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Clive Swift
Clive Swift 2007.jpg
Swift in Doctor Who: "Voyage of the Damned"
Birth name Clive Walter Swift
Born (1936-02-09)9 February 1936
Liverpool, England
Died 1 February 2019(2019-02-01) (aged 82)
Paddington, London, England
Medium Television, film
Margaret Drabble
(m. 1960; div. 1975)
  • Rebecca
  • Adam
  • Joe
Relative(s) David Swift (brother)

Clive Walter Swift (9 February 1936 – 1 February 2019) was an English actor and songwriter. A classically trained actor, his stage work included performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, but he was best known to television viewers for his role as Richard Bucket in the BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances. He played many other television and film roles.

Life and career

Swift was born in Liverpool on 9 February 1936, the son of Abram Sampson Swift, who owned a furniture shop in Bootle, and Lily Rebecca, née Greenman. His elder brother David was also an actor. Both were educated at Clifton College and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where Clive read English literature. He was previously a teacher at LAMDA and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His family was Jewish.

He appeared as Snug in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1968 film production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as part of a cast that included Diana Rigg, Helen Mirren and Ian Richardson. During the 1970s, he appeared as Doctor Black in two of the BBC's M. R. James adaptations: The Stalls of Barchester and in A Warning to the Curious, as well as the BBC adaptation of The Barchester Chronicles. He is best known for his role on Keeping Up Appearances as Richard Bucket, the long-suffering husband of Hyacinth. Swift made two appearances in Doctor Who, in the 1985 story Revelation of the Daleks and the 2007 Christmas special. Around the time of his second appearance, he gave a "grumpy" interview to Doctor Who Magazine in which he bemoaned "not getting paid" to promote his episode, and belittled the show. He also played Sir Ector, the adoptive father of King Arthur in John Boorman's 1981 film Excalibur.

In addition to acting, he was a songwriter. Many of his songs were included in his shows Richard Bucket Overflows: An Audience with Clive Swift, which toured the UK in 2007, and Clive Swift Entertains, in which he performed his own music and lyrics, which toured the UK in 2009. He also played the part of the Reverend Eustacius Brewer in Born and Bred, which aired on BBC One from 2002 to 2005. His last performance was in an episode of Midsomer Murders in 2017, after which he retired.

Personal life and death

Swift was married to novelist Margaret Drabble from 1960 until their divorce in 1975. He was the father of one daughter, Rebecca (who died in April 2017), known for running The Literary Consultancy in London, and two sons, Adam Swift, an academic, and Joe Swift, a garden designer, journalist and television presenter.

Swift died at home on 1 February 2019, just eight days prior of his 83rd birthday, following a short illness. Paying tribute to Swift, fellow actor James Dreyfus said he "loved this extremely talented, subtle actor". His Keeping Up Appearances co-star Patricia Routledge said: "Clive was a skillful and inventive actor with wide experience, as his successful career proved," and that she was very sad to hear of her former co-star's death.



Year Title Role Notes
1965 Catch Us If You Can Duffie
1968 A Midsummer Night's Dream Snug
1972 Frenzy Johnny Porter
1972 Death Line Inspector Richardson
1973 The National Health Ash
1973 Man at the Top Massey
1978 The Sailor's Return Reverend Pottock
1981 Excalibur Ector
1984 Memed My Hawk Magistrate
1984 A Passage to India Major Callendar
1988 Young Toscanini Comparsa Uncredited
1990 Othello Brabantio DVD re-released 2004
1997 Gaston's War General James


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Mad Jack
1970-71 Waugh on Crime Inspector Waugh of the CID
1971 The Stalls of Barchester Dr. Black
1972 The Liver Birds Jim Royle 1 episode
1972 Dead of Night Dan
1972 in A Warning to the Curious Dr. Black
1973 The Frighteners James Machen 'The Classroom', episode (ITV (TV channel)) (4th. May)
1976 Romeo and Juliet Friar Lawrence
1978 Bless Me, Father Fred Dobie 1 episode: "Father and Mother"
1978 1990
1979 Henry IV, Part 1 Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester
1979 Hazell (TV series) Neville Fitch Episode: Hazell and the Baker Street Sleuth
1980 The Nesbitts Are Coming Ernie Nesbitt 6 episodes
1981 Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years Sir Horace Wilson Last two episodes
1982 Tales of the Unexpected Latham 1 episode: S5, E5 "Stranger in Town"
1982 The Barchester Chronicles Bishop Proudie
1985 The Pickwick Papers Tracy Tupman
1985 Doctor Who Professor Jobel Revelation of the Daleks
1986 First Among Equals Alec Pimkin
1987 Inspector Morse Doctor Bartlett
1987 Pack of Lies Ellis
1988 Journey's End Captain Hardy
1989 British Telecom Cyril (Beatie's brother-in-law in Australia) Television advertisement
1990–1995 Keeping Up Appearances Richard Bucket Main role, 44 episodes
1993 Heartbeat Victor Kellerman 1 episode: "Going Home"
1997 The Famous Five Mr Pottersham ‘Five Have a Wonderful Time" Part 1&?2
1997 The Memoirs of Hyacinth Bucket Richard Bucket TV film (archive footage only)
1998 Peak Practice Norman Shorthose 10 episodes
1999 Aristocrats King George II
2002–2005 Born and Bred Reverend Eustacius Brewer
2007 Doctor Who Mr Copper "Voyage of the Damned"
2008 Keeping Up Appearances: Life Lessons from Onslow Richard Bucket TV film (archive footage only)
2009–2010 The Old Guys Roy 12 episodes
2011 Hustle Yusef Episode: "The Delivery"
2014 Cuckoo Dr. Rafferty Episode: "Funeral"
2015 Rosamunde Pilcher Edward Whiteley "Valentine's Kiss"[1]
2015 SunTrap Colin Episode: "In the Line of Fire"
2017 Midsomer Murders Felix Hope S19, E2: "Crime and Punishment" (final appearance)


  • Oblomov as the Doctor (2005)
  • The Right Time (2008)
  • Measure for Measure as Escalus (2004)
  • Jorrocks's Jaunts and Jollities as Nash (2011)
  • The Price of Fear – Remains to be Seen as Fred Treiber (2012)
  • "Vivat Rex" as Lord Talbot in "Henry VI" by William Shakespeare, in episodes 15–16, BBC (1977)


  • Cymbeline (1962) as Cloten
  • The Physicists (1963) as Inspector Richard Voss (Aldwych Theatre)
  • The Tempest (1966) as Caliban (Prospect Theatre Company)

See also

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