Keeping Up Appearances
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Keeping Up Appearances

The Bucket Residence. The lady of the house speaking.

This is the story of a woman who spends too much of her time and effort in an attempt to keep up the appearance of a proper English household despite the ordinariness of her husband, the slovenliness of her sister (Daisy) and brother-in-law, and the questionable moral standards of another sister (Rose). She is attempting to get the social standing of her other sister Violet, who has room for a pony.
It is on Thursday and Sunday nights in the Chicago area on PBS.
The Bucket Residence


Thanks, and enjoy!
Keith P. Hutchins


EPISODE ONE: Hyacinth's beloved "Daddy" is brought to hospital after an escapade involving the milk woman, a chase and a lack of sartorial adequacy on Daddy's part. Hyacinth goes to near manic lengths to ensure even the most routine events are just so, much to the chagrin of her long-suffering husband, Richard, and her good-natured neighbor, Elizabeth. Can you imagine Hyacinth's mythic powers of rationalization working overtime on this one?

EPISODE TWO: Hyacinth has invited the new vicar to tea and, in her usual meticulous way, has organized everything down to the last sugar lump. Proving the best laid plans of mice, men and mesdames oft gang agly, Rose chooses this time to decide on suicide in "mummy's wedding dress."

EPISODE THREE: Hyacinth looks forward to soaking up a little culture at her favorite stately home, hovering near "the family area," but balks at being seen at such august premises "in the company of someone who drinks beer in his undershirt."

EPISODE FOUR: Hyacinth is at her wit's end trying to deal with the charity shop's Councilor Nugent, Rose's roller-coasting love-life and Daddy's amours! Can she cope? Don't doubt her for a moment.

EPISODE FIVE: Hyacinth's social standing at a church function is jeopardized when Daisy tries to encourage Onslow to become more ardent.

EPISODE SIX: Hyacinth enjoys a family christening as well as the next person, but we know we can expect complications when it's Daisy's family.

EPISODE ONE: Hyacinth spies a strange man who has obviously spent the night next door at Liz's house. What will such moral turpitude do to property values on the avenue? To make things worse, Daddy has disappeared again.

EPISODE TWO: Hyacinth is thrilled when the aristocratic Mrs. Fortescue asks for a lift into town. Unfortunately the ride does not go as planned.

EPISODE THREE: Hyacinth wants to be recognized as vocally talented by Emmet, Liz's brother, a professional musician and director of the local amateur operatic society. When she plans to use a candlelight supper as her arena of opportunity, the situation sours, as do most of Hyacinth's notes.

EPISODE FOUR: Hyacinth awaits with joyful anticipation the arrival of a new three-piece suite, an exact replica of one in Sandringham House. However, what good is such a momentous delivery without neighbors to notice the royal warrant on the delivery truck. The Royal Ballet does not often deal with such intricate staging!

EPISODE FIVE: Hyacinth drags Richard to a weekend at an exclusive golfing resort. Richard does not like to golf, but Hyacinth cannot wait to mingle with the elite at the club. Adding to fun are the amorous advances (repelled, of course) of the Major and the anonymous antics of the occupants of Room 210!

EPISODE SIX: A series of problems engendered by her relatives threaten to put a chink in Hyacinth's hard-won facade.

EPISODE SEVEN: Despite the failure of her earlier attempts to impress Emmet, Hyacinth recognizes a new opportunity and seizes it immediately. Unfortunately, she still cannot sing.

EPISODE EIGHT: Daddy has disappeared again, only to be found in a toy store and having already altered a large amount of stock. The family turns to Hyacinth to help foot the bill.

EPISODE NINE: When Hyacinth takes Daddy out for a picnic in the country, he disappears with both the car and the lunch. She can only hope he will drive at speeds commensurate with the needs of her crystal glassware.

EPISODE TEN: Onlsow's birthday is no cause for Hyacinth to celebrate, but Rose's impressive new gentleman friend may be.

EPISODE ONE: Hyacinth's husband, Richard, has no hiding place from her now that early retirement has been thrust upon him. While she is delighted at the prospect of all that free time together, the stoical Richard is daunted at the thought. Hyacinth, as oblivious as ever of Richard's feelings, is full of plans for Richard's future, plans that are sure to go awry. Neighbors Elizabeth and Emmet try to maintain a low profile where Hyacinth is concerned, while in Hyacinth's viewpoint, her sisters, Rose and Daisy, as well as Daisy's layabout husband, Onlsow, never seem to engage in suitable pursuits.

EPISODE TWO: Now that Richard has officially started his early retirement, Hyacinth ecstatically proceeds with her plans for their time together. First on her agenda is an ill-fated foray into the countryside to search for Iron Age remains, but further cultural expeditions are curtailed when sister Daisy and her husband Onslow inform Hyacinth that her sister Rose is behaving in an outrageous manner. As the eldest sister, unflappable Hyacinth must rise to occasion to sort things out, preferably before the "dishy" vicar arrives!

EPISODE THREE: When the opportunity arises for Hyacinth to borrow her well-to-do sister Violet's holiday cottage for the weekend, she packs a carload of fine crystal and beloved bibelots, gives a royal wave of farewell to her relieved (of Hyacinth) neighbors, and sets to planning a barbecue with the intricacy worthy of a Normandy beach landing. A gunshot, a missing dog and a chance for social climbing combine to offer the redoubtable Mrs. Bucket (translation, bouquet) some surprising moments and the chance for a contemporary congaline!

EPISODE FOUR: "If there's one thing I can't stand it's snobbery and one-up-manship. People who try to pretend they're superior," philosophizes Hyacinth, "make it so much harder for those of us who really are." If Delia Wheelright can spend a month in the Caribbean, then Hyacinth is determined to best her - even if it is only in the unwrinklable quality of her holiday brochures and with a trip to the travel agent! Beleaguered Richard finds a real diversion, however, when sympathetic brother-in-law Onslow, pitying the monotony of Richard's life, leads him off the straight and narrow.

EPISODE FIVE: Hyacinth decides (in her usual imperious manner) that husband Richard needs a suitably patrician hobby. Ignoring his dreams of sailing around the world, hurricane Hyacinth deposits a video camera into Richard's hands and tells him to "be artistic," an instruction she will live to regret.

EPISODE SIX: Hyacinth and Richard have been invited to an art exhibition just as Daddy runs off leaving word that he has gone to join the French Foreign Legion. A concerned Hyacinth dragoons the ever-faithful Richard into a search for the straying parent, finds Daddy, puts him into the car and asks Richard to drop her off at eh art show before taking Daddy home. The unpredictable Daddy sneaks off, presumably into the art gallery. An embarrassed Hyacinth asks Richard to pretend that it is his Daddy lest some of the other true art lovers regard Hyacinth's standing somewhat diminished by any possible idiosyncratic behavior on the part of Daddy. Uneasy rests the head that bears the self-styled crown!

EPISODE SEVEN: Thrilled by the opportunity of spending the weekend on a borrowed "yacht," Hyacinth sets about the complicated preparations with her usual inspired zeal: a telephone call for....[UNFORTUNATELY, THE ORIGINAL PAPER IS CUT OFF HERE]

EPISODE ONE: Hyacinth has her heart set on Richard's gaining a position with a local firm which has a vacancy - very executive vacancy, of course. Richard, who does not fancy the job in the first place, is dubious (to say the least) about his wife's plan for him to meet the firm's chief officer in a meticulously staged "casual encounter." The plucky flower of English womanhood proves she is no delicate blossom even though her stratagems go amuck - literally, in Richard's case.

EPISODE TWO: Hyacinth volunteers (much to the chairwoman's honor) to meet the Ladies Luncheon guest speaker at the rail station. Since this august personage is a retired commodore, Hyacinth invests him with the achievements of a modern-day Nelson and cannot understand why British Rail has failed to provide a sufficient fanfare for his arrival. Unfortunately, a miscalculation on her part of the commodore's travel plans leads the Buckets and the vicar, who has been pressed into chauffeuring, on a merry chase.

EPISODE THREE: Hyacinth volunteers Richard's services when there is a problem with the church hall's "electrics." Richard is the first to admit that electrical engineering is not his strong point, but Hyacinth is convinced that he is the man for the job. Simultaneously, a bring-and-buy sale is being set up in the hall, and between Richard's tinkering and Hyacinth's mania for organization, the vicar needs a place to hide - and a great deal of divine guidance.

EPISODE FOUR: Hyacinth is suddenly imbued with the idea that it would be lovely for the Buckets (pronounced bouquet) to acquire a country retreat for pastoral, but elegant, week- ends. Of course, it needn't be anything expensive, but Hyacinth's idea of simple flies in the face of reality. She also discovers, rather sheepishly, that country life is not quite so idyllic as she had imagined. However, for once, it is Richard, who puts his foot into it this time!

EPISODE FIVE: Much to Richard's horror, Hyacinth insists on a second attempt in the quest for the perfect weekend home in the country. Unfortunately, because of a sudden problem involving Daddy which Hyacinth wants Richard to settle, Richard cannot accompany her on the property search, and Elizabeth is called into service. Hyacinth's final choice is intriguing, yet alarming to Richard, who must finance this outwardly opulent domicile.

EPISODE SIX: Ensconced in their "old world bijou" retreat which is grand in address but minuscule in size, Hyacinth and Richard invite Elizabeth, Emmett, and just a few more guests for a "country tea." This and Hyacinth's plan to fit in with the local equestrian set go wrongom depth to everyone's discomfort, but with special pain for Hyacinth and Emmet.

EPISODE SEVEN: Hyacinth, desperate to keep up with the Barker-Finches (she wouldn't know anybody so simple as the Joneses) must find a local celebrity for her barbecue to rival the one who graced the Barker-Finches' recent gathering. Her plans to customize her bar- becue and to secure a prize guest are ambitious, complicated and taxing on Richard.


(Obviously, like all the episodes Onslow, Daisy and Rose are involved in some way - more in some storylines than others - but it is much easier to identify an episode by saying what happens as far as Hyacinth is concerned)
EPISODE ONE: Hyacinth volunteers her services to assist with an outing to the coast which the Vicar is organizing for the old folk. However, she has under-estimated the problems - which include a lady who suffers from travel sickness and a romantically inclined Italian pensioner who sets his cap at Hyacinth and chases her all round the fun fair.

EPISODE TWO: Hyacinth is very put out when she and Richard don't receive their invitation to the Mayor's annual fancy dress ball nd insists that Richard - who now, of course, no longer works for the Council - does something about this obvious 'oversight'. He manages to arrange invitations by Hyacinth's nose is put very much out of joint when they turn up on the night and she discovers that her costume is not as unique as she had expected.

EPISODE THREE: Richard forgets their wedding anniversary but manages to get away with it by telling Hyacinth that he as planning to have a security system fitted as a special surprise. She is thrilled until a few days later Richard accidentally sets off the alarm himself because he couldn't remember the code Hyacinth had given the installers - which was the date of their wedding anniversary!

EPISODE FOUR: Hyacinth plans a riverside picnic but things go badly wrong.

EPISODE FIVE: Hyacinth buys Richard a pair of ski's for his birthday - purely because they will look good on the roof of their car! Violet has problems at home and Hyacinth goes to assist.

EPISODE SIX: Hyacinth attends a country house sale - unfortunately for Elizabeth and Emmet who are also attending. She bids for some vintage wine and, in sharing same with the Lord of the Manor, she rather overdoes her intake.

EPISODE SEVEN: Hyacinth hears about Emmet's plans to do a production of 'The Boy Friend' and is most anxious to get herself a part. However, her plans have to be put on hold when she learns that Daddy is 'on guard' at Onslow and Daisy's and won't let them into the house.

EPISODE EIGHT: Still attempting to fulfill her desire to appear in 'The Boy Friend' she makes her way to the Church hall where Emmet is rehearsing in order to offer her services but he manages to escape. She then has everyone over to a 'luxury barbecue' at Violet's but has problems because the incessant rowing between Violet and Bruce is difficult to ignore and is in grave danger of being picked up by the guests. A sing song almost succeeds in solving this problem until the barbecue gets out of control.

EPISODE NINE: Having seen an acquaintance driving a new Mercedes Hyacinth 'borrows' a Rolls Royce to be seen going one better. She even makes Richard drive her to a smart hotel but, unfortunately Onslow, Daisy and Rose also turn up and let the side down and then, as they begin driving away, the police arrive and arrest them because the car showrooms have reported the Rolls as stolen.

EPISODE TEN: Hyacinth advertises her services in the local paper as an 'experienced hostess' but the response she received wasn't quite what she had in mind!


Hyacinth has decided, in typically imperious fashion, that since it is Christmas, Richard, dressed as Father Christmas, should assist in distributing gifts to the old folk at the church hall. Felling foolish, Richard goes to show his costume to Elizabeth and Emmet, and proceeds with Emmet to get extremely drunk. Meanwhile, Rose has a new boyfriend named Mr. Sudbury, and Daisy and Onslow watch in amazement as Mr. Sudbury and Rose dance down the road a la Astaire and Rodgers. Elizabeth has by this time discovered Richard and Emmet are drunk, and she decides to dress up as Father Christmas herself and to drive Hyacinth to church hall. Daddy, who has also gotten very drunk, has lost his clothes and is causing other problems. Hyacinth, who has invited Richard's head of department to the house for mulled wine and mince pie, then spots them on their way to her house so she takes them along to the church hall. Upon arriving at the church hall, Hyacinth is informed by the Vicar of Daddy's misconduct. Richard and Emmmet arrive on eh [sic] bus, mistaken identity ensues as the Father Christmas costume changes hands, but in the spirit of the holidays, Hyacinth and ensemble finish up with happy expectations.


On this Christmas Special, Hyacinth buys tickets for a holiday cruise on the QEII, looking forward to making the acquaintance of the better class of person that one encounters at such places. Little does she know that Onslow has won tickets for the very same trip. The sixty-minute episode is truly one of the jewels in the Bucket crown.


Hyacinth is planning to have her kitchen worktops replaced and is, of course, anxious that they should not only be of a very high standard but also, ideally, something that other people can no longer order. Richard goes down with athlete's foot but Hyacinth changes it into gout - a very classy illness. On the other side of town Onslow and Daisy report that there is a strange man in Daddy's bed - which, understandably, she rushes over to try and sort out.


Hyacinth takes it upon herself to organize a pageant in the Church Hall - seeing herself, of course, as a royal historical figure. When the flood of volunteers she was expecting for the pageant fail to turn up she has to rope Violet, Bruce and - in desperation - Onslow, Daisy and Rose. Unfortunately Elizabeth is not very good when it comes to stage management and some scenery falls on Hyacinth whilst she is posing on her throne.

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