Comedy Connections (2003) s02e05 Episode Script

Keeping Up Appearances

1 PHONE RINGS The Bouque-e-et residence! The lady of the house speaking.
Everybody knows a Hyacinth.
The mother-in-law, the next door neighbour, the aunt up the road.
Everybody's got one.
I think that's what made it such a success.
In 1990, the BBC unleashed on a defenceless public a monster wearing a floral dress and an occasional matching hat.
I don't think Hyacinth had any self-awareness.
People like that don't.
They don't know what they're doing to the world.
With writer Roy Clarke and producer/director Harold Snoad, Patricia Routledge made the name Hyacinth Bucket a shorthand for the worst excesses of snobbery and social climbing.
In her assault on decorum, she was backed up by a few of acting's big guns and Keeping Up Appearances became a national pastime, running for 45 episodes over five years.
You know me, Richard.
I haven't a snobbish bone in my body.
The idea of rising up from your origins is built into all of us.
We all want to aspire.
What's so wonderful is that, with the other two sisters, you see exactly where she's come from.
No, Rose, not to one of your gentlemen friends on my white slimline telephone.
The public liked seeing her standing there, thinking everyone's beneath her.
They were just waiting for it to go wrong.
And it always did.
What is it, Richard? There's someone at the door.
Well, show them in.
It's your sister, Rose.
If you have to live with it, it must be murder.
Keeping Up Appearances was the third big hit from Roy Clarke, who had spent years telling tales of Yorkshire backwaters, before plunging into the shark-infested seas of suburban snobbery.
Clarke's varied experiences out in the real world would prove invaluable when it came to adding another trade to his CV.
I'd done everything.
Taxi driver.
I worked for Montague Burton's.
I worked as a teacher.
I was in the police force for a couple of years, which was very valuable training for a writer.
But in all of them, I was still a writer trying to get into writing.
From writing drama for BBC Radio Leeds, Roy broke into TV in 1970 with The Misfit starring Ronald Fraser.
Three years later, the BBC asked him to invent a comedy based on the adventures of three old men in Yorkshire.
It's now the longest running sitcom in British TV history.
Clarke stayed faithful to his Yorkshire roots with Open All Hours.
It began life as one of a series of one-off vehicles for Ronnie Barker, alongside the less memorable Spanner's XI, which saw Clarke working alongside producer Harold Snoad for the very first time.
I mean, look at this here, look at this.
38 quid that cabinet cost to have made, and look at it.
Third prize in the snooker contest.
Roy Clarke was something of an outsider, but Harold Snoad was very definitely a BBC insider.
Among his credits were The Dick Emery Show, Dad's Army, Don't Wait Up and Ever Decreasing Circles.
This is my private workshop.
I know.
What would you say if you opened your safe and found me inside it? Don't laugh.
It's a serious question.
Sorry, Martin.
I'd say, "Hello, Martin.
How are you?" You'd say, "What do you think you're doing in my safe?" Well, I would be curious.
It's only one foot square.
With so much experience, Harold Snoad was an obvious choice to bring Keeping Up Appearances to life.
I could actually see there could be a lot of fun from this snobbish lady, especially when her attempts at being better than anybody else were brought to the ground rather rapidly by the antics of her downmarket relatives on the other side of town.
Seeing the potential of a Hyacinth is one thing.
Realising it through casting is quite another.
This was vital to the success of the show and Harold Snoad knew that it would take an actor of star quality to make a character of such incredible snobbery and pretension both believable and likeable.
It's my sister, Violet - the one with her own Mercedes, swimming pool and room for a sauna.
I've told you about Violet.
BOTH: Ye-e-es! I wanted the character of Hyacinth, who is the first person you'd obviously think about, to be a sort of stately galleon.
I didn't want somebody lightweight, either in, well, to be honest, size, or vocal tones.
Borrow a floral bikini? Oh, dear, you know perfectly well I have no such garment in my wardrobe.
Look, look 'People assume I wrote Keeping Up Appearances for Patricia Routledge.
'But placing Patricia Routledge in Keeping Up Appearances' was entirely down to Harold Snoad who produced it and pulled off that perfect bit of casting.
Up, one-two.
Down-one, two.
It's an exercise, you know, for the hips.
Very good.
Oh! Long before becoming a weekly and appalling guest in 12 million homes, Patricia Routledge was already one of the country's most celebrated actors.
As part of the satire boom in the early 1960s, she appeared regularly in That Was The Week That Was.
# Take a handout, you naughty boys # You're not the type that one employs # If you had coal you'd only keep it in your bath They should stamp out you naughty boys.
But the theatre was Patricia Routledge's first love, and she enjoyed stage success on both sides of the Atlantic.
Patricia Routledge APPLAUSE AND CHEERING Hold it, babe.
In Darling Of The Day On Broadway in 1968, she was presented with a prestigious Tony Award by the great Groucho Marx.
And from you! Whoopee! LAUGHTER Patricia Routledge's appearances on television included guesting as a fake medium in Steptoe And Son, and Miss Ruddock in the very first of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads.
But before Keeping Up Appearances fell into her floral lap, she was best known as Kitty in Victoria Wood - As Seen on TV.
"Dear Kitty" It says Arabella.
"My boyfriend and I used to make love twice a night, "but now it has dropped off.
" I'm not surprised.
"Is he getting tired of me?" Well, I'm getting tired of you, and I've never even met you.
It took just one reading of the first Keeping Up Appearances script to convince Patricia Routledge that she and Hyacinth Bucket were made for each other.
That character leapt from the page, and I saidlater on to my agent, "If Roy Clarke wasn't writing this for me, "he ought to have been.
" A lot of the success of the series was down to the characterisation and the relationships between those characters.
And Roy Clarke is brilliant at creating characters.
I must say that the character of Hyacinth Bucket is an absolute world-beater.
It's up there with the extraordinary characters that somebody like Moliere creates, because the obsession is driven to the absolute, ultimate degree.
I wanted your superiors to find out which cow my milk comes from.
I will not have my bottles coming from just any old animal.
We passed a very photogenic herd recently on the Earl of Crawford's estate.
Would you please ensure that my two pints daily come from them.
'Her pretensions were about everything.
' She had ideas above her station, and that's always funny.
The Bouque-e-et residence! The lady of the house speaking.
In the search for the right name for Hyacinth, I always knew I wanted to play on Bucket and Bouquet because that seemed to me such a symbol of what she was on about anyway, what she was.
My name is Bouquet.
No, it's not Bucket.
It's Bouquet.
I've seen it done and heard it done by persons called Bottom, who insisted that it was "Bo-tome".
It was very kind of you to invite us, Mrs Bucket.
It's Bouquet, Vicar.
Oh, I'm sorry.
It's of French origin.
I believe my husband's family, in the distant past, were Hugenicks or something.
Like every other cast member, her husband Richard was there as a foil for Hyacinth, a character expressly designed to show off her personality to the worst advantage.
I wish you wouldn't raise your arms like that, Richard, not when you're overheated.
It's warm work, Hyacinth.
If you have to perspire, I wish you'd go into the back garden, so you don't disturb people who respect us socially.
The character of Richard was almost non-existent.
Richard said, "You're wanted on the phone, dear," and, "Yes, dear," and "No, dear.
" And that was about it.
Do you know who passed by today? My goodness, is that a dead leaf? If I put together Roy Clarke's track record and Miss Routledge's track record and Harold Snoad's track record, I thought, "I can't say no to this because it could be a job for life.
" Frivolity? 30 years married, I can't remember a single frivle.
Like his leading lady, Clive Swift had a theatrical background, and was also prominent in the TV satire of the '60s, appearing in Dig This Rhubarb.
# When I was single, my pockets did jingle # I wish I was single again # Again and again and again # Again and again and again # When I was single, my pockets did jingle I wish I was single again.
After appearing in an episode of Roy Clarke's The Misfit, Clive Swift was regularly seen in costume dramas throughout the '70s and '80s, and first worked with Harold Snoad on The Further Adventures Of Lucky Jim in 1982.
But one of his most acclaimed and telling performances was as Bishop Proudie in The Barchester Chronicles.
So this is our palace.
This is our palace.
The place is falling to pieces.
Is it? Of course it is.
And no doubt, the interior is even worse.
I shall speak to Mr Slope.
Clive Swift believes it was his bumbling bishop that brought him to Harold Snoad's mind when casting the hen-pecked Richard Bucket, sorry - Bouquet.
The pairing of Swift and Routledge was a marriage made in heaven and hell.
Be firm, Richard.
Don't be pushed around.
Clive Swift brought to life the truth that everybody who was watching the series suspected - what an awful thing she must be to live with.
To make that part believable, that a husband would stay with that woman, not be totally browbeaten, manage to keep his own character and make that believable - I thought that was really good acting.
He made him into a slightly lazy person that she did everything for him and that was fine.
She kept a good table.
His shirts were ironed.
He was always well turned out.
That's what a lot of men like.
They get used to it, so they put up with anything.
As we all know, the secret of marriage is give and take, kindness, understanding, tolerance.
At one point, I thought this marriage was so awkward that perhaps they had single beds.
I don't like this level of intimacy, dear.
I don't think it's natural at our age.
Would you please remove yourself from my person.
Other than that, there is never any, in inverted commas, sexual contact between them at all.
Yet there must have been a brief moment when intimacy was on the agenda for Mr and Mrs Bucket.
How else to explain their invisible son, Sheridan? Sheridan! How sensitive of you to call, dear.
What a close psychic link we have, you and I.
What does he want? I don't know that he wants anything.
He's just ringing his mother.
You need how much, Sheridan? It's a super idea that you never, never see him, and of course you never should.
Sheridan, you're not moving in with some designing female.
Oh, it's not a girls' flat.
It's a boys' flat.
And you're making your own curtains? How inventive, dear.
Then of course that he should turn out gay is perhaps not surprising.
And again, designed of course to show Hyacinth being Hyacinth, that behind all the bluster and the snobbery is a total innocence.
Oh, you and Tarquin aren't interested in girls.
What a comfort that is to a mother's heart, dear.
I thought Patricia played it wonderfully, in that she was so totally unaware of A different actress might have played it more knowingly.
Who knows? Hyacinth, do you ever wonder why Sheridan shows no interest in girls? D'you think I should take a few of my favourite ornaments? The character of Sheridan exemplifies a pet theory of mine, that you can get away with murder if you don't actually show it.
But the cast found that Roy was even more elusive than Sheridan.
The show's creator didn't like to attend rehearsals or recordings and in five series visited the set just once.
Harold said you're all allowed to ask him one question.
And I said, "Am I married?" And he said, "Oh, I don't know.
" "Oh, well, am I a single mother?" "Oh, I don't know.
Yes, you can have a husband if you like.
" I said, "Well, is he away or or is he there?" "Well, he could be working in the oilfields, it doesn't matter.
It's all right, I don't mind.
" I said, "Oh, right.
" I went away thinking, I'm still none the wiser.
They're a very close couple.
Of course they are close.
She has him on a lead.
Well, at least their marriage survives.
My husband works abroad, you're divorced - who are we to criticise? Roy Clarke's remoteness from the day to day production of Keeping Up Appearances eventually led to serious creative differences between himself and Harold Snoad.
I'm a writer and I'm nothing but a writer.
When I submit a script, I've got no interest in producing it or directing it.
I leave it to people.
It's a great pity that Roy Clarke and I didn't see eye to eye in making Keeping Up Appearances.
I watched on occasions and found scenes I hadn't written.
That's of course death to a writer - you can't have it.
That was the problem.
Roy Clarke would never actually accept the fact that anything was wrong with his scripts.
so when I found bits that didn't work, I had no alternative but to rewrite large chunks myself, with the blessing of the BBC.
They were very happy.
They just left it to me to get on with it.
You will have to get out and push.
What? You will have to get out and push.
Me? Well, there is no one else about! But I've never pushed anything in my life.
There's a first time for everything! The BBC brought in a script editor to act as peacemaker.
It's a mark of Keeping Up Appearances' success that the Corporation worked so hard to overcome the writer and producer being at loggerheads.
You'll pay for this, Richard Bucket! Bouquet! More than creative differences, there were differences in temperament between myself and Howard.
I have warm feelings about Keeping Up Appearances despite any of the troubles that we had, which are par for the course in many a production anyway.
And, um at times, we weren't the best of mates over that, but the final analysis is that in the end, it did work extremely well.
Is there anything? Just give me time to recover my composure, then come and take tea with me at 3.
Josephine Tewson, Hyacinth's next door neighbour Elizabeth, was one of Harold Snoad's comedy favourites.
She first worked with him on The Dick Emery Show.
Oh, he played me a dirty trick, he did.
Sir Thomas? What ever did he do, dear?.
He deliberately gave me the wrong that date for a concert at the Albert Hall.
I turned up there at eight o'clock, and by five past, I was in the ring, fighting for my life with Rocky Marciano.
He cast her as the housekeeper alongside Ronnie Barker and David Jason in His Lordship Entertains.
Then she moved upstairs playing Lady Cynthia in Elementary, My Dear Watson with John Cleese and Willie Rushton.
Did I ever tell you the story of my first marriage? I was a young girl of 17.
Well, 21.
After Harold cast Josephine again in No Appointment Necessary, he felt there'd be great comedy chemistry if he moved her in next door to Hyacinth.
PHONE RINGS Patricia Routledge has an excellent sense of farce which, when I put that together with Jo Tewson, who also is very farcially-inclined, the two of them were absolute magic.
When Hyacinth is not watching, I can handle Royal Doulton as well as the next person.
It is perfectly simple - you just take hold of it firmly but gently, you raise it carefully 'Roy Clarke had written Hyacinth off stage' calling Elizabeth and me rattling the cup and putting it down.
I thought that is a bit tame after some of the things we've done.
So I said to Pat, "How good are you at catching things, Pat?" She said, "Oh, yes, yes!" So, why can't I do it when Hyacinth is here? Elizabeth.
While Roy Clarke created Elizabeth just to be intimidated by Hyacinth, her sisters Rose and Daisy and brother-in-law Onslow were designed to embarrass Hyacinth by reminding her of exactly where she came from.
We were the slobs and Hyacinth, the snob.
I'll be with you in a minute! Daisy, again another wonderful creation by Judy Cornwell, of a child bride with her hopes of romance.
You are so attractive to women.
I am work shy, bone idle and out of condition! What makes you think I'm attractive to women? I married you, didn't I? I found this wonderful grey cardigan which was awful.
It was out of shape, it was something you could sleep in or wrap round a dog.
I said, "That's the one.
That's the one I love.
" That's her cardigan - her favourite one.
You won't find this in your romantic novels, but if you wear see-through nightie, don't wear a vest! I think one of my favourite characters in the show was Onslow.
Geoffrey Hughes was marvellous as that Onslow.
His relationship with his wife became very, very popular.
He was designed to embarrass Hyacinth and couldn't have been more effective at it.
Morning, Onslow.
Don't say good morning to him when I've just been savaged by his dog.
Less noise, you daft bitch.
And that goes for you as well, dog.
ONSLOW LAUGHS In series two, Roy Clarke introduced David Griffin as the faint-hearted Emmet, Elizabeth's brother.
She's been singing at me, Liz.
He was someone for Hyacinth both to look up to and fondly imagine herself the social equal of.
We are invited to a candlelight supper tonight.
Well, that was inevitable.
He loved his music and he loved his job as a music teacher.
He was also running the local amateur operatics society.
If there was one thing that Hyacinth was aiming at, it was being the leading light of the amateur operatics society.
SHE HUMS SHE SINGS OPERA He gave a wonderful extra lift to the series, so that she had somebody she had to woo to get what she wanted.
She couldn't browbeat him into it.
I was caught hiding behind a screen or behind the bushes.
She'd never actually say I was trying to avoid her.
It was because I was so shy.
Was that Emmet? He must have forgotten something in the house.
No, dear.
I am afraid it's me.
I rather think I send his senses reeling.
Dear Emmet.
With Keeping Up Appearances steamrollering on its merry way, Roy Clarke and Harold Snoad combined on another BBC sitcom starring Tony Britton, Susan Hampshire and Caroline Quentin.
But Don't Tell Father just didn't have that special something.
Where's Garth? Behind the sofa.
What's he doing? Meditating.
Trying to remember his song.
That never totally took off.
But it was fun to do.
It's still not clear why some things happen and others don't.
If it doesn't hit that spot, you've not got a winner.
Oh, no doily! Keeping Up Appearances clearly was a winner and if the BBC had its way, it might still be running today.
But in 1995, the show stopped dead in its tracks.
I know! Emmet, you can play and we'll all sing sea shanties.
Keeping Up Appearances came to an end because Patricia, to be perfectly frank, wanted to move on to do something else.
I decided to part company with Hyacinth because there were other adventures to have.
I'm an actor and I like to play other roles.
First on the list of adventures was a trip into Miss Marpleshire, as Patricia Routledge swapped Hyacinth for Hetty Wainthrop, the sixty-something crime buster.
And in between regular returns to the theatre, she appeared on TV in the second helping of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads.
She didn't want to simply end off her career by being known as Hyacinth Bucket.
She'd made it so much her own, obviously.
So, I take my hat off to her, in that respect.
I know that Harold was extremely disappointed because in a way, to cut a thing off, in its prime almost.
I told you, they're going away.
But the other thing of course, is to go out on top, at one's peak.
That was quite a send-off.
We must never move, dear, we'd be greatly missed.
I don't think the other cast members were thrilled silly that they weren't going to do any more because they all enjoyed it, they loved the parts and they obviously were glad to be part of a success.
But without the star, what could you do, really? We all knew it could go on and we knew the BBC wanted it to go on.
But we knew Pat didn't want to do any more.
So everybody was sort of waiting to see what happened.
I think for a while they were hanging on, hoping Patricia would change her mind and come back and do more.
They didn't want to tackle anything that might get in the way of that, and then by the time it dawned that she was serious and she wasn't coming back, it had become too late, I think.
Roy Clarke still had a few more drops of Summer Wine to squeeze out and the show enjoyed a guest appearance from Josephine Tewson.
He promised me marriage.
I never said marriage! I may have said "garage".
Excuse us a minute.
He's so strong when he's aroused! I call him my Hercules! Clive Swift starred in The Aristocrats before going back into the Church in 2002 as Reverend Brewer in the BBC's Born And Bred.
You have the look of the devil.
The Lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.
Before appearing regularly in Heartbeat, the nation's favourite slob, Geoffrey Hughes, changed his vest but not much else to play Twiggy in The Royle Family.
Wash'n'Go - the ad where that bird washes and pisses off.
It's the genuine stuff, only it's got Arabic writing on it.
50p a bottle.
ALL: Nah.
No, thanks.
Oh, please yourself.
Go on then, Twiggy, I'll have two quid's worth.
I tell you what - as you're my best-looking customer, I'll chuck in a box of panty pads.
All right.
Since finishing up in 1995, Keeping Up Appearances has found a new audience abroad, becoming an unexpected worldwide hit as it flies the flowery flag.
Are you playing the right note? HE PLAYS THE SAME NOTE TWICE SHE REPEATS THE SAME NOTES I suppose Irving knew what he was doing.
It's huge in America at the moment 'cause I think Americans think that Hyacinth is the typical British middle-class lady.
Then you have Israel loving it, India loving it, China loving it.
I believe it sold in over 45 countries.
I'm very big in Botswana, you know.
I love saying that.
To battle With someone's herd of Keep it going! Faster! # .
Was done Then if I shot the herder they'd holler bloody murder You said he'd been certificated.
No! No! No! Enough! That's it!