Keeping Up Appearances
Keeping Up Appearances must rate as one of those classic British sitcoms. Made in 1990 – 1995, it focuses on the life of Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “bouquet”) and her long-suffering and put-upon husband, Richard. Hyacinth and Richard live in a bungalow in a well-to-do area were Hyacinth shows off to her neighbours and the local vicar and is famed for her candlelight suppers. She dresses rather like the Queen Mother did, in fitted dresses and matching hats and gloves and has an outfit for every occasion. Her only son Sheridan is away at University and occasionally phones up. She constantly criticises others and tells them off when they fail to meet up to her exacting standards – the very definition of the word “snob”. The neighbours Elizabeth and her brother Emmett dread seeing her in case she asks them to visit or do something for her. Hyacinth can be rather irritating with her constant name-dropping and delusions of grandeur, but is, in a strange way, likeable.
Hyacinth comes from much poorer stock and is constantly embarrassed by her sister Daisy and her slob of a husband Onslow, her flirty sister Rose and other sister Violet. Dotty Daddy also appears quite regularly although he rarely speaks. Hyacinth’s family live on a council estate and often turn up at her home or at important events unannounced and unwashed. Keeping Up Appearances works because of the way in which the characters interact with each other. The relationship between Daisy and Onslow is a joy to witness. Hyacinth often finds herself in embarrassing situations (e.g. taking half a house worth of luggage on a short trip on the QE2) and any episode of the programme is worth a second visit.