Keeping up Appearances is a British Sitcom produced by the BBC which ran from 1990 to 1995. It ran for five series consisting of 44 episodes, four of which are Christmas specials. The series was written by Roy Clarke and centres around the life of the eccentric social climber Hyacinth Bucket.
The sitcom follows Hyacinth in her attempts to prove her social superiority and to gain the approval of those she considers upper-class. These attempts are constantly thwarted by her extended family who are decidedly lower class and whom she desperately wants to remain hidden.
It was confirmed by BBC Worldwide that Keeping Up Appearances is the corporation's most exported television programme and has been sold nearly 1000 times to overseas broadcasters.
Hyacinth insists that her surname is pronounced Bouquet rather than the lower class Bucket. She is an over-bearing snob and goes to great lengths to hide the fact that she comes from a poor working-class background. She is married to her long-suffering husband, Richard. She has been known to say to him, "Richard, you know I love my family, but that's no reason why I should have to acknowledge them in broad daylight!"
Hyacinth has a great interest in visiting stately homes, probably in the hope that she will strike up relationship with their upper-class owners. She constantly tries to invite her fearful and unwitting neighbours to her 'exclusive candlelit suppers.' She has a son named Sheridan, who is never seen, and who lives with a man called Tarquin. Hyacinth is totally oblivious to the fact that Sheridan is homosexual.
Richard Bucket is Hyacinth's husband. He is the one in the series who suffers the most and he becomes more and more exasperated by Hyacinth's ridiculous schemes and plans and extravagant and unnecessary purchases.
In series one Richard works for the council but by series three he has to reluctantly accept retirement and spend more time with his wife. Hyacinth continues to insist that her name is pronounced Bouquet but Richard tells her that "It was always 'Bucket' until I met you!" Why he continues to put up with her through five series is anyone's guess.
Daisy is one of Hyacinth's sisters, the other two being Rose and Violet, and Onslow is her proudly layabout husband who is usually to be seen wearing his grubby vest. Violet, on the other hand, is wealthy, but for Hyacinth this is spoiled by the eccentric behaviour of Bruce, Violet's husband.
Daisy and Onslow, along with Hyacinth's senile father, often turn up at Hyacinth's in their clapped out Ford Cortina Mk IV which usually backfires when it pulls up. Hyacinth is ashamed to be associated with either of them and she goes to great lengths to avoid them altogether.
Rose is the more attractive, albeit ageing, sister, to Hyacinth. She lives with her sister Daisy and the slobbish Onslow in a rundown council house. She has been married before but decides against marrying again as it will "dampen her love life."
She's very promiscuous and always wears revealing outfits and short skirts. She is forever getting involved with men, and they are usually married. Essentially, she's another down-market relative designed to embarrass the snobbish Hyacinth. As with all her poorer relatives, Hyacinth is ashamed of Rose and fears she'll scupper her chances of progressing up the social ladder. Hyacinth thus does her best to keep Rose hidden. Nevertheless, whenever Rose becomes either distraught or suicidal, following another disastrous and unfortunate encounter with yet another man, Hyacinth never fails to rush to her aid, and clearly cares about her.
The theme tune was composed by Nicholas Ingman.
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