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Keep-titlecard 5432.jpg

 "The Bouquet residence, lady of the house speaking!"



 "My name is Bouquet, B-U-C-K-E-T."

"Oh! Bucket!"

"It's pronounced 'Bouquet'..."


Hyacinth Bucket (apparently pronounced 'Bouquet', as she's often heard correcting people), social climber extraordinaire. Snobby, shallow, and blissfully unaware of how much everyone hates her (rich or poor), Hyacinth is desperately worried that she isn't upper-class enough.

Considering her family--Rose, Onslow, Daisy, etc.--she definitely isn't.

Obsessed with improving her social status, Hyacinth routinely rides roughshod over everyone unlucky enough to know her, assuming they are an admiring chorus who will do whatever she wants. No matter how firmly they tell her "No," she only hears "Yes, my lady." She's also blind to the abundant evidence that her son is anything other than her idea of perfect. Her numerous schemes to improve her social status and show-off to all around her, however, are often scuttled by her own lack of intelligent thought and planning.

Her husband, Richard, is long-suffering verging on sainthood. Her neighbour and reluctant confidante, Elizabeth, is a nervous wreck largely because Hyacinth routinely summons her over for coffee — and then details how rare and valuable her china is just as Elizabeth's about to take a sip. Elizabeth's musician brother Emmet is not quite so cowed, but still hides from Hyacinth for fear that "she'll sing at me." Hyacinth tells Richard of Emmet's crush on Hyacinth. Emmet does not have a crush on Hyacinth, but instead delights in her absence and pain, and complains about her presence.

Hyacinth's other sisters, Daisy and Rose, are both much lower class, with a junked car permanently parked in their front garden. A dog lives in the car and barks only at Hyacinth, causing her to fall onto a hedge. Daisy is a down-to-earth type rather in awe of Hyacinth's pretensions; Rose is the local Bottle Fairy whose sex-life provides much of the incidental comedy — especially her crush on Hyacinth's (very married) parish vicar. Daisy's husband, Onslow, looks like a stereotypical lazy slob, and completely ignores all his wife's amorous efforts, but over the course of the series is revealed — in comic contrast with Hyacinth — as an armchair philosopher often seen reading graduate-level texts. He has a sort of survivor's bond with Richard, whom he occasionally tries to "rescue."

Hyacinth has another sister Violet who, in contrast to Daisy and Rose, is very wealthy. Hyacinth even boasts about her to guests when she is on the telephone with her ("It's my sister Violet! She's the one with the Mercedes, sauna, and room for a pony!") Despite this, Hyacinth tries to keep at bay the cross-dressing antics of Violet's turf accountant (i.e., bookmaker) husband Bruce. At first an unseen character for most of the show, Violet physically appears a number of times in the last series.

Came twelfth in Britains Best Sitcom.

Tropes used in Keeping Up Appearances include:

 Hyacinth: Beautiful day, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth: Yes, isn't it?

Hyacinth: Completely condusive to contemplating cozy, charismatic country cottages!

  • The Alleged Car: Onslow's beat-up '78 Ford Cortina (the one that runs. Barely.)
  • Ambiguously Gay: Hyacinth and Richard's son Sheridan.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Poor Richard deserves a sainthood for putting up with her for all those years.
    • Also, despite Hyacinth framing it in idyllic terms (because the guy's loaded), it's pretty clear that Violet's marriage is painfully unhappy.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Onslow.
  • Camp Straight: Emmet. Catty, terribly fey, organises the local musicals...very appreciative of Rose's 'friendly legs'.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Oh, nice!" (Onslow)
    • "Bog off, our Onslow!" (Rose)
    • "It's 'Bouquet', dear." (Hyacinth)
    • "The Bucket woman!" (The vicar and his wife)
    • (Answering the phone) "The Bouquet residence! The lady of the house speaking!" (Hyacinth)
  • Character Tics: Characters on the show have a tendency to repeat phrases over and over. In fact, all Roy Clarke's characters tend to repeat phrases over and over. They do. They repeat things. Over and over.
  • Clip Show: The Memoirs of Hyacinth Bucket (Rare for a British Show).
    • It's also unique as it was produced directly for the American market and broadcast on PBS complete with breaks so that PBS stations airing the program could take time out to ask for viewer support.
  • Coitus Ensues: Once, between Daisy and Onslow, in a wrong place.
  • Comedy Series
  • Compromising Memoirs: Rose plans to write hers in one episode. She begins by asking Daisy and Onslow how to spell 'memoirs'.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Onslow and Richard.
  • Determinator: Give Hyacinth credit, she never fails from lack of effort.
    • Give Richard credit too, for living with Hyacinth.
  • Dirty Old Man: Hyacinth's father.
  • The Ditz: Emmet and Elizabeth on occasion. In one episode, Emmet checks the temperature of an heating iron by touching it.
  • Drop in Character: Elizabeth, against her will.
  • Fat Bastard: Onslow a good deal of the time, though he often subverts this trope.
  • Femme Fatale: Rose
  • The Ghost: Hyacinth's other sister Violet, who is married to "turf accountant" Bruce, is constantly mentioned but never seen.
    • Except in the final season, when she became an occasional character.
      • Before that, she was a phone-only character who regularly phoned Hyacinth, mostly to complain about Bruce and his cross-dressing.
    • A better example would be Hyacinth and Richard's son Sheridan, who is mentioned in almost every episode, and who phones regularly to ask for money, yet is never actually seen.
    • Elizabeth's husband, who is working abroad.
  • Gold Digger: Hyacinth encourages this behavior in others, pointing out the advantages of Violet's husband Bruce's new Mercedes (and the large house with the swimming pool and room for a pony) when Violet muses splitting off from Bruce. She also tries to help Rose land a rich husband, although very few of her beaus are ever wealthy — it's just Hyacinth's social climbing-colored glasses getting in the way.
  • Grande Dame: What Hyacinth aspires to be.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Rose, as portrayed by fiftysomething Mary Millar and her age-defying legs.
  • Henpecked Husband: Poor Richard.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Hyacinth's son, Sheridan, although he does eventually put in a brief and wordless appearance dressed in full motorcycle kit including face-concealing helmet.
  • Hollywood Tone Deaf: Hyacinth.
  • Housewife: Hyacinth, Elizabeth, Daisy and Violet.
  • Informed Attractiveness: All right, MOST people, male and female, find her repulsive, but an unusual number of men over the course of the series get the palm sweats over matronly, middle-aged Hyacinth. It's usually Major Wilton Smythe, whose advances Hyacinth tolerates to some extent because he's very-well-connected-socially. Rule of Funny, really, and usually Lampshaded.
    • Same goes for Onslow. His wife Daisy is unaccountably fascinated with his body. Even Onslow is at a loss to comprehend it.
    • In England and in many parts of Europe, matronly types are quite popular amongst a number of the older men in those countries, proving that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
    • Any man evidently attracted to Hyacinth (like Major and Admiral) seems to be a cross between a Cloudcuckoolander, Dirty Old Man and Anything That Moves.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Hyacinth's social-climbing attempts and rationales can sometimes take on this edge. She once asked Richard to smile while doing the gardening so that if any people she was trying to impress happened to drop by they'd assume that they could afford a gardener but choose not to because Richard enjoyed it so much.
  • Irony: All of Hyacinth's upper-class "friends" much prefer her poorer relatives to her.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Patricia Routledge has been in many musicals, and can sing. Hyacinth is terrible at singing.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": It's not 'Bucket', it's 'Bouquet'.
  • Jerkass: Hyacinth.
    • She does veer into Jerk with a Heart of Gold terriotory, albeit very rarely. The 1991 Christmas Episode is a good example, in which she invites all her friends and family around for a party, regardless of their social status.
      • For all her oppressive treatment of Richard, she does at least mean well usually and treats him an affectionate demeanor despite her demands. Naturally, this usually only came to bite Richard in the back (for example, she turned down a high potential job opportunity because she didn't have the heart to leave him at home all alone, he is coherently sobbing). She also is shown to have a resented love for her slobbish relatives (particularly 'Daddy').
  • Just Eat Gilligan: For some reason, it's never an option to just refuse to do whatever Hyacinth says. When Hyacinth ignores a "No", the characters appear resigned to obey her.
    • It gets turned into a running gag when Emmet tries to coach Liz into refusing coffee. She's just. that. SCARY.
  • Large Ham: Most of the women, especially Hyacinth.
  • Lazy Bum: Onslow and Daisy.
  • Mood Whiplash: Hyacinth shops for a second car. A crime thriller ensues. Hyacinth tries to help her sister fix her marriage. A foot chase ensues. Her father is often disoriented, playful, and prone to fainting, and once takes the Bucket car for a drive in the country. An enormous car chase ensues. Hyacinth goads Richard into repairing some electrics and babysits dogs. The dogs run away when the church is turned into a virtual war zone and explodes.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Hyacinth could more-than-conceivably have married Richard for the slight class upgrade, but what he thought he was getting is a mystery.
  • Oh Crap: "It's that Bucket woman!"
  • The Other Darrin: Rose was played by Shirley Stelfox in the first series and then by Mary Millar in all later series.
  • Panty Shot: Rose has this in "How To Go On Holiday Without Really Trying (Travel Brochure)". Her black panties are seen from behind when she's climbing up a ladder and from the front when she falls, and is then caught.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Onslow and Daisy turn their TV on and off by giving it a whack on the top.
    • More impressively, Daisy once changed the channel this way.
  • Really Gets Around: Rose.

 Hyacinth: It's indecent. A skirt should go to the floor.

Onslow: Bet that skirt's gone to the floor a few times.

  • Reluctant Retiree: Richard Bucket, mostly because he'll then have to spend more time with his wife.
    • One of the jokes in the pilot is people congratulating Richard on his upcoming retirement... only to then immediately switch to condolences as they realize what this'll mean for him.
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: Hyacinth's phone conversations.
  • Running Gag: Hyacinth getting spooked by Onslow and Daisy's dog and falling into a hedge. Also people calling her house to order Chinese food, thinking they called the Chinese Takeaway (they have the same number as Hyacinth's, but one digit removed).
    • The case with the dog was lampshaded in one episode where she creeps past the car, expecting the dog, which instead startles her from a front window of the house.
  • Sexy Priest: The new Vicar. His wife knows this, and has to remind him (and put up a sign) to keep away from the ladies. Of course, she always finds Rose wrapped around him.
  • She's Got Legs: Emmett's description of Rose: "The one with the friendly legs."
  • Ship Tease: Richard and Elizabeth might have been much happier people if they'd married each other.
  • A Simple Plan: Hyacinth's attempts at raising her social status.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Another interpretation of Daisy's attraction to Onslow: despite the odd flourish here and there, she never shows any indication that she even finds other men attractive let alone possessing the desire to leave her pretty neglectful husband.
  • Stepford Smiler: Hyacinth.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A church blows up, and in another scene, the aftermath of a long-ago car repair session is treated as the aftermath of a recent silent explosion.
  • Theme Naming: Hyacinth and her sisters are all named for flowers. Is that why she insists on pronouncing it "Bouquet"?
  • The Three Certainties in Life: One gag compared being invited to one of Hyacinth Buck... err... Bouquet's candlelight suppers to the inevitability of death and taxes.
  • The Unpronounceable: Rose's Polish fiance.
    • Whom Rose, Daisy, and Onslow had to call him "Mr. Whatsit."
    • And Mrs. Thing.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Hyacinth. Big time. Although her relatives are by all accounts lazy slobs, they look like saints in comparison.
  • The Vicar: Michael the vicar, who is terrified of both Hyacinth and Rose.
    • "It's the Bucket woman!"
  • What Does She See in Him?: This is Hyacinth's attitude towards Daisy and Onslow. However, it's probably more applicable to her marriage to Richard, as an inversion.
    • In Richard's case, one gets the impression that they fell in love and married before she began her social climbing in earnest.
      • It's also suggested (and the actor has said in interviews) that Richard is quite lazy, and appreciates having decisions made for him.
  • Women Are Wiser: Inverted; Richard is a lot nicer, more practical and likable than Hyacinth.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Rose always has relationships with married or otherwise committed men, to the point where Onslow and Daisy are surprised when one of her boyfriends turns out to be single.