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 portrays a social hierarchy-ruled British society.
It jokes about a small obsessive world where a determined snobbish middle class woman desperately and continually looks for opportunities to climb the social ladder, despite being wedged between a working class background and upper class aspirations.
Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge)—who insists her surname is pronounced Bouquet—is a social-climbing snob who passes her time visiting stately homes, hosting "executive-style" candlelight suppers (with her Royal Worcester double-glazed Avignon china and Royal Doulton china with "the hand-painted periwinkles"), bragging of her "white slim line telephone with automatic redial", and maintaining the integrity of her woodblock floor, wallpaper, and status in the community, name-dropping at any hint of an opportunity.
Her aim in life is to impress neighbours, friends, and important people. When answering the telephone, she greets the caller with "The Bouquet residence, the lady of the house speaking!" Frequently she receives calls asking for Chinese take-away, causing her great consternation. Always hindering her best efforts are her underclass sisters Daisy (Judy Cornwell) and Rose (Shirley Stelfox and Mary Millar), and Daisy's proudly "bone-idle" husband Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes). This threesome, along with Hyacinth's senile father, are forever turning up inconveniently and embarrassing Hyacinth, who goes 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!")
Such excessive snobbery makes life difficult for those around her, especially long-suffering hen-pecked husband Richard Bucket (Clive Swift). Most 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!". The only recurring character who actively seeks out Hyacinth's company is the Major (Peter Cellier) (although a few other people show interest in Hyacinth in some episodes, e.g. Signore Ferrini, the Commodore, the incoherent rural man, etc.)
Main Article: List Of Episodes
Legacy Article: Category:Episodes
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'".
A notable aspect about this programme is that each episode story is independent of another; there is no major ongoing story throughout the episodes. This show can be enjoyed in any order of your choosing.