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Right now, WTTW is having a pledge drive and has special programming. But once that is over, my favorite British comedy, “Keeping Up Appearances”, will return.
It’s shown on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., but recently two episodes have been shown from 7 to 8 p.m.
For those not familiar with the show, it ran on the BBC from 1990 to 1995 and dealt with the adventures of one Hyacinth Bucket (brilliantly portrayed by Patricia Routledge). She insists that her last name be pronounced “Bouquet” as she tries to move up socially on the middle class salary earned by her long-suffering husband Richard (Clive Owen).
During practically every episode, Hyacinth gets a look of terror on her face. That must mean her sisters Daisy (Judy Cornwell) and Rose (Shirley Stelfox and later Mary Millar) and Daisy’s “bone-idle” husband Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes) are coming to visit and ruin Hyacinth’s rep with the upper crust she’s trying to impress.
And don’t forget Hyacinth and Richard’s neighbors, Elizabeth (Josephine Tewson) and her brother Emmet (David Griffin). The daily call from Hyacinth to Elizabeth for coffee sends terror through Elizabeth’s veins. Emmet tries to avoid Hyacinth on all costs because she sings at him, hoping he appreciates her voice (it could wake the dead) and cast her in one of his amateur operas that he directs.
British comedy has always kind of been hit and miss with me, but not “Keeping Up Appearances.” I like it because its humor and plots could fit in anywhere. There’s a good chance that we have known somebody like Hyacinth Bucket.
The following are what I consider the three best episodes of the show.
1. “Daisy’s Toyboy” – In this opening season episode, Onslow isn’t paying attention to Daisy. Daisy pretends to start dating a 17-year-old and brings him to the church social function that Hyacinth is also attending and trying to impress people. The last five minutes or so are pure comedy gold.
2. “Please Mind Your Head” – Hyacinth wanted a second home in the country during the fourth season and the only thing she and Richard could afford had to have set a record for smallest apartment ever.
3. “Angel Gabriel Blue” – Hyacinth wants a new kitchen and forbids Richard to have athlete’s foot even though that’s what the doctor diagnosed. She makes him have gout which she considers more upper class.