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Keeping Up Appearances

The British sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances, ran for five series and 44 episodes from 1990 to 1995. It was recently revealed that it was the BBC's most-bought show by other television stations around the world. It has been purchased a massive 992 times for broadcast in other countries and has even overtaken hit motoring show Top Gear and Sir David Attenborough’s nature programmes in terms of global popularity.

Written by Roy Clarke, the show revolved around the snobbish, social-climbing Hyacinth Bucket (played by Patricia Routledge) who insisted her surname was pronounced "Bouquet". However, her efforts to pose as member of the upper-class were continually hampered by her working-class family - mainly her sisters Daisy and Rose and Daisy's husband Onslow. Hyacinth's long-suffering husband Richard endures the worst of her airs and graces.

Keeping up Appearances

Her efforts to impress the neighbours are severely hampered when her widowed father makes unannounced visits with Daisy and Onslow in their battered old Ford Cortina. Hyacinth doesn't recognise that she's a snob and frequently talks about her neighbours in a disdainful manner, saying, "I can't abide such snobbery like that!"

The gentle humour of the show arises from the culture clash between the upper-class reality Hyacinth is trying to create and the genuine reality of her background. As a result of the conflict, she finds herself in many farcical situations.

The fact that the show is such a massive hit worldwide - its most recent devotees being from Bulgaria, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia and Nigeria, where networks have bought the broadcasting rights - seems to show that people can relate to the situation and that maybe they have a Hyacinth Bucket in their own family.

One of Hyacinth's biggest obsessions was keeping her house clean. In fact, when anyone arrived, they were told to wipe their feet on the welcome mat - which wasn't very welcoming! Onslow always looked rather unkempt and even as he left the house, Hyacinth would say to him, "Wipe your feet before you come back in!"

How many people remember as kids, going to visit one particular elderly aunt and being told to "be on your best behaviour" and "wipe your feet before you go in". Once inside, it was even worse - never put fingerprints on polished surfaces, don't drop crumbs, don't spill your orange juice, don't tread mud into the house if you've been playing in the garden! Visits became almost painful.

Keeping Up Appearance's creator, Roy Clarke, said the character of Hyacinth Bucket was probably the easiest he had ever had to write because she was based on many real women that he had met. In an interview in the national press last year, he said he met many "Hyacinths" when he worked in a men's outfitters. They would come steaming in with a long-suffering, mild-mannered husband in tow, declaring, "He wants a suit!" when clearly the husband was being dragged there against his will!

Keeping up Appearances

Clarke said that when he was creating characters for his other sitcoms, such as Open All Hours and Last of the Summer Wine, he had to think long and hard about their traits before they came to life but Hyacinth was easy because she was based on a combination of many real people who were, "essentially British".

If you have a Hyacinth Bucket in your family or if you simply wish to keep your carpet clean, check out Coruba's top-quality door mat collection and find yourself a mat for all occasions. We sell everything from modern carpet mats to Victorian rubber door mats to suit all tastes. If you can't see exactly what you're looking for on our website, please contact us and we will be happy to help.



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