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For those of you in the Chicago area, I highly recommend that you are in front of your TVs tonight (Saturday, Aug. 1) or warm up your DVRs and enjoy what I consider the best episode ever of “Keeping Up Appearances” at 7:30 on WTTW-TV (Channel 11 over-the-air and on most cable systems).
If you are not familiar with the show, this episode is a great starting point of this classic British comedy that ran on the BBC from 1990 to 1995 with 44 total episodes.
It starred Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth Bucket. Hyacinth and her husband Richard (Clive Swift) appear to be a couple living a middle-class existence in an English town. However, Hyacinth wants an upper-class existence or at least “keep up the appearance” that she is in the upper class much to Richard’s dismay. She insists that her last name be pronounced “bouquet.”
Add in the Buckets’ neighbor Elizabeth (Josephine Tewson), who has a nervous breakdown every time she’s invited over to the Buckets for coffee, and Hyacinth’s sisters Daisy (Judy Cornwell), Rose (Shirley Stelfox and later Mary Millar) and Daisy’s husband Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes), who shall we say live on the other side of the tracks, and you have a comedy that was consistently hilarious throughout its run.
Tonight’s episode, “Daisy’s Toyboy”, was the fifth episode of the six-episode first season. Daisy is always frustrated by Onslow not paying attention to her romantically. Well, she finally takes action and gets herself a 17-year-old “toyboy” who drives a motorcyle. There’s nothing lewd here, just a lot of laughs. The situation spills over to the ladies’ church luncheon where Hyacinth is trying to make a big impression.
If you don’t live in the Chicago area, I know “Keeping Up Apperances” is shown on other PBS stations. Many episodes have also been posted on YouTube and the show is on DVD.