Characters / Keeping Up Appearances

Hyacinth Bucket ("Bouquet") (Patricia Routledge)

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The main protagonist, if you want to call her that. Hyacinth Bucket (or "Bouquet" as she prefers) is a pompous middle-class woman living in The Midlands with her husband Richard. Determined to be a Grande Dame, Hyacinth's snobbish ways make her come off as a Jerk Ass. Her numerous attempts to climb the ladder of classes often fail due to her own incompetence, the unexpected appearance of her lower class family members, or other reasons.
  • Berserk Button: It's pronounced "Bouquet"! That doesn't stop even her from forgetting on occasion, as seen in one of the Christmas Episodes.
  • British Stuffiness: When she gets mad, she almost always tries to conceal it, though she usually fails.
  • Catch Phrase: When on the phone, she says "The Bouquet residence, the lady of the house speaking."
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Let's just say she lives in her own world apart from the rest of the cast.
  • Daddy's Girl: One of her redeeming aspects is her open care for her father, despite being an insane Dirty Old Man that completely contrasts with her attempts at grandeur.
  • Doting Parent: Implied to have been for Sheridan. She still is.
  • Grande Dame: Her goal.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Emmet is constantly terrified of Hyacinth: "She'll sing at me! She always sings at me!"
  • House Wife: Say what you will about her, she does keep a clean house.
  • Hypocritical Humor: This trope was meant for her. She frequently denies bragging about herself or her supposed social status after doing just that and states several times that she hates snobbery.
  • Incoming Ham: Head for the hills! It's the Bucket woman!
  • Informed Attractiveness: The Major, an admiral, and the Spanish Mr. Ferrini find Hyacinth irresistible, as does she herself. "It's as if he's never seen an attractive woman!"
  • Innocently Insensitive: To a delusional degree.
  • Insistent Terminology: Towards her last name.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: "It's 'Bouquet'".
  • It's All About Me: Often to extremely exasperating degrees.
  • Jerk Ass: Her social-climbing causes her to become this all too often.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For all her social climbing, a lot of her pompous antics have some sort of well intention. She is more inconsiderate and affectionately suffocating to Richard than intentionally abusive or callous and often attempts (badly) to improve his lifestyle in some manner. She also very earnestly loves her daddy and is infuriated by her relatives' occasionally neglectful treatment of him, and is implied to love her son devotedly (albeit to the extent of spoiling him).
  • Large Ham: Her emotions can be very put-on at times, or very badly concealed. She once shrieked that there was no doily under a container of cookies and scrambled to the cupboard to remedy this.
  • Mama Bear: She doesn't approve of anything that would get her Sheridon into trouble.
  • Narcissist: She either sees herself as the center of the universe or very much wants to get there.
  • Never My Fault: Oh boy! The Cruise Special is a good example when she blames Richard for getting too late on the cruise. He was simply driving the car while she was giving instructions where to go.
  • Nosy Neighbor: Just ask Emmet! She's constantly trying to get into his business, partly because he employs singing talent.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In a series 2 episode, Hyacinth gets in the car with Emmet and doesn't sing at him once. Elizabeth notes that for that to happen, she must be in some kind of panic.
  • Only Sane Man: Considers herself this among her family. Everyone sees her as the nutcase. Episodes tend to flip flop which side is closer to the truth.
  • Rich Bitch: Hyacinth is a strange subversion; she acts like she's got high social standing, and wants to appear wealthy and cultured, criticizing other people's tendency to be "economical", but she and Richard are hardly millionaires.
  • Running Gag: Her frights from Onslow's dog, causing her to fall into a nearby hedge.
    • Her phone calls cause her to say her catch phrase.
    • She is often called by customers for the local Chinese takeaway, since their numbers are only one digit removed.
      • Much to her annoyance. In fact, in one episode, she had Richard call the Chinese ambassador to get the company to change their number, to no avail.
  • Selective Obliviousness
  • A Simple Plan: Hyacinth's plots to raise her social status.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Hyacinth. In the final episode, she presumes to tell God how to pronounce her name, yelling to Richard, "Tell God it's 'Bouquet'!"
    • She's this to a lesser degree in the Cruise Special. She gets paranoid if the crew somehow has left the captain stranded. Richard tells her it's unlikely they would have done that, she replies "they left me!" Notice that she said "me" and not "us".
  • Social Climber: She's a dissatisfied woman seeking to vault up the social ladder from her lowly middle class retiree status, who fails miserably and humiliatingly.
  • Stepford Smiler: Sort of...but not really. She constantly puts on a show of being idyllically happy in order to make people think they're high class, but she's never really shown to be particularly unhappy in any way. The large majority of times, she finally cracks by the end of the episode's catastrophes however.
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: She's actually once called the water treatment plant complaining that her water wasn't as bright and sparkling as she's accustomed to, and that she thinks her water has been used!
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: You feel sympathy for the people around her, but not much for her!
  • Villain Protagonist: At her worst, she ends up working against other people, but the plots still tend to focus on her.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: See Jerk with a Heart of Gold.

Richard Bucket (Clife Swift)

Hyacinth's long-suffering Henpecked Husband. Working as a local government official, Richard is forced into early retirement and becomes a Reluctant Retiree. He is Hyacinth's Bumbling Sidekick, chauffering her around and is often pushed about by her, although they still love each other.

Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes)

Hyacinth's brother-in-law and the husband of her sister Daisy. Onslow is a Lazy Bum who spends most of his time watching TV and drinking beer, with little interest in his wife's brooding antics and Hyacinth's snobbish attitude. However, he is actually Brilliant, but Lazy, very philosophical and intelligent. He lives in a council house with Daisy, her sister Rose, their father Daddy and the family dog.
  • The Alleged Car: Onslow's beatup 1978 Ford Cortina that usually blasts out a burst of fumes whenever it starts up or stops. Hyacinth is usually against riding in the car unless it is necessary.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: He's sitting in front of the TV all day, but is very intelligent and eloquent when he wants to be.
  • Catch Phrase: "Oh, nice!"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes he fires off his lines with a smile or a laugh, but usually when he makes a joke, it's with this tone.
  • Fat Bastard: At times, usually towards Hyacinth or Daddy.
  • Genius Slob: He's described himself as "An idle buffoon who can spell!"
  • Hidden Depths: Watches a lot of Open University programming and often humorously ponders major questions from science and philosophy.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Daisy finds Onslow's body fascinating. He can't understand why.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lazy, obnoxious and slobbish, but he puts up with deranged family just as much. He is also thoroughly sympathetic towards Richard and occasionally attempts to provide some sort of escape from his oppressed life.
  • Lazy Bum: Spends much of his time sleeping or watching TV, in a vest and cap.
  • Limited Wardrobe: He's almost only seen in his signature outfit, a worn out vest and a cap, but he does wear some fancy suits in the Cruise Special.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Onslow turns on the TV by bashing the top of it.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: A more passive aggressive case, but him and Hyacinth constantly clash due to their very different lifestyles and occasional interfering nature (Hyacinth attempts to make Onslow more etiquette savvy, while Onslow attempts to break Richard free from Hyacinth's overbearing grasp).
  • What Does She See in Him?: Hyacinth's attitude towards Onslow and Daisy, often pointing out Onslow's lazy behaviour. However, she is willing to accept and/or ask Onslow for help depending on the situation.
    • In the 1993 Christmas Episode, Hyacinth is accidentally kissed by Onslow when she dresses in a Santa Claus outfit, Elizabeth having dressed in it beforehand. Hyacinth is so shocked, she drops her usual attitude and invites all her family and friends back to her house for dinner, realizing the meaning of Christmas is family and good will to all men.
    • Another incident occurs in the cruise special, where Hyacinth thinks Onslow and Daisy have stowed away. She learns that they actually won a prize to a first class holiday on the QE2, much to her irritation. However, wishing to make amends for her shame, Hyacinth dances with Onslow during the ship's ball. Onslow then makes a quip about "eating with the crew", not realising what dining at the captain's table meant, and Hyacinth laughs her head off.

Daisy (Judy Cornwell)

Hyacinth's sister and Onslow's wife. She is similarly lazy to her husband, but more concerned about her father than he is. She often reads romantic novels, longing for the distant Onslow to show her some passion in their lives, often prompting her to make romantic passes at him.
  • Cool Old Lady: She's much easier to be in the same room with than Hyacinth.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Towards Onslow.
  • Lazy Bum: She doesn't really have any more motivation to get a job or improve her life than Onslow.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Daisy becomes more erratic and bizarre about her desire for passion from Onslow.
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to her other sisters, Daisy is perhaps the most sane.

Rose (Shirley Stelfox in Series 1, Mary Millar in Series 2-5)

Hyacinth's youngest sister. Still maintaining her looks, Rose is usually with a new man on an episodic basis. She has a stalker-like crush on Emmet and the Vicar.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Acts like one at times.
  • Femme Fatale: Inverted, in that instead of betraying her men, her men betray her. Her number one complaint is that they always go back to their wives!
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have: Rose is a grand-aunt, has "friendly legs", and has no end of suitors.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Rose finds Emmet and the Vicar to be "dishy".
  • Large Ham: When she's upset or high on something, she overacts!
  • The Other Darrin: Rose was played by Shirley Stelfox in Season 1, and then Mary Millar for the rest of the series.
  • Really Gets Around: She has at least been engaged numerous times, and seen with countless men.
  • Running Gag: Her attempts to flirt with the Vicar often clash with Hyacinth's social events.
  • She's Got Legs: A common quip about her from other characters is how short of dresses she wears.

Elizabeth "Liz" Warden (Josephine Tewson)

Hyacinth's next door neighbour and best friend. While she genuinely likes Hyacinth, she becomes a nervous wreck whenever invited over for coffee, spilling it all over the floor and usually destroying Hyacinth's prized china tea set. Her husband is working in Saudi Arabia.
  • Butt Monkey: Often becomes this if Richard is unavailable.
  • Drop-In Character: Usually against her will.
  • Extreme Doormat: Even when she tries to work herself up to saying "no" to Hyacinth, she can't do it.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Her husband who is only mentioned in the show, but is never named.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: She's love to turn down an invitation to coffee with Hyacinth, but she's often forced to attend Hyacinth's coffee invites regardless.
  • Nice Girl: Similar to Richard, is kinda and enduring to Hyacinth to applaudable degrees.
  • Nosy Neighbor: Hyacinth acts like this on Elizabeth occasionally.
  • Only Friend: While she is extremely flustered by Hyacinth, she does try to defend her from unflattering comments made by Emmet. She also seems to be the only person not related to Hyacinth who willingly spends time with her.
  • Running Gag: Elizabeth's hilarious mishaps with the coffee, often caused by sudden sounds which cause her to jump. Hyacinth tries to combat her clumsiness by giving her a beaker, but it still does not work. Elizabeth uses a straw on one occasion to drink, but Hyacinth bins it.

Emmet Hawksworth (David Griffin)

Elizabeth's brother who moves in with her after he had a shaky divorce. A talented musician, Emmet unfortunately attracts Hyacinth interest in theatre and she badly sings whenever she sees him. Emmet often hides indoors until he can flee to work.
  • Berserk Button: Often occurs when Hyacinth drives him over the edge.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The delivery of a lot of his barbs against Hyacinth is this, probably because he really believes they're true.
  • Dreadful Musician: Sees Hyacinth as this.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Will play these when depressed by Hyacinth.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Make that an ominous piano. Emmet will play the Funeral March melody to emphasize a doom and gloom moment.note 
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: A one sided case compared to Onslow, but Emmet seems to be created for the purpose of a main character who far more openly and aggressively loathes Hyacinth, compared to the long suffering but sympathizing Richard and Elizabeth or passive aggressive Onslow. Granted she's usually far too deluded to notice.

Daddy (George Webb)

The father of Hyacinth, Daisy, Rose and Violet. A World War II veteran, now a senile, Dirty Old Man who lives with Onslow, Daisy and Rose. He is in a world of his own, often sneaking out of the house to chase down women, join the foreign legion or go on some sort of madcap adventure before being retrieved by his family.
  • Badass Grandpa: Some of the stuff he does at his age is pretty awesome.
    • Particularly when he makes off with Richard's car and drives it into the countryside.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: At times, he thinks the war is still going on, and that he's still fighting in it. He once showed an apple to Richard, bit the stem off as though it were a grenade, and threw it into a pile of metal trash, which sent the lot of it tumbling down.
  • Dad the Veteran: Often seen wearing his old military uniform, blowing his trumpet and taking orders from his long-dead commander Colonel Dawlish. He once prevented his family from entering their house, seeing them as Nazis, until Hyacinth put him straight.
  • Determinator: When he thinks he's been ordered to defend his house to the last man, he put up a valient defense. Until Hyacinth tries to talk some sense into him by walking up to him and saying loudly, "Daddy!"
  • Dirty Old Man: Even apart from his sexual adventures, he's been known to ride a bicycle naked!
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": More like "Everyone Calls Him Daddy"; we don't even know what his name is!
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: he's pretty obsessed with sex, to the point where it even got him into trouble once.

The Vicar and His Wife (Jeremy Gittins and Marion Barron)

Introduced in episode two, the Vicar (or Michael) becomes another one of Rose's romantic interests, and is terrified of Hyacinth whenever she appears. He often refers to her as "The Bucket Woman". His wife is more able to deal with Hyacinth, but has a habit of mistaking the Vicar for having a fling with Rose.

Sheridan Bucket

Hyacinth and Richard's son. He never appears in the show aside from a couple of cameos where his face is unseen, and always calls his mother. He often asks for money, much to Richard's angry disgust. He attends college, with a roommate called Tarquin. It is implied he may be Ambiguously Gay.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Hyacinth never wonders why her son dropped all of his lessons in college aside from designing clothes.
    • Richard sincerely asks Hyacinth: "Do you ever wonder why Sheridan doesn't show any interest in girls?" As usual, Hyacinth is off in her own world and pays him no attention.
  • The Faceless: We never see what his face looks like.
  • Genre Savvy: Seems to know to talk only to his mother, who is far more willing to cave in to his relentless demands for money.
  • The Ghost: He's rarely on screen, and even then, we don't see his face.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Most often, his only effect on the plot is when he calls his mother on the telephone.
  • Spoiled Brat: Implied to have been and still is with the amount of money Hyacinth sends to him with every phone call.

Violet and Bruce (Anna Dawson)

Hyacinth's third sister, who was mostly unseen except for a few appearances in the last season. Much respected by Hyacinth for having married a wealthy turf-accountant Bruce, her life isn't as idyllic as Hyacinth likes to make out due to her husband's penchant for women's clothes. Violet and Bruce both face divorce in the final season
  • Awful Wedded Life: Despite Hyacinth's attempts to insist otherwise. Bruce crossdresses, wears Violet's dresses and has a passion for horses.
  • The Ghost: Violet until Season 5, Bruce cameoing and did not get a proper talking role until the very last episode.
  • Phrase Catcher: As Hyacinth tells the nearest person whenever Violet calls, she's the one with the Mercedes, the sauna, and room for a pony.
  • Toilet Seat Divorce: The two nearly split up twice but they don't in the end.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Bruce is shown and mentioned crossdressing on numerous occasions.

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