|Occupation(s)||Retired (Series 3-5)
Officer of the council (Series 1-2)
|Age||1990-1995 - 54-59|
|Portrayed by||Clive Swift|
|Nieces and Nephews||Stephanie (Niece)|
|Other Relatives||Daisy (Sister-in-law)|
Mrs Walton (Mother-in-law)
|First Appearance||Daddy's Accident|
|Last Appearance||The Pageant|
Richard Bucket is a fictional character played by the late Clive Swift in the British comedy TV series Keeping Up Appearances, which was aired from 1990 to 1995.
He is the calm, tolerant and long-suffering husband of social climbing snob Hyacinth Bucket, who insists their surname is pronounced "Bouquet". Unlike Hyacinth, Richard is content to live a normal life and does not aspire to mingle with the aristocracy. As pointed out in the BBC documentary series Comedy Connections, he is a foil to exploit Hyacinth's personality to the worst advantage, and after Hyacinth has behaved in a particularly snobbish fashion, Richard will mutter a dry, acerbic remark, that provides some of the show’s humour. He pronounces his last name as it is spelled (and as everyone else but Hyacinth pronounces it): "Bucket" (He insists on this in Riparian Entertainments).
Richard drives a light blue metallic 1987 Rover 216S, a conventional, slightly upmarket family saloon which fits in well with Hyacinth's pretentious image. (He is very careful to clean and polish the exterior whenever he must chauffeur Hyacinth anywhere, as she is extremely meticulous about their image and would never venture into public in a slightly tarnished vehicle.)
A Henpecked Husband
Richard is the primary target to aid in Hyacinth's schemes (the secondary target is often Elizabeth). Since Hyacinth does not drive, Richard is often responsible for driving around Hyacinth. Richard rarely resists partaking in trips that Hyacinth demands, although at times, he does so begrudgingly. Much of the show's humour occurs while driving such as Hyacinth forcing Richard to drive through a petrol station 3 times and another time forcing Richard to make a wild maneuver to avoid being seen by a high society friend.
In The Rolls Royce, Hyacinth tricked Richard under false pretenses into going to an expensive car dealer. Her requests gradually increased until the point where she got Richard to take one of the dealer's cars to a hotel without permission. Richard tried being the voice of reason, but his efforts failed to stop this incident from occurring.
He sometimes takes a beating as a result of when Hyacinth's popularity schemes backfire. For example, in What To Wear When Yachting, Richard gets dragged, falls off of a yacht, and is walked on by his wife. In A Job For Richard, he is roughed up by two thugs as part of a scheme to impress a wealthy businessman. Despite taking a beating, Richard never complains nor appears overly upset.
Many times throughout the series, he becomes frustrated when Sheridan requests money (as he many times does, sometimes frivolously); moreover, Hyacinth usually sides with Sheridan. Despite resisting this, his efforts are usually insufficient in precluding a money transfer to Sheridan.
Excellent Member Of The CommunityRichard often participates in community service activities, particularly within his church. In Seaside Fun, he volunteers (or perhaps Hyacinth volunteers him) to drive a minibus to a seaside amusement park and spend the day with the senior citizens he has driven. In Let There Be Light, Richard is tasked with repairing the electrics box in the church hall.
Richard loves Hyacinth dearly, despite her faults, but cannot clearly explain her finer qualities to his dumbstruck friends. He favourably describes living with Hyacinth as being like his time in the Army, when every day everything was planned out for him and he never had to make any decisions (to which the vicar remarked, "But in the Army, they only sign up for thirty years!"). He does not appear to be particularly unhappy living with Hyacinth: as Patricia Routledge pointed out in the Comedy Connections series, she keeps a good table, and irons his clothes (something that a lot of men like).
However, on one occasion, he did manage to stand up for himself and yell at Hyacinth when she was being obnoxious about using a public phone box (which someone else was using) and didn't feel that she had to wait. Richard firmly ordered her back to the car, which astonished Hyacinth; Liz looked at him in admiration; and he earned a compliment from the man using the phone box for his courage.
Richard and Hyacinth also have a son called Sheridan, and with his materialistic wife and their equally self-absorbed son (who is never seen on camera), Richard frequently has an empty wallet. Richard and Sheridan clearly are not close—Richard is almost never seen talking to him on the telephone, and often voices his displeasure to Hyacinth when their son does call, usually due to his belief that Sheridan is calling only for money (a fact that is clear to nearly everyone but Hyacinth, who can believe no wrong of his dear boy). Richard does have concerns for Sheridan, however, and has the idea that Sheridan may be homosexual.
Unlike Hyacinth, Richard is fond of his brother-in-law Onslow and sisters-in-law Daisy and Rose, and prefers their company to Hyacinth's other, but wealthier sister Violet's (this is stated in the last episode of series one, where Richard complains how Violet is "always moaning" in contrast to Onslow's and Daisy's cheerfulness). Unlike Hyacinth, Richard accepts Onslow and company as members of the family, not caring about their lower-class status, and he often tries to portray them positively to Hyacinth.
In the fifth episode of series one, Richard says to Hyacinth: "You've got to admire Onslow's relaxed attitude to life". Onslow sympathises with Richard (who he calls "Dickie"), knowing he is at Hyacinth's beck and call day and night. He tries to rescue him on several occasions, such as in season one when he rouses Daisy to action by reminding her "he's out there alone with your Hyacinth! We have to go rescue Dickie!" and on another occasion in series three, taking him to a pub where they play pool together, and enjoy a round or two of beers. Other characters in the sitcom also sympathise with Richard, and wonder how he puts up with Hyacinth; neighbour Emmet frequently asks sister Liz, a longtime friend of the couple, "How does he live with her?".
Similarly to the aforementioned characters, Richard is well-liked by other characters in the community. These characters are often sympathetic to Richard, well aware of Hyacinth wearing at his nerves. In Let There Be Light, Richard is within a group of Emmet, The Vicar, and Onslow. When asked how he seeks refuge from Hyacinth's overbearing personality, Richard reveals that he hides in the bathroom.
For the first two series, Richard works as a local government official (he answers the phone, "Finance and general purposes" but other than that we do not know his title). Richard participates in meetings where he is interrupted by Hyacinth with trivial matters - much to the annoyance of his coworkers. In one occasion, Hyacinth was so upset that Richard was forced to leave a meeting early.
At the beginning of series three, Richard is forced to take early retirement from his position. Some of his colleagues say how lucky he is, until they remember he will have to spend his retired life with Hyacinth. At first, Richard was obviously lost upon retirement; he acted very strangely such as driving in the wrong direction, being in a trance-like state while speaking on the phone, and saying strange things unlike Richard to say. He even begged his manager to take him back, even if it is part time, although this request was subsequently refused.
Later on in the series, Hyacinth tries to use the title of Richard's former position as an effort to gain prestige and privilege, although Richard believes he is no longer entitled to this as he is no longer employed as such. One example is when Hyacinth successfully attempted to get herself and Richard invited to a party held by government officials.
- According to the book Hyacinth Bucket's Hectic Social Calendar, Richard's birthday is November 26th, and his and Hyacinth's wedding anniversary is December 16th.
- Add more details about the interaction between the group of 4. Episode: Let there be light.
- Add more details about this. This refers to an episode in which Hyacinth tries to get invited to a fancy dress ball.