina Tidman||Chichester Festival and Garrick Theatre, London|
|1975||The Cherry Orchard||Madame Ranevsky||Bristol Old Vic|
|1975||Made in Heaven||Martha Avon||Chichester Festival|
|1976||1600 Pennsylvania Avenue||All of the First Ladies||Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York City|
|1976||The Rivals||Mrs Malaprop||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester|
|1976||Zack||Mrs Munnings||Royal Exchange Theatre|
|1977||On Approval||Maria Wislack||Vaudeville Theatre, London|
|1978||Gracious Living||Daisy Tuttle||Eisenhower Theatre, Washington DC|
|1978||Semmelweiss||Julia||Eisenhower Theatre, Washington DC|
|1979||The Schoolmistress||Miss Dyott||Royal Exchange Theatre|
|1979||And a Nightingale Sang...||Peggy Stott||Queen's Theatre, London|
|1980||The Pirates of Penzance||Ruth||Delacorte Theater, New York City|
|1981||Say Hello to Harvey||Toronto|
|1982||Noises Off||Dotty Otley||Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith and Savoy Theatre, London|
|1983||When the Wind Blows||Whitehall Theatre, London|
|1984||Richard III||Queen Margaret||Royal Shakespeare Company|
|1985||When We Are Married||Maria Heliwell||Whitehall Theatre, London|
|1988||Candide||Old Lady||Old Vic, London|
|1989||Come for the Ride||(one-woman show)||UK tour|
|1992||Talking Heads||Comedy Theatre, London|
|1992||Carousel||Nettie Fowler||National Theatre, London|
|1994||Mr and Mrs Nobody||Carrie Pooter||Greenwich Theatre, London|
|1994||The Rivals||Mrs Malaprop||Chichester Festival|
|1997||Beatrix||Beatrix Potter||Minerva Theatre, Chichester|
|1999 and 2001||The Importance of Being Earnest||Lady Bracknell||Haymarket Theatre and Savoy Theatre, both London|
|2002||Wild Orchids||Chichester Festival|
|2004||The Solid Gold Cadillac||Mrs Laura Partridge||Garrick Theatre, London|
|2006||The Best of Friends||Dame Laurentia MacLachlan||Hampstead Theatre and UK tour|
|2007||Office Suite||Doreen/Miss Protheroe||Minerva Theatre, Chichester and UK tour|
|2008||Crown Matrimonial||Queen Mary||UK tour|
- "Patricia Routledge Biography". Chichester Festival Theatre. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- Hussey, Stanley (26 November 1999). "Obituary: The Rev Edmund Colledge". The Independent. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- Patricia Routledge – Unsung Heroines, Musical Theatre.net
- Biographical note in Royal Shakespeare Company programme for Henry V, Barbican Theatre, London, 1985.
- Nash Concert Society programme, Wigmore Hall, 16 January 2010.
- British Film Institute archive Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- Stage and Screen 27 November 2006 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/stageandscreen/pip/t5b65/
- Revoir, Paul (27 June 2008). "Patricia Routledge says BBC is run by '10-year-old children' after her detective series is axed". Daily Mail. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- Staff (undated). "The Beatrix Potter Society". The Beatrix Potter Society. Retrieved 30 July 2012. "Patron: Patricia Routledge C.B.E.; President: Brian Alderson".
- Patricia Routledge at the Internet Broadway Database
- Patricia Routledge at the Internet Movie Database
- selected performances in Theatre Archive University of Bristol