Keeping Up Appearances

Background Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge)— who insists her surname is pronounced Bouquet (although in reality, her husband Richard has said, “It was always ‘Bucket’ until I met you!”)[1] — is an over-bearing, social-climbing snob, originally from a poor working-class background, whose main mission in life is to impress others with her lifestyle and perceived affluence and refinement. She’s terrified that her background will be found out as in the English class system one can never really escape the class one was born into no matter how successful, even if made a Peer of the Realm! 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”).[2] She ostentatiously brags about her possessions to others, including her “white slimline telephone with automatic redial,” which she always answers with “The Bouquet residence, the lady of the house speaking.”[3] (Frequently she receives calls asking for a Chinese take-away, making her very angry.) She speaks in an exaggerated RP-like accent while her relatives speak in Northern accents. …

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