Keeping Up Appearances facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsKeeping Up Appearances
|Created by||Roy Clarke|
|Written by||Roy Clarke|
|Directed by||Harold Snoad|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||44 + 2 shorts (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes
50 minutes (1994 Christmas special)
60 minutes (1993 Christmas special)
ABC (Australia, home video)
Warner Home Video (US, home video)
Iowa Public Television (US, television)
|Original network||BBC One|
|Original release||29 October 1990– 25 December 1995|
|Related shows||Young Hyacinth|
Keeping Up Appearances is a British sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke. It aired on BBC One from 1990 to 1995. The central character is eccentric and snobbish lower middle class social climber, Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge), who insists that her surname is pronounced “Bouquet”.
The sitcom follows Hyacinth in her attempts to prove her social superiority, and to gain standing with those she considers upper class. Her attempts are constantly hampered by her lower class extended family, whom she is desperate to hide. Much of the humor comes from the conflict between Hyacinth's vision of herself, and the reality of her underclass background. In each episode, she lands in a funny situation as she battles to protect her social credibility.
The show comprised five series and 44 episodes, four of which are Christmas specials. Production ended when star Patricia Routledge moved on to other projects. All episodes have since been released on DVD.
Keeping Up Appearances was a great success in the UK, and also captured large audiences in the US, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. By February 2016, it had been sold nearly 1,000 times to overseas broadcasters, making it BBC Worldwide's most exported television programme. Domestically, it placed 12th in the Britain's Best Sitcom poll of 2004.
In September 2016, BBC One transmitted a 30-minute prequel, titled Young Hyacinth, in which Kerry Howard plays 19-year-old Hyacinth Walton, who is working as a maid in 1950s Britain.
Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge) – who insists her surname is pronounced Bouquet is an over-bearing, social-climbing snob, originally from an underclass background, whose main mission in life is to impress others with her lifestyle, perceived affluence and refinement.
She's terrified that her background will be revealed, and goes to great lengths to hide it. Hyacinth likes to spend her days visiting stately homes (convinced she will meet and strike up a friendship with the upper-class owners, especially if they are aristocratic) and hosting "executive-style" candlelight suppers (with her Royal Worcester double-glazed Avignon china and Royal Doulton china with "the hand-painted periwinkles").
She brags about her possessions to others. She speaks in an exaggerated RP-like accent with Northern undertones, while her relatives speak in broad Northern accents. When flustered, Hyacinth regresses to her native Northern accent.
Hyacinth's attempts to impress make the lives of those around her difficult; her continual efforts to improve her social position usually involve inviting her unwitting neighbours and friends to "exclusive candlelit suppers". Although Hyacinth is not deterred by the lack of response to her attempts, nearly everyone around her lives in fear of being invited, and usually makes frantic attempts to excuse themselves.
Unfortunately, her husband Richard (Clive Swift) bears the brunt of the suffering. He initially worked for the council but, at the beginning of series 3, reluctantly accepts early retirement. Although he loves her with a long-suffering endurance, he is notably exasperated by her plans and her habit of making extravagant and unnecessary purchases.
Three books related to the series have been released in the UK. Two were written by Jonathan Rice and published by BBC Books and the other one was written by Harold Snoad (the director of Keeping Up Appearances) and was published by Book Guild Publishing.
- Hyacinth Bucket's book of etiquette for the socially less fortunate
This was first published in 1993, and is a light-hearted guide to manners, as seen through Hyacinth Bucket's eyes. It is based on the TV series' scripts and contains many black-and-white photos of scenes from the show.
- Hyacinth Bucket's Hectic Social Calendar
This was published in 1995 and is presented in a diary format chronicling a year in Hyacinth Bucket's life, with typical comments about her relations and neighbours.
- It's Bouquet – Not Bucket
This was published in late 2009, the book includes rare photos which were taken during the filming of Keeping Up Appearances. The book contains full plot synopses for all episodes, main cast details, filming locations for all episodes which used outside shots, and stories of some entertaining events which happened during filming.
Images for kids
The council terrace in Stoke Aldermoor occupied by Daisy and Onslow
Keeping Up Appearances Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.