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Keeping Up Appearances

When it comes to snobbery, Hyacinth Bucket — she insists it is pronounced "bouquet" — is in a class of her own, going to incredible lengths in her quest for perfection.


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Keeping Up Appearances

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Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced ‘bouquet’) is a character with few, if any, saving graces. Her pompous, self-serving attitude makes life miserable for all around her. She goes to incredible lengths in her quest for perfection. Hers is a spick-and-span house. Her downtrodden husband, Richard, acts as chauffeur in their immaculately kept car. Their son has a superior name, Sheridan. Even the empty milk bottles sparkle on the doorstep after their obligatory rinse in the dishwasher. In marked contrast to Hyacinth’s meticulously ordered life, however, the rest of her family are as common as muck and can always be guaranteed to show her up. Can she ever live down the disgrace?

Episode Descriptions

Season 1

Episode 1

Daddy has sustained an injury while chasing the milkwoman on his bicycle. He was found, naked, and is now heavily sedated in hospital. Major Wilton-Smythe offers Hyacinth flowers for her candlelit supper table, but when she arrives at his conservatory to collect them, she also receives unwelcome amatory advances.

Episode 2

Hyacinth has asked the new vicar to tea and, in her usual meticulous fashion, she has organized the event down to the last sugar lump. Meanwhile at Daisy’s house, Rose is threatening suicide, brokenhearted over Mr Hepplewhite, who has gone back to his wife.

Episode 3

Hyacinth looks forward to soaking up a little culture at her favorite stately home.

Episode 4

Hyacinth is at her wit’s end, what with the charity shop, Councilor Nugent, Rose’s love life and her Daddy! Can she cope?

Episode 5

Hyacinth’s social standing at a church function is jeopardized when Daisy tries to encourage Onslow to become more ardent.

Episode 6

Hyacinth enjoys a quiet family christening - for a few moments at least until pandemonium breaks loose.

Season 2

Episode 1 

Hyacinth is appalled when she sees a strange man next door at Elizabeth’s. He has obviously spent the night there – what will such behaviour do to the property values? As if that wasn’t enough, Daisy informs her that Daddy has gone missing again.

Episode 2 

Hyacinth receives a call from Mrs Fortescue (Jean Anderson), begging a lift into town.“Her sister is married to a baronet, so she is virtually aristocracy” – but, as usual, Hyacinth’s chances of going upmarket are hindered by her downmarket family.

Episode 3

Hyacinth is planning one of her celebral“candle-lit suppers”. Top of her guest list is Ernmet, Elizabeth’s brother. Since discovering that he is a professional musician and the director of the local amateur operatic society, Hyacinth has been treating him to snatches of song at every conceivable opportunity. Meanwhile, Hyacinth’s sister Daisy is feeling neglected, and sister Rose is at the centre of a jealous scene created by her tangled love life.

Episode 4

Hyacinth drags Richard off for a weekend at an exclusive golf club, in spite of the fact that he doesn’t like golf. An amorous Major causes problems for Hyacinth. And who are the noisily pair making love in Room 210?

Episode 5

Hyacinth has more reason than ever to disown her disreputable family when she discovers that her 53-year-old brother-in-law is up a tree and refusing to come down, and that Daisy and Onslow have managed to lose “Daddy”from his wheelchair outside a betting office…

Episode 6 

Hyacinth is invited to Onslow’s birthday lunch. Her first instinct is to refuse, until she hears that Rose’s wealthy Greek boyfriend has offered to collect her and Richard from their home in his limousine. So keen is she to impress her sister’s new man, she hurriedly organises a “cocktails and canapé hour”for selected friends before luncheon and buys a pair of engraved gold cufflinks for Onslow “to encourage him to wear a shirt”.

Episode 7

When Hyacinth discovers that Emmet is involved in a concert at the church hall, she seizes the opportunity to run through her Annie Oakley medley. Meanwhile, Richard is contemplating early retirement and dreading the prospect of spending more time with his wife. Rose – let down by her latest amour – has decided to give up men. Dressed all in black she has decided to become a nun – but soon changes her mind when she spots the dishy vicar…

Episode 8

Daddy has disappeared again. After searching everywhere, he is run to earth in a toy store. Having overspent, he has dressed up as a spaceman and gone on the rampage. Hyacinth is forced to intervene. Unless the damage is paid for, the owners threaten to apprehend him as a security risk.

Episode 9

Hyacinth has ordered a new three-piece suite which is an exact replica of one at Sandringham House. Determined that her neighbours (particularly Mrs Barker-Finch, opposite) should see the delivery van (with its royal warranty emblazoned on both sides), she enlists the help of her long-suffering husband to place parking cones in the road outside the house, along with a special notice warning of an imminent delivery.

Episode 10

Hyacinth has the perfect idea for an outing for Daddy – an al fresco picnic where “he can drip as many crumbs as he likes”. But the assembled family – Richard, Daisy, Onslow and Rose – didn’t expect Daddy to drive off, leaving them stranded.

Season 3

Episode 1

Richard has no hiding place from Hyacinth now that early retirement has been thrust upon him. He finds the though of all the extra time that the two of them will be able to spend together rather daunting.

Episode 2 

Hyacinth has forced Richard to participate in a trip to the countryside to look for Iron Age remains. But further cultural excursions are curtailed when Daisy and Onslow report that Rose is behaving in outrageous fashion.

Episode 3

Hyacinth borrows a holiday cottage in the country for the weekend and plans a small barbecue. Small, that is, only by comparison with the planning efforts used by Churchill in the last war.

Episode 4

According to Hyacinth, the one thing she cannot stand is snobbery, people trying to pretend they are superior. As she logically concludes,“That only makes it so much harder for those of us who really are.”

Epiosde 5

Hyacinth has determined that Richard needs a hobby and plunks down a video camera before him. She admonishes him to go off and “be artistic,” an instruction she will soon live to regret.

Episode 6

Hyacinth and Richard have been invited to a showing at an art gallery, and she hones up by reading books on art. Her polish stands to be stripped, however, when her father sneaks into the exhibit and begins mingling with the art lovers.

Episode 7

The opportunity of spending the weekend on a cruiser thrills Hyacinth. She can occupy herself with purchasing the correct yachting gear for Richard and herself and in preparing a “nautical light buffet”for her family and friends on board.

Season 4

Episode 1 

Hyacinth has decided that Richard will gain a high executive position with a local firm that has developed a vacancy in their ranks. Richard fancies neither the prospect of the job nor the plan Hyacinth has evolved for him meeting The Big Boss.

Episode 2 

Hyacinth has volunteered to escort a retired Commodore from the train station to the Ladies’ Luncheon. She believes she will have just what it takes to ingratiate herself with such an old sea dog.

Episode 3 

Hyacinth volunteers Richard’s services to help out the Church Hall where there is a problem with the lights. However, since his forte is strictly not in the direction of DIY, Richard’s contributions only add to the mayhem.

Episode 4 

Hyacinth is determined to buy a cottage in the country as a weekend retreat. Needless to say, her idea of what is suitable matches neither Richard’s wishes nor his wallet. Luckily an amorous farmer makes her realise that country life is not as idyllic as she thought.

Episode 5 

Much to Richard’s horror, Hyacinth decides to make another attempt at finding a weekend country home. When a sudden problem involving Daddy demands Richard’s attention, Hyacinth asks Elizabeth to help her find a suitable property.

Episode 6 

Hyacinth and Richard are spending their first day in their new country retreat. It may be a grand address, but the accommodation they have secured for themselves is not so much small as microscopic.

Episode 7

Hyacinth decides to host an indoor-outdoor barbecue and insists that Richard invites CP Benedict, a nodding acquaintance who has appeared on a television gardening show. Meanwhile, she stocks up on greenery and turns her house into a jungle

Season 5

Episode 1

To the vicar’s dismay, Hyacinth has volunteered to befriend a small group of senior citizens on a day at the seaside. When one of them gets too friendly, she realises she has taken on more than she can handle. Who will suffer most? The pensioners or Hyacinth, condemned to the indignity of white-knuckle fun-fair rides?

Episode 2

Hyacinth is concerned that her invitation to the Mayor’s fancy dress ball hasn’t yet dropped though her letter box. Richard is even more concerned that Hyacinth intends him to attend costumed as Louis XIV in silk trousers.

Episode 3

Hyacinth is in a sunny disposition, which mystifies Richard. The real horror of his situation dawns on him when he realizes that he has forgotten their anniversary and that Hyacinth is beaming in anticipation of a gift which he has not bought her.

Episode 4

While walking by an idyllic riverbank with Richard, Hyacinth conceives one of her most ambitious plans.“I shall hold a riverside picnic equally as graceful as one of my candlelight suppers.”

Episode 5

Hyacinth has decided instead of her usual gift to Richard of slippers that he should received skis instead. When Richard protests that he has not intention of taking up the sport, Hyacinth responds that he can cultivate the correct image by strapping them atop the car and drive about with them occasionally.

Episode 6

Hyacinth is excited about attending a country house auction and mingling with the aristocracy. Richard immediately loses sleep at the prospect of Hyacinth going well beyond their spending limits.

Episode 7

Hyacinth is determined to join the cast of Emmet’s production of The Boyfriend. She invites him and Elizabeth round for coffee, then bursts into ‘impromptu’ snatches of 1920s songs.

Episode 8

Although the musical for which she had auditioned is already fully cast, Hyacinth is convinced that Emmet is too shy to offer her a part. She decides to boost his courage by inviting him to Violet’s home for a “bon vivant buffet”.

Episode 9

Hyacinth is stung to lose first prize at the local craft fair for“free-style floral decoration of a table centrepiece”. To make matters worse, the winner is one Lydia Hawksworth, a lady who was objectionable at one of Hyacinth’s candlelit suppers.

Episode 10

Hyacinth decides to share her talent as the perfect hostess with those keen to know more about ‘gracious living’ and places an advertisement in the local newspaper. But when the telephone rings, her clients have different services in mind.