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Keeping Up Appearances
(BBC, 1990-1995)

Keeping Up Appearances was a British television sitcom that starred Patricia Routledge as the snobbish social climber Hyacinth Bucket (which she proudly proclaims to anyone who mispronounces it that it
is actually pronounced “bouquet”) and Clive Swift as her hen-pecked, long-suffering husband Richard. The cast was rounded out with Josephine Tewson as neighbor Liz, Judy Cornwall as sister Daisy, Geoffrey Hughes as brother-in-law Onslow and Mary Millar (beginning in season 2) as sister Rose. Hyacinth and Richard had a son Sheridan who was never seen nor heard from except for calling Hyacinth on the phone begging for money. (During the show’s run, he was away attending university.) In season 2, Liz’s brother Emmet (David Griffin) came to live with her after his divorce.

Keeping Up Appearances debuted October 29, 1990 and went on for 44 episodes and two Christmas specials before ending December 25, 1995 as Routledge wanted to pursue other projects. Due to the (enduring) success of Keeping Up Appearances, it was imperative to Routledge that she get out from under Hyacinth’s shadow; it was paramount for her to not just be remembered as Hyacinth “Bouquet.”

In 2004, Keeping Up Appearances was ranked 12th (out of 100) on the list of Best British Sitcoms. The show still regularly airs worldwide in the U.S., UK, Ireland and Canada. The entire series has already made its way onto DVD. In 2010, the show was adapted into a play that toured through the UK. (The play did not include Richard, he was always alluded to by Hyacinth yelling at him while looking off-stage or by speaking to him on the phone.)

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