Follow TV Tropes


Series / Keeping Up Appearances

Go To
The Bucket womannote  is inviting you to one of her candlelight suppers.

"The Bouquet residence, lady of the house speaking!"

"My name is Bouquet, B-U-C-K-E-T."
"Oh! Bucket!"
"It's pronounced 'Bouquet'..."

A classic Brit Com that aired on The BBC from 1990 to 1995.

The show revolves around Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge) (apparently pronounced 'Bouquet', as she's often heard correcting people), social climber extraordinaire. Snobby, shallow, and blissfully unaware of how annoying she is, Hyacinth is desperately worried that she isn't upper-class enough. Which, considering her family, she definitely isn't.

Obsessed with improving and showing off her social status, Hyacinth routinely rides roughshod over everyone unlucky enough to know her, assuming they are an admiring chorus who will do whatever she wants. Her Henpecked Husband, Richard (Clive Swift), is long-suffering verging on sainthood. Also frequently roped into her schemes are her patient but timid neighbour Elizabeth Warden (Josephine Tewson), who is prone to dropping Hyacinth's expensive crockery, Elizabeth's composer brother Emmet Hawksworth (David Griffin), who cannot stand Hyacinth, especially when she sings at him, as well as the local vicar (Jeremy Gittins) and his wife ( Marion Barron). No matter how firmly they tell her "No," she only hears "Yes, my lady." She's also blind to the abundant evidence that her son is anything other than her idea of perfect. Her numerous schemes are often scuttled by her own lack of intelligent thought and planning as well her increasingly panicked desperation whenever she loses control.

Astonishingly, Patricia Routledge manages to present Hyacinth as a sympathetic and sometimes pitiable figure while still keeping her hilariously insufferable.

Hyacinth's sisters, Daisy (Judy Cornwell) and Rose (Shirley Stelfox, then Mary Millar), are both much lower class, living in a council house with a junked car (and resident dog) permanently parked in their front garden. Their car stutters and belches out black smoke. Daisy is a down-to-earth type rather in awe of Hyacinth's pretensions; Rose is the local Hard-Drinking Party Girl whose sex-life provides much of the incidental comedy — especially her crush on Hyacinth's (very married) parish vicar. Daisy's husband, Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes), is a stereotypical Fat Slob who is perennially unemployed and completely ignores his wife's amorous advances, though there are hints that he is in fact very intelligent, in comic contrast to Hyacinth. He has a sort of survivor's bond with Richard, whom he occasionally tries to "rescue." The sisters' senile and lecherous elderly Daddy (George Webb), who is still fighting the Second World War, also lives with Daisy and Rose, and regularly causes havoc with his antics.

Hyacinth has another sister Violet (Anna Dawson) who, in contrast to Daisy and Rose, is very wealthy. Hyacinth even boasts about her to guests when she is on the telephone with her ("It's my sister Violet! She's the one with the Mercedes, sauna, and room for a pony!") Despite this, Hyacinth tries to keep at bay the cross-dressing, prostitute-hiring antics of Violet's turf accountant (i.e., bookmaker) husband Bruce (John Evitts). At first an unseen character for most of the show, Violet physically appears a number of times in the last series.

As well as running gags, the series employs a more subtle sliding scale to wealth, social status, and marital happiness - the poorest and unmarried sister, Rose, seems to be the happiest and also has the most active sex life. Daisy and Onslow seem to have a happy enough marriage despite their lack of social standing and Onslow's disinterest in sex. Hyacinth and Richard are middle-class, with a testy but caring relationship. And Violet and Bruce are the most wealthy, but have a terrible marriage. Similarly, the three husbands have a sliding scale of laziness, with Onslow the worst, then Richard, who blithely accepts his wife's decisions without protest, while Bruce works very hard, if only to buy nice dresses for himself.

Came twelfth in Britains Best Sitcom.

The Bucket residence - the lady of the tropes speaking!

  • Absurdly Long Stairway: When Hyacinth is proud to be a part owner of a mansion, which is all anyone needs to know, all they own is actually a tiny apartment right up in the attic, reached by multiple stairways.
    Hyacinth: You couldn't destroy the integrity of a house like this with a lift!
    Richard: Oh, I could destroy the integrity of a house like this with a lift.
    Hyacinth: The exercise will do you good.
  • Accidental Passenger: When Hyacinth is desperate not to be seen by Mrs Barker-Finch, she climbs on to an open-backed lorry. The driver gets in and drives off, completely unaware of Hyacinth's calls of "Driver, I wish to alight!"
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Hyacinth pulls off a couple sentences with them.
    Hyacinth: Beautiful day, Elizabeth!
    Elizabeth: Yes, isn't it?
    Hyacinth: Completely conducive to contemplating cozy, charismatic country cottages!
    • Plus,
    Hyacinth: Richard! What a thing to say to someone with her own solid silver self-cleaning sauce separator!
  • The Alleged Car: Onslow's beat-up '78 Ford Cortina (the one that runs - barely). The one in their front garden - the remains of a Hillman Avenger - is a few steps beyond "alleged".
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Very much averted by Onslow, who is too lazy and engrossed in his TV to have sexual relations with Daisy (or anyone else):
    Daisy: I'll say this much for you Onslow, you've always been too bone idle to ever be unfaithful to me!
  • Ambiguously Gay: Hyacinth and Richard's son Sheridan, although the hints are so obvious this is almost certainly a case of Selective Obliviousness on Hyacinth's part.
  • Amusement Park: In "The Senior Citizen's Outing" episode, Hyacinth takes some elderly people to one for 'charitable purposes'. You're not fooling anyone Hyacinth, one glimpse of you grinning on the merry-go-round and we've learned you actually love fun fairs.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: A variation, but the neighbors relish any time in which Hyacinth is away for an extended period, such as "Please Mind Your Head."
    Postman: Good morning, sir!
    Emmett: Yes, isn't it? The birds are singing, and thank God only the birds are singing.
    Postman: Gone for long, is she?
    Emmett: No, but every minute counts.
  • Ass Shove: Hyacinth gets one from Richard early in the second episode, courtesy of a gardening tool.
  • Awful Wedded Life:
    • Zigzagged. In Hyacinth's marriage to Richard; he puts up with a lot, used to her snobbish behaviour and expensive attempts to climb the social ladder. But they do seem to care for each other.
    • However tiresome Richard may find Hyacinth, it's nothing to the painful marriage between Violet and Bruce, which is one step away from a messy divorce, with Bruce being a cross-dresser implied to be having an almost in-your-face affair.
    • Downplayed for laughs with Daisy and Onslow, in that Onslow is simply too lazy to show Daisy any love, to buy her any jewellery, or even to be unfaithful to her. A running gag is that whenever Daisy hints at sex, Onslow replies "Don't start getting broody" or "I've got a headache".
      Daisy: How come you never take me out to restaurants?
      Onslow: I do take you out to restaurants.
      Daisy: When?
      Onslow: I took you to that Italian, where you got spaghetti stuck in your earring.
      Daisy: That was thirty years ago. We were on honeymoon.
      Onslow: Still counts.
      Daisy: You've never taken me since.
      Onslow: Well, if you're gonna get spaghetti stuck in your earring.
  • Backseat Driver: Hyacinth. A bad one at that.
    Hyacinth: Mind the pedestrian, Richard...
  • Bait-and-Switch: A minor example in the episode "Please mind your head". As Hyacinth and Richard climb the stairs to their attic apartment, a second Hyacinth suddenly appears, revealing that she was in front of a huge ornate mirror, and the viewer was looking at her reflection.
  • Big Honking Traffic Jam: Hyacinth and Richard are delayed on their way to the Q.E.2 by one of these, complete with the background sounding of horns.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: When Hyacinth is at Daisy and Onslow's house (where she would not normally be seen dead), the high-class but unfriendly Mrs Nugent turns up, to return some minimal underwear which Rose had donated to the charity shop. Hyacinth imitates a very slurred, Germanic monotone when talking through the door to her:
    Hyacinth: Vot is it you vont? I am a foreigner in your country.
    Mrs Nugent: (shouts about the inappropriate garments)
    Hyacinth: Vy not please to push them through the letter box?
    Mrs Nugent: You could push most of them through the keyhole!
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Onslow.
  • Camp Straight: Emmet. Catty, terribly fey, organises the local musicals... very appreciative of Rose's 'friendly legs'.
  • Candlelit Ritual: Hyacinth's "candlelight suppers" are frequently mentioned, mostly by Hyacinth herself, but they never happen on-screen.
    Hyacinth: I'd love you to attend one of my candlelight suppers, Mrs Fortescue.
    Mrs Fortescue: Candlelight what?
    Hyacinth: Suppers.
    Mrs Fortescue: Have they cut off your electricity?
    Hyacinth: I think subdued lighting makes a statement, don't you, Mrs Fortescue?
    Mrs Fortescue: I like to see what I'm eating. I'm partially deaf, but damned if I want to go blind.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Onslow's reaction to any sort of setback or remark at his expense is a sarcastic "Oh, nice!"
    • Rose's riposte to Onslow snarking at her expense (often focusing on her love life) is to snap, "Bog off, our Onslow!"
    • Hyacinth warmly inviting Elizabeth to sit anywhere she likes. "EXCEPT THERE!"
    • Pronounce Hyacinth's name as it appears to be written, and she'll correct you with "It's 'Bouquet', dear."
    • Whenever the vicar or his wife see Hyacinth, their reaction is always a terrified "The Bucket woman!"
    • Hyacinth invariably answers the phone by loudly announcing "The Bou-quet residence! The lady of the house speaking!"
    • Whenever Hyacinth gets a call from Violet, she says to anyone within earshot (usually Elizabeth), "It's my sister Violet. She's the one with a Mercedes, swimming pool, sauna, and room for a pony." Or, if it's Daisy on the phone, "It's my sister Daisy. She's not the one with a Mercedes, swimming pool, sauna, and room for a pony."
  • Character Tics: Characters on the show have a tendency to repeat phrases over and over. In fact, all Roy Clarke's characters tend to repeat phrases over and over. They do. They repeat things. Over and over.
  • Clip Show: The Memoirs of Hyacinth Bucket (rare for a British show). It's also unique as it was produced directly for the American market and broadcast on PBS member stations complete with breaks so that those stations airing the program could take time out to ask for viewer support.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Hyacinth just has no idea how hard a time she's giving everyone, or that people generally either fear her or laugh at her, and most of all, that all of her efforts to appear upper-class only underline her very common standing.
    • Emphasized even more in Young Hyacinth, where, while living with her father and three sisters she is constantly making up falsehoods and denying reality as it concerns her parents and situation.
  • Comedy Series
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Rose is having a massive hormonal crisis, the only thing Onslow cares about is that she has the bottle opener.
    Daisy: (To Hyacinth) It's Rose. Her hormones are running riot again.
    Onslow: She's locked herself in her room, which is very inconvenient as I'm out of cans, and she's got the bottle opener.
    Daisy: Suppose she harms herself on the bottle opener?
    Onslow: Or worse, suppose she loses it?
    Daisy: She sent for the vicar, she says she needs spiritual company.
    Onslow: As well as the bottle opener?
  • Compromising Memoirs: Rose plans to write hers in one episode. She begins by asking Daisy and Onslow how to spell "memoirs." Later, she asks how to spell "virgin", and Onslow asks "are you going back that far?".
  • Cool Old Lady: Mrs Fortescue. Hyacinth is content to think of her as a frail old woman from family money, but she's also a Deadpan Snarker who likes a good joyride, a strong drink, a round of darts, and a sexual dish session.
  • Copycat Mockery: Hyacinth's phrases are sometimes mocked by the male characters.
    • When she gives Richard an order (which she does frequently), Richard sometimes repeats it in a nasal voice.
      Hyacinth: Mind the pothole in the road!
      Richard: Minding the pot-'ole.
    • When Emmet is trying to teach the timid Elizabeth to refuse Hyacinth's invitations to coffee, he imitates her.
      Emmet: (To himself) Greater love hath no man for his sister, than to be Hyacinth. (To Elizabeth, imitating Hyacinth) Corffee at eleven, Elizabeth?
      Elizabeth: Thank you, Hyacinth. (Emmet glares at her) I'm sorry, but you were so lifelike.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Hyacinth goes so far as to set up a "NO PARKING - DELIVERY IMMINENT" sign in front of her house in anticipation of the delivery of a three-piece suite.
  • Creative Closing Credits: During the ending credits in each episode, Hyacinth is seen laying the table for a candlelight supper. At the very end, "produced and directed by" appears on the screen, and Hyacinth puts a nameplate underneath saying "Harold Snoad".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Onslow and Richard. Even Hyacinth herself occasionally, usually when referring to the dilapidated state of Daisy and Onslow's front garden.
    Hyacinth: How can a place look like this fifty years after the Blitz?!
  • Determinator:
    • Give Hyacinth credit, she never fails from lack of effort.
    • Give Richard credit too, for living with Hyacinth. Although you can't be sure if he's still with her out of determination or severe lack of such...
  • Didn't Think This Through: Hyacinth has the perfect answer to Elizabeth spilling drinks: a cup with a lid.
    Emmet: And how were you intending to drink from it?
    Elizabeth: Well, I take the lid off...
    Emmet & Elizabeth: (in unison) and I'm back where I started.
    Hyacinth: Worry not! I have the solution. I saw this while shopping, and I shall keep it especially for you. (Holds up a pink sippy cup)
  • Dirty Old Man: Hyacinth's father.
  • The Ditherer: Hyacinth is normally extremely decisive. However, she has moments of being unable to make up her mind, while the long-suffering Richard panders to her ever-changing whim, especially in this scene when his husbandly duty includes opening the car door for Hyacinth, just before they offer a lift to an elderly lady whom Hyacinth is keen to impress.
    (Richard opens car door)
    Hyacinth: Perhaps I should stay in the car.
    (Richard begins to close the door)
    Hyacinth: No, no, perhaps I should meet her at the door.
    (Richard opens the door, Hyacinth gets out)
    Hyacinth: Then again, I don't want to look too eager: perhaps I should stay in the car.
    (Hyacinth gets in)
    Hyacinth: (sharply, just as Richard closes the door) No, no!! (Richard opens the door) I think the best thing would be for you to ring the bell, and when she opens it, she'll find me admiring her garden. A subtle compliment, without going too far.
  • The Ditz: Emmet and Elizabeth on occasion. In one episode, Emmet checks the temperature of a heating iron by touching it.
  • Double Take: Elizabeth does a brief one in "Onslow's Birthday" when Hyacinth pronounces Ibiza with a voiceless alveolar sibilant (/s/) instead of a voiceless dental fricative (/θ/).
  • Dreadful Musician: Hyacinth couldn't carry a tune in a bucket (er, bouquet). Not that she knows this, as Emmet repeatedly finds out to his cost when she tries to force herself into his musical productions.
  • Drop-In Character: Variations of this happen in many episodes.
    • Hyacinth's poorer relatives Daisy and Onslow have a habit of turning up and embarrassing Hyacinth, often in their old backfiring car, and Onslow wearing only a vest.
    • When discussing unwelcome visitors (i.e. ghosts) with the vicar, Onslow implies that Hyacinth sometimes turns up unannounced.
      Daisy: The only persistent unwelcome visitor here has been the rent man.
      Onslow: And your Hyacinth.
    • Hyacinth is this to her neighbours Elizabeth and Emmet. Although she rarely enters their house (believing her own residence to be superior), she frequently accosts them on the doorstep, and invites them in for coffee; they are too terrified of Hyacinth to refuse.
      Elizabeth: (to Emmet) She knows you're in, she must have seen you.
      Emmet: How could she? I've been so careful. I haven't been outside for days.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In the first series, Rose is played by Shirley Stelfox (she was replaced by the more familiar Mary Millar from series 2 onwards).
    • Elizabeth's divorced brother Emmet does not move in with her until series 2.
    • Richard is still working at the start of the series (he took early retirement in series 3).
  • Extreme Doormat: Some say Richard is a saint. Others say he just lets himself be pushed around by his domineering wife, putting up only mild protests even when she is wasting money, since it's easier than taking any responsibility himself.
  • Eye Take: When Hyacinth is desperate not to be seen by her neighbour Mrs Barker-Finch, she climbs on to an open-backed lorry, which then drives off. After pounding on the roof of the cab to attract the driver's attention, she does a massive eye take when she sees Mrs Barker-Finch staring at her.
  • Fat Bastard: Onslow a good deal of the time, though he often subverts this trope.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: Elizabeth is practicing her excuse to Hyacinth that she can't come to coffee because she has to visit her solicitor (lawyer). But when she answers Hyacinth's call, she instead says "I can't today, Hyacinth, I'm soliciting!". Cue Oh, Crap! face.
  • Femme Fatale: Rose
  • Floral Theme Naming: The four sisters are called Hyacinth, Daisy, Rose and Violet.
  • Forced into Their Sunday Best:
    • Onslow once has to wear a jacket and a shirt with a tie for his grandchild's baptism. He keeps on fumbling with the tie and claims that he feels as if he were the first member of his family to be hanged.
    • Hyacinth sometimes insists that Richard wears a suit or tie for manual tasks, such as gardening, or mending the church hall electrics.
  • Gargle Blaster: Lady Ursula's homemade gooseberry wine that Hyacinth samples in "Country Estate Sale". Intoxication Ensues.
  • The Ghost:
    • Hyacinth and Richard's son Sheridan is mentioned in almost every episode, and phones regularly to ask for money, yet is never actually seen.
    • Elizabeth's husband, who is working in Saudi Arabia, which has led some in the KUA fandom to question whether or not Elizabeth even has a husband. She also has a daughter, Gail, who is away at university and lives with a fellow student named Harold; the fact that they are living together but not married attracts Hyacinth's disdain. Elizabeth herself, for her part, doesn't care either way.
    • Hyacinth's other sister Violet, who is married to "turf accountant" Bruce, started out as a ghost but became an occasional on-screen character for the final season.
  • Gold Digger: Hyacinth encourages this behavior in others, pointing out the advantages of Violet's husband Bruce's new Mercedes (and the large house with the swimming pool, sauna, and room for a pony) when Violet muses splitting off from Bruce. She also tries to help Rose land a rich husband, although very few of her beaus are ever wealthy - it's just Hyacinth's social climbing-colored glasses getting in the way.
  • Got Volunteered:
    • Hyacinth frequently volunteers Richard to perform disagreeable or dangerous tasks, such as repairing the church hall electrics, or climbing a ladder to an upstairs room at Daisy and Onslow's house.
    • Having willingly volunteered for church cleaning, Hyacinth accidentally volunteers to clean the church hall toilet, desperate to be picked for something after being rejected for pew polishing, changing flowers, brassware, changing the altar cloth.
      Vicar's wife: This needs quite a bit of work on it. Can I have a volunteer to clean the church hall (Hyacinth puts her hand up) toilet... Mrs Bucket, thank you.
  • Grande Dame: What Hyacinth aspires to be.
  • Grand Staircase Entrance: At least, Hyacinth believes so. On entering their home, Hyacinth drawls "What an entrance! I can just picture their faces when they see this staircase." The staircase happens to be in a mansion, but she and Richard are going up to their tiny apartment on the attic floor, up several staircases.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In "Sea Fever", Hyacinth becomes insanely jealous when she discovers that Daisy and Onslow have won a trip on the QE2, with a more luxurious cabin than they have and a place at the captain's table.
  • Hat of Authority: Hyacinth usually wears a hat when out of doors to reflect her self-perceived grand status, and usually makes Richard wear one as well. In "Rural Retreat", she makes Richard choose between two of her hats; when he completely fails to do so, she accuses him of being "unfaithful to her hats". When Elizabeth offers to help Hyacinth with directing drivers around the car park, Hyacinth's reply is:
    Hyacinth: I think not, dear. You're not wearing a hat.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Emmet gets stuck after accidentally putting his head through one of the low ceilings at Hyacinth and Richard's tiny country apartment.
  • Helping Granny Cross the Street: Played with when Hyacinth and Richard give a lift to the elderly and stick-bearing Mrs Fortescue. Hyacinth encourages Richard to take her by the elbow, and escort her to the car. However, the perfectly agile Mrs Fortescue (who tends to wave her stick around) is not impressed.
    Mrs Fortescue: I don't need you to carry me!
    Richard: You wanted a lift into town, Mrs Fortescue.
    Mrs Fortescue: Lift? In the car.
  • Henpecked Husband: Poor Richard.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen:
    • Hyacinth's son, Sheridan, although he does eventually put in a brief and wordless appearance dressed in full motorcycle kit including face-concealing helmet. That could also count as The Faceless and The Ghost.
    • Elizabeth's husband, who is said to be working in Saudi Arabia, and her daughter, Gail (whom Hyacinth looks down on for living with a man despite not being married to him).
    • Hyacinth's sister and brother-in-law, Violet and Bruce, are often mentioned during the first four series. However, Violet is seen only once, with her back to the camera and her head concealed by foliage, while Bruce makes occasional nonspeaking or minimal dialogue cameos, often doing something that embarrasses Hyacinth. This is averted in the final series when they become recurring characters.
  • Heroic BSoD: The one time Richard ever dares to speak up to her, Hyacinth shuts down completely and mindlessly does what he asks without protest, even opening the door to her side of the car herself rather than wait for Richard to open it for her as she always does... for a little while. A bystander, who had been on the receiving end of her usual behaviour, suggested Richard deserved a medal.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Look very carefully at the covers of the books Onslow is seen reading in bed in some of the later episodes. They are mostly graduate physics textbooks, implying he is more intelligent than he lets on (not that this makes him interested in pursuing steady employment).
    • Hyacinth, which really shouldn't surprise anyone who pays attention to some details in her character. If one wants to look past the goofy, upper-crust pretenses Hyacinth has, they will see Hyacinth has a pretty serious strength of character that comes from an implied impoverished and rather dysfunctional childhood and that "Keeping Up Appearances" can also refer to a psychological compulsion to look more "normal", put-together and decent while the rest of her family members have very serious problems and have lives and living situations that no one would envy.
    • Interestingly, unlike many other shallow, vain characters portrayed in media around this time, one thing that does not seem to bother Hyacinth is her age. Where other characters like her would like to pretend they're still young and attractive and be offended at being referred to as their real age, Hyacinth has relished the idea of she and Richard being in their golden years and Richard having retirement. In going with the entry listed above, you'll notice Hyacinth only wants to look classy and aristocratic, not conventionally attractive or beautiful.
    • Hyacinth is also frequently active in volunteering to help the elderly a generation above her; not just her own dementia-ridden father (for whom Hyacinth appears to be the only person who treats him with any dignity), but members of her church and community without there being a strong or clear reward in it for her as well.
    • And then there's Rose who... well, she has at least tried to become something other than an airheaded, middled-aged slut on a few occasions. She has tried to start a door-to-door jewelry selling business and more than once tried to swear off her debaucherous lifestyle and dedicate it purely to Christianity (even trying to become a nun at one point).
  • Hilarity Ensues: Hyacinth tricks Richard into stealing a car after conning a Rolls-Royce dealer into letting them go for a test drive (Richard is clearly nervous about driving a car that costs more than their house, but complies with Hyacinth's directions as usual), and then she blames him, but neither of them is known to suffer any legal consequence. As in this page's entry for Mood Whiplash, stuff blows up and a car chase happens, but no one is hurt or killed.
  • Holiday Volunteering: The Christmas Special sees Richard forced to dress up as Father Christmas as he hands out gifts to the old people at the Church Hall. Only he gets drunk on sherry with Emmet and Elizabeth has to take over.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Hyacinth. Patricia Routledge is actually a talented singer, but Hyacinth's loud, shrieking performances make every character within earshot wish they were many miles away.
  • House Wife: Hyacinth, Elizabeth, Daisy, and Violet.
  • Humiliation Conga: Many of the episodes are basically set-ups for humiliation conga lines targeting Hyacinth.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Whenever Hyacinth claims that she's not the sort of person who puts on airs or who boasts about her social connections or who orders people around. In fact, she has stated that she hates snobbery in several occasions.
    Hyacinth: (loudly to the postman, seeing a neighbour) You will remember the name of the ship we're cruising on?
    Postman: (equally loudly) The QE2!
    Hyacinth: Not so loud! People might think I'm trying to broadcast it.
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: Hyacinth when she hears how Daisy and Onslow came to be on the QE2.
    Richard: They're here officially.
    Hyacinth: What do you mean, officially?
    Richard: Your brother-in-law has won first prize: two tickets for this cruise, with all the trimmings. You should see their cabin...
    Hyacinth: I don't want to know.
    Richard: Champagne, flowers...
    Hyacinth: (covering her ears) ALL RIGHT! ALL RIGHT! ALL RIGHT!!
  • Informed Attractiveness:
    • An unusual number of men over the course of the series get the palm sweats over matronly, post-menopausal Hyacinth. It's usually Major Wilton Smythe, whose advances Hyacinth tolerates to some extent because he's very well-connected socially. Rule of Funny, really, and usually Lampshaded.
    • Same goes for Onslow. His wife Daisy is unaccountably fascinated with his body. Even Onslow is at a loss to comprehend it.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Hyacinth's social-climbing attempts and rationales can sometimes take on this edge. She once asked Richard to smile while doing the gardening so that if any people she was trying to impress happened to drop by they'd assume that they could afford a gardener but choose not to because Richard enjoyed it so much.
    • Hyacinth applies endless troll logic to her planned new kitchen work surface. "I had to consult the vicar about the colour: I needed his confirmation that this is Angel Gabriel blue." When she goes to the shop to order it, she is at first dismayed that the colour has been discontinued, but when the shop keeper says they might be able to get it, she is delighted because "it won't be seen in many homes". While the shop keeper's back is turned, she then starts pouring various messy cooking materials over a nearby work surface, to see how well they cope with spillages. When the horrified shop keeper returns, she says "I may have to leave the fairy cake mixture until it sets, and then come back."
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not merely boating: it's "yachting".
    Hyacinth: I do wish you would stop referring to it as a boat. The word is "yacht".
    Richard: (mouthing silently) Boat.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: A dainty piece.
  • Irony: All of Hyacinth's upper-class "friends" much prefer her poorer relatives to her.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Played with in that Hyacinth refers to a dog as a "thing".
    Hyacinth: Please take that thing out of my driveway.
    Roger: "Thing"? I'll have you know this is a pedigree "thing".
  • Jerkass: Hyacinth. She does veer into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory, albeit very rarely. The 1991 Christmas Episode is a good example, in which she invites all her friends and family around for a party, regardless of their social status. And for all her oppressive treatment of Richard, she does at least mean well usually and treats him with an affectionate demeanor despite her demands. Naturally, this usually only came to bite Richard in the back; for example, she turned down a high potential job opportunity because she didn't have the heart to leave him at home all alone, leaving him coherently sobbing. She also is shown to have a resented love for her slobbish relatives.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: For some reason, it's never an option to just refuse to do whatever Hyacinth says. When Hyacinth ignores a "No", the characters appear resigned to obey her.
    • It gets turned into a running gag when Emmet tries to coach Liz into refusing coffee. She's. Just. That. Scary.
    • Richard tried to put his foot down a few times during the series. Bless his heart, he does try. Hyacinth simply walks over him, literally in one case, as she uses him as a gangplank to board a boat.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: The promiscuous Rose has a moment of this with a new boyfriend.
    Rose: I would never have gone if I'd known that he meant it. "Would I like to pop in and see his model aeroplanes?" Go on, ask me anything about model aeroplanes.
  • Leg Focus: Emmett's description of Rose: "The one with the friendly legs." Also:
    Onslow: We've left your father in good hands.
    Daisy: Do you think our Hyacinth will think our Rose qualifies as "good hands"?
    Onslow: All right, we've left your father in good legs.
  • Lethal Klutz: In "What to wear when yachting", Hyacinth tries to pull Richard on board their "yacht" (actually a tiny decrepit motor boat), after he has fallen in the river. She accidentally knocks the throttle lever, sending the boat racing forwards, with Richard hanging off the back, just above the propeller. As if emphasising the lethality of this situation, producer-director Harold Snoad noted that this was too dangerous to film, so the boat was towed by another one for this scene.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Onslow, who (except for the odd occasion when Hyacinth or Daisy force him into a suit) apparently only has one outfit.
  • Lots of Luggage: Hyacinth takes mountains of "matching executive luggage, with the genuine leather embellishments and initials" on board the cruise liner, the QE2.
  • MacGuffin: The infamous "Candlelight Suppers" are never shown in all their glory underway. In a few episodes, we see Hyacinth preparing food and her dining room for them, but the actual event is never shown. Much of what drives Hyacinth's schemes and pestering up the social ladder revolve around inviting someone to one of these events.
  • Midnight Snack: When Richard has insomnia in their tiny ("old-world-bijou") attic apartment.
    Richard: Well, I'm going to make some old-world-bijou tea.
    Hyacinth: Oh why not, dear? An impromptu midnight snack! That's the beauty of living in a place like this, one can break with one's routine. (sits up and bangs head on low ceiling)
  • Missing Mom: Daddy is a widower - and that's all the info we get. Though he is pretty old, so natural causes are a good bet.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: This is how Emmet is introduced. Hyacinth sees a strange man wearing just towel come out of Elizabeth's house to get something off the porch. After Hyacinth spends several minutes fretting over what this will mean for the neighborhood and her reputation and dragging Richard into it, they find out the man is Elizabeth's brother.
  • Mock Millionaire: Hyacinth wants to give the impression that she and Richard are much wealthier - and therefore much more cultured and upper-crust - than they appear. She coaxes Richard to steal a Rolls-Royce, drive it to a hotel, and make an appearance at its coffee shop just so she can show off to Lydia Hawksworth, who made a disparaging remark at one of her candlelight suppers. This backfires spectacularly when the police catch up to her and arrest them just as Lydia drives up.
  • Monochrome Casting: A VERY extreme example.
  • Mood Whiplash: Hyacinth shops for a second car. A crime thriller ensues. Hyacinth tries to help her sister fix her marriage. A foot chase ensues. Her father is often disoriented, playful, and prone to fainting, and once takes the Bucket car for a drive in the country. An enormous car chase ensues. Hyacinth goads Richard into repairing some electric circuits and babysits dogs. The dogs run away when the church is turned into a virtual war zone and explodes.
  • Neat Freak: Needless to say, the Bucket residence is always immaculate, and the Lady of the House presumably does the housekeeping herself (Richard doing "manly" tasks such as gardening, under his wife's gaze "My Goodness! Is that a dead leaf?", and polishing the car). When drinks are spilled by Elizabeth, Hyacinth is far more concerned for her new suite than anybody's comfort. Occasionally, Hyacinth tries to put other people's houses in order: she polishes the postman's badge, and in a cafe, she starts polishing the cutlery.
    Waitress: Two coffees. Are you having a meal?
    Hyacinth: I don't think so.
    Waitress: Need a fork for your coffee, do you?
  • Never My Fault: Hyacinth has a habit of doing this when things go wrong, such as when she sends them in the wrong direction en route to the QE2.
    Hyacinth: It's obvious to me what's happened, dear. You've taken the wrong turning!
  • Newhart Phone Call: Whenever Hyacinth talks to Violet, Sheridan, or a person trying to call the Chinese Takeaway, we only get her side of the conversation, though Hyacinth does repeat snippets of what they say.
    Hyacinth: (on the phone to Violet) That sounded like he wants you to dress up as Robin Hood and Maid Marian!... Oh, he does want you both to dress up as Robin Hood and Maid Marian... What do you mean, I haven't heard the worst part?... (groans) He wants to be Maid Marian.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Hyacinth could more-than-conceivably have married Richard for the slight class upgrade, but what he thought he was getting is a mystery. Richard himself once lampshaded the fact by saying something to the effect of "you never know who you'll end up falling in love with." Of course, that comment went completely right over Hyacinth's head.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: When Hyacinth wonders why Richard has not "rescued" Mrs Fortescue from Daisy and Onslow in a pub, she sees a window cleaner's stepladder near a high window, and climbs it to peer in, since she is above frequenting public houses. Suddenly she sees Mrs Barker-Finch approaching, and is desperate to hide. She puts on the window cleaner's white protective garment, and stands next to the ladder, with her legs splayed like sloping parts of the ladder.
  • No Name Given: The Vicar's wife, despite the fact she is a recurring character during the entire run of the show. Also, to a lesser extent, the Major. Interestingly, his name actually appears in every single episode, as the RSVP card Hyacinth prepares in the title sequence is made out to "Major & Mrs. Wilton Smythe".
  • Noodle Incident: Hyacinth's Candlelight Suppers are never shown. Presumably the reason why they're so terrible and nobody actually likes going to them is because of the presence of Hyacinth herself.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: When Hyacinth tells somebody not to look for a surprise, they completely fail to see what she wants them to see afterwards:
    • During their cruise on the QE2, Hyacinth makes Richard close his eyes for a long time, causing him to mutter "I'm in a cabin with a view, and here I am with my eyes closed". When she tells him to look, hoping that he will admire her new outfit, he does not even notice it, until she prompts him. He then asks irritably "have you changed again?".
    • Hyacinth covers Elizabeth's eyes, before revealing a beautifully laid-out tea tray. When Elizabeth looks, her reaction is "you got the stain out from where I spilled the coffee".
  • Not Me This Time: In "The Commodore", when Hyacinth has Elizabeth and Emmett over for tea, she hears the usual sound of china falling and breaking. She is in the middle of saying "Eliza..." when she stops and realizes it was Emmett who dropped the china this time. Elizabeth can't help but laugh at it happening to her brother for once.
  • Not This One, That One: Hyacinth and Richard are borrowing a yacht, and she is delighted with the beautiful yacht she thinks it is. Then it turns out to be the floating nutshell next to it. Her solution? Let's move it a bit further, it will look better on its own. It would have helped if either she or Richard had actually known how to steer the thing.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: How Hyacinth sees Onslow. While he is a Lazy Bum and a Fat Slob, he's actually quite likeable and most people seem to prefer him to Hyacinth.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • "It's that Bucket woman!" This is said by many people, especially the vicar, and Elizabeth and Emmet, sometimes when they have headed somewhere to get away from Hyacinth... and there she is.
    • In an episode where Richard has forgotten their wedding anniversary, Richard's terror is palpable when he sees her on the phone complaining to the Post Office about Richard's surprise present to her not being delivered. In the same episode, she graciously allows him out for a drink with Emmet, when Richard managed to save the day by ordering a home security system just in time. The code to disarm is it the day, month, and last two digits of the year of their wedding. At the end of the episode:
      (Richard comes home, alarm starts bleeping, Richard starts entering the code)
      Richard: A 9, a 2, and... oh my God, what was the year?... Which year did we get married?... (desperate) I've only got seconds to think... she will kill me!!... It was 62. (types it in, beeping stops) Oh, that was close... (alarm sounds, Hyacinth erupts from bedroom)
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted.
    • There are two minor characters named Michael: The Vicar and the postman.
    • There are also two Hawksworths: Emmett and one-off character Lydia.
  • Only One Name: Daisy, Onslow, Rose, and Michael the Vicar.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When Hyacinth starts to get riled up, her affected upper-crust accent will tend to slip and her natural working class accent will start to slip through.note 
  • Parental Obliviousness: Hyacinth in regards to Sheridan's sexuality. Some of Richard's reactions indicate that he does know (or at least think) Sheridan is gay.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Onslow and Daisy turn their TV on and off by giving it a whack on the top. More impressively, Daisy once changed the channel this way.
  • Prequel: A 2016 one-off special, Young Hyacinth, takes place in the 1950s. The special gives a justification for Hyacinth's attempts at social climbing: the family grew up in near-poverty as Daddy spent most of his wages on alcohol. When she lands a job as a maid for one of the local gentry, she starts harboring ambitions of rising above her station and attempts to pass off Daddy's alcoholism as an old war wound affecting him. Daisy frequently pokes holes in Hyacinth's fantasies and is forced to take over Daddy's original job as a canal bridge operator while he's off getting stinking drunk when he's supposed to be selling brushes.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: In the horse-riding episode, Hyacinth desperately wants to enter the bedroom to take care of her dreadful appearance before her guests arrive; but she cannot open the bedroom door. This matter is neither explained nor resolved.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation:
    • It's not 'Bucket', it's 'Bouquet', as Hyacinth will insistently claim. However, Richard claims "It was always Bucket until I met you," and Hyacinth herself, upset at the time, once pronounces it "Bucket" and fails to correct herself, suggesting this is a bit of Selective Obliviousness on her part.
    • In an episode where Hyacinth is telling everybody she is going on holiday (when she isn't), she says "brochures" frequently, pronouncing the O as in "odd". In the same episode, she accidentally answers the phone with "The Brochure residence..."
  • Punctuality Is for Peasants:
    • Due to her own terrible map-reading (which she blames on Richard), Hyacinth is late for her cruise on the QE2, and is tearfully appalled that the ship does not wait for her, or turn back.
    • When she is the hostess, she expects complete punctuality from her guests: if she invites them for coffee at ten forty-five, she expects them to appear just then, and not at ten forty-four or ten forty-six.
  • Rape as Comedy:
    • Hyacinth being not infrequently pawed and chased around by overly amorous men. Somehow manages to be funny because Hyacinth most certainly qualifies as an Asshole Victim.
    • Hyacinth's father also occasionally pushes his skirt-chasing into this territory.
  • Really Gets Around: Rose.
    Rose: (during one of her many "I'll change my ways" rants) I'll get a skirt that goes all the way down to the floor!
    Onslow: Bet that skirt's gone to the floor a few times.
  • Reluctant Retiree: Richard Bucket, mostly because he'll then have to spend more time with his wife. One of the jokes in the pilot is people congratulating Richard on his upcoming retirement... only to then immediately switch to condolences as they realize what this'll mean for himnote .
  • Repeated Rehearsal Failure:
    • Hyacinth drills Richard in performing for people she wishes to impress, who rarely performs to her satisfaction.
      Hyacinth: Show me how you intend to greet Mrs Fortescue.
      Richard: (uncertainly) Good morning, Mrs Fortescue.
      Hyacinth: No, no! It's too tentative. You must make her see you are powerful in local authority circles. Now try again.
      Richard: Well, couldn't I say "Good Morning Mrs Fortescue", and wear a large label saying "powerful in local authority circles"?
      Hyacinth: I don't find that very amusing, dear. I hope you're not going to spoil things with lower-middle-class humour.
    • In the same episode, she makes Richard practise ringing the doorbell.
      Hyacinth: Oh no, Richard, that was almost a tradesman's ring. Keep the index finger straight.
    • Hyacinth also drills a policeman (making him remove his shoes, as with most visitors) who has visited to tell her that her daddy is at the police station.
      Hyacinth: When you leave this bungalow, I want you to be wearing a broad smile. I don't want anyone thinking that my daddy is in trouble.
    • In the same episode, when Richard has the job of collecting daddy, she makes him wear dark glasses, and tells him that if anyone asks, he is on business.
      Hyacinth: Pssssst! You don't look like you're on business! You look like someone going to fetch daddy from the police station.
    • Elizabeth simply cannot say "no" to Hyacinth's daily invitation for coffee. Sometimes she rehearses doing this, on one occasion saying she has an appointment with her solicitor. When Hyacinth does call her, she bursts out with "I am soliciting".
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: Hyacinth's phone conversations.
  • Rich Language, Poor Language: Hyacinth works hard at her RP to cover her naturally Wirral accent, which nevertheless can slip through when she's flustered. Rose, particularly when played by Shirley Stelfox, would also sometimes put on an RP accent when trying to impress others.
  • Right Under Their Noses: Poor Richard, who cannot help at all when Hyacinth wants to know if he would notice some holiday brochures left casually lying around.
    Richard: Hyacinth, it's no good asking me. I didn't even notice when your father was on fire.
  • Running Gag: It's safe to say that at least 50% of the entire show consists of running gags. They get Played With fairly often, too.
    • Every time Hyacinth approaches Onslow's front door, the dog living in the car on the driveway startles her, and she falls into the hedge behind. In one episode she creeps past the car, expecting the dog, and it startles her from a front window of the house.
    • People call Hyacinth's house to order Chinese food, thinking they called the Green Lotus Chinese Takeaway (they have the same number as Hyacinth's, but one digit removed). Naturally, this irritates Hyacinth, and, at one point, she has Richard call the Chinese embassy to force the Green Lotus to change their number, to no avail.
    • Hyacinth is delighted when her son Sheridan calls her and he immediately asks for money. "Oh Sheridan, darling(blinks incredulously) How much??"
    • Hyacinth's seeming compulsion to constantly namedrop things, such as Sheridan's pearl button collection (which she thinks is wonderfully valuable), her Royal Doulton porcelain set with the handpainted periwinkles, her sister Violet, "the one with a Mercedes, swimming pool, sauna, and room for a pony", and perhaps most infamously, her "elegant candlelight suppers". Some items or connections appear only in single episodes—one such occasion was in "Country Estate Sale", where Hyacinth ends up buying Dowager Lady Ursula's homemade gooseberry wine, drinking the stuff, and getting the litany more and more wrong each time she mentions it again.
    • Hyacinth insisting on singing, and the pained reactions of everyone else.
    • Hyacinth is chased by varying amorous men and later ponders they haven't "seen an attractive woman for quite a long time."
    • Someone will pronounce Hyacinth's surname as it is spelt, and she will correct them with an air of martyred patience.
    • Hyacinth makes most visitors to her house leave their shoes outside, especially tradesmen. In one episode, she makes the vicar do so, and Richard as well.
      Vicar: (seeing Richard taking his shoes off) You too, Richard?
      Richard: Oh yes. I once left a mark on the wood block, in 1968.
    • Emmet's suggestions for excuses when he wants Elizabeth to tell her he's not available.
    • The very manual control of Onslow and Daisy's TV.
    • Elizabeth breaking Hyacinth's china, later mugs, and the ways she tries to avoid this.
    • Hyacinth's senile Daddy runs away to cause chaos at the worst of moments.
    • Hyacinth constantly micromanaging Richard's driving, usually with "keep your eyes on the road, dear", just after she has told him to watch something else.
    • Also, Daddy's discreetly off-screen (mostly) adventures.
    • Hyacinth's habit of telling Richard what to do while he's driving, and her opinions on what things are worth a "For goodness' sake Richard, watch out".
    • Daisy being in amorous mood, and Onslow being decidedly not.
    • Rose's manifold romantic adventures, especially with men who should not be chasing skirts to begin with.
    • Hyacinth turns every instance of her son or father doing something unsightly into virtues. Thusly, Daddy was riding a bike buck naked because he was practicing for the bi-annual Senior Bike Marathon when he encountered a poor homeless person and valiantly gave away all his clothes, and so on.
    • Every time Onslow and Daisy park their old, run down car, its exhaust pipe explodes with clouds of smoke.
    • Hyacinth will often have a flash of inspiration in the middle of the night, which she will excitedly wake Richard with. This is often preceded with enough Hollywood Darkness for the viewer to see the time on her alarm clock.
    • The milkman or postman will attempt, unsuccessfully, to deliver to the Buckets' front door and leave before Hyacinth comes out.
    • Although Hyacinth has great pride in her "white Slimline telephone with recall facility", and is sometimes seen polishing it, occasionally the characters use a phone booth; which is always a traditional red British telephone box.
      • When Richard has forgotten their wedding anniversary, he sneaks to a phone box to order a present for Hyacinth.
        Richard: Excuse me, but are you married by any chance? Well, have you ever forgotten your wedding anniversary? Then you'll understand my urgency.
      • Daisy (accompanied by Onslow and Rose) calls Hyacinth from a phone box.
        Hyacinth: Why are you calling from a payphone? Oh, Onslow's been cut off again; surprise, surprise.
      • Hyacinth loses her temper when somebody else gets into a phone box just ahead of her. Richard famously stands up to her in this scene.
        Hyacinth: That's my call you're making!
        Caller: I don't think you need a telephone, with your voice.
        Richard: GET BACK IN THE CAR!
    • When Emmet plays the piano, he will often lean on the keyboard in despair when he hears he has been invited to Hyacinth's. He also heralds Hyacinth's arrival with the Standard Snippet Chopin's funeral march.
    • Elizabeth and Emmet travel somewhere, saying it is such a relief to get out of the house, away from Hyacinth; only to find the woman herself at their destination. On one occasion, this realisation dawns when they hear Hyacinth's voice from afar, and they whisper in unison "Hyacinth!".
  • Scary Flashlight Face: In "Let there be light", Richard has been volunteered by Hyacinth to mend the church hall's electrics. He reluctantly makes his way under the stage, in a dark space which is full of junk; and is suddenly startled by the presence of the vicar, who reveals himself by shining a torch to his face. The vicar claims he is meditating, as he always does before bring-and-buy sales, but it is most likely he is hiding from Hyacinth.
  • Selective Obliviousness: The source of much of the show's comedy. There are occasional hints that Hyacinth knows full well what other people think of her, or that her last name really is pronounced "Bucket" (Richard outright says this at one point), or that her son is gay, or that her father is nothing but a senile old lecher (who was also a perpetually drunken wastrel in his younger days) but just refuses to accept them due to her Pride. Hyacinth is a very British character in that respect. Arthur Lowe's iconic portrayal of Captain Mainwaring has a lot of that sort of self-conscious self-importance about him, but was actually quite brave when it came to it. David Jason's portrayal of Del-boy Trotter was mostly of a failure with ideas above his station, but with a strong sense of responsibility - he had mostly brought up Rodney due to their father's failures, and it never occurred to him to desert Raquel when she fell unexpectedly pregnant.
  • Serial Homewrecker: A number of Rose's boyfriends are married, and at one point in the show she laments that "they always go back to their wives in the end".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Hyacinth has a strong tendency to call a spade something entirely more elegant: some memorable examples include "waterside supper with riparian entertainment" (which she had to actually look up in the dictionary to find the fanciest words for, and everyone else calls a "riverside pique-nique"), and "distributing gifts to the poor". It's sometimes made fun of (you know, even more than usual) when she needs to describe something but struggles to come up with expressions worth her standing.
    Hyacinth: (desperately to Richard) You won't leave me here alone, with my matching executive luggage with the genuine leather embellishments and initials??
    Richard: I wouldn't dare.
  • Sexy Priest: The new Vicar. His wife knows this, and has to remind him (and put up a sign) to keep away from the ladies. Of course, she always finds Rose wrapped around him.
    Rose: You didn't tell me he was young!
  • Ship Tease:
    • Richard and Elizabeth might have been much happier people if they'd married each other. The Christmas episode has Richard and Elizabeth kissing under the mistletoe and Richard gets reprimanded by Hyacinth for trying to go back in for seconds.
    • Richard was very happy to help Rose out of the car when she was wearing a short skirt and she was happy when she had to be pressed into the back seat against Richard, who didn't mind it, either.
    • There's some between Hyacinth and Onslow: When Onslow kisses Hyacinth, mistaking her for Elizabeth, Hyacinth's mood improves considerably. Then, on the QE2, Hyacinth leaves Richard sitting to go dance with Onslow.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: Hyacinth and Richard get stuck in a traffic jam on the way to their cruise on the QE2. Hyacinth works out an alternative route, saying it is a short cut, taking them on increasing rural roads, until they end up in a field. Richard notices that she has the atlas open at the wrong page, and predictably, they miss the ship.
  • A Simple Plan: Hyacinth's attempts at raising her social status.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Another interpretation of Daisy's attraction to Onslow: despite the odd flourish here and there, she never shows any indication that she even finds other men attractive let alone possessing the desire to leave her pretty neglectful husband.
  • Skirts and Ladders: Invoked by Daisy in a Christmas Episode when she refuses to climb up a ladder to see a lifeboat on these grounds. However, this is averted in another episode, where Rose climbs a ladder wearing a very short skirt.
    Hyacinth: Rose, I forbid you to go up that ladder wearing that skirt.
    Rose: (cheekily) Do you want me to take it off, then?
    Hyacinth: No, of course not! (to herself) Though I doubt if anybody would notice the difference.
  • Sleeping Single: Hyacinth and Richard have to do to this in their country apartment (as it is too small to accommodate a double bed).
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Ambitious, uppity social climber Hyacinth on one side; slovenly, perennially unemployed Onslow and Daisy and voracious mantrap Rose on the other. The fact that Hyacinth, Daisy, and Rose's senile father lives with Daisy, Onslow, and Rose and yet Hyacinth remains devoted to him means their paths cross on a regular basis, and the three slobs are generally the ones who get the last laugh in such meetings.
  • 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 have 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".
    • Also in the Cruise Special, she telephones the ship when she is left behind. An officer suggests that she tries to "catch them up". Hyacinth replies "Important as I am in local circles, I have not risen to the level where I can walk on water".
  • Social Climber: Hyacinth fits this trope to a T. She probably will not stop until she becomes queen, noting how fitting it is for her to act out a role as one in a play.
  • Sneakers of Sneaking: When Hyacinth is determined to catch the paper boy to check if his ears are clean, Richard comments that she'll find it difficult to catch him, because he'll be wearing trainers, and sneaking up quietly. When she does try to catch him, he takes advantage of his footwear to run away as fast as he can.
  • Spelling for Emphasis: As well as frequently spelling out her surname "My name is Bouquet, B-U-C-K-E-T", Hyacinth once says to Richard "T-O-W-N, dear, town. It's that large thing with all the shops."
  • Status Quo Is God: Rose continually says she'll stop pursuing married men, but it never lasts more than an episode.
    Rose (excitedly): I've come to a decision! I've decided to give up men.
    Onslow: Yep, third time this week.
    Daisy: And it's only Wednesday.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • Hyacinth 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.
    • Just about everyone, but especially Emmet is this when Hyacinth is around.
  • Strictly Formula: Every episode is basically a series of Running Gags with a few details tweaked. A standard for all Roy Clarke works.
    • Hyacinth will have a new scheme to help her climb the social ladder. Richard, Elizabeth and Emmet (and sometimes The Vicar) will be roped in to assist her.
    • A neighbour/postman/milkman will approach the house and unsuccessfully try to avoid Hyacinth.
    • Someone will pronounce Hyacinth's surname as it is spelt, and she will correct them with an air of martyred patience.
    • Elizabeth will be invited to coffee (during which she will smash a cup).
    • Hyacinth and Richard will go for a drive somewhere.
    • Hyacinth will get a phone call. It will be from her son, one of her siblings or a Chinese restaurant.
    • When Hyacinth mentions her (mostly unseen) sister Violet, she will mention the "sauna, swimming pool, room for a pony". At one point Elizabeth mouths this as Hyacinth says it; at another, Hyacinth says instead "sauna, swimming pool, and a musical bidet... classical, of course."
    • There'll be a couple of scenes involving her Obnoxious In-Laws, who will later show up to embarrass Hyacinth.
    • Rose will be infatuated with her latest boyfriend.
    • Daddy will be up to his usual bizarre antics.
    • The episode will finish with Hyacinth's plan Gone Horribly Wrong and she'll probably end up falling in a river, getting covered in mud or being chased by something (or someone).
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A church blows up, and in another scene, the aftermath of a long-ago car repair session is treated as the aftermath of a recent silent explosion.
  • Talking with Signs: In an episode where Bruce and Violet are arguing loudly in their house, Hyacinth distracts the crowd outside by holding up signs telling them which songs to sing, to drown out the noise.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Elizabeth, who is extremely tense when the overbearing Hyacinth is offering her one thing after another.
    Elizabeth: (almost hysterical) Please, Hyacinth, I'm perfectly happy!!
    (The telephone rings: Elizabeth screams and spills her coffee)
  • Theme Naming: Hyacinth and her sisters are all named for flowers. Is that why she insists on pronouncing it "Bouquet"?
  • The Three Certainties in Life: One gag compared being invited to one of Hyacinth Buck... err... Bouquet's candlelight suppers to the inevitability of death and taxes.
  • There Will Be Toilet Paper: When Richard is shaving, several times Hyacinth grabs his arm when announcing her latest wild idea, causing him to cut himself.
    Richard: One of these days, you're going to find me lying in a pool of blood.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Onslow and Daisy love Bacon Butties. Onslow is also partial to Beer and Crisps (potato chips).
  • Tied Up on the Phone: Hyacinth sometimes gets tangled in the cable of her prized white Slimline telephone with recall facility, complete with absurdly long cord.
    Daisy: I remember when I used to interest you far more than crisps...
    Onslow: Weren't as many flavors back then!
  • Truth in Television: During the time period when the show was originally filmed, it was not uncommon for women Hyacinth's age to turn as fretful as she does as they aged, so it's quite probable that she was far less insecure and desperate when Richard first married her.
  • Tunnel of Love: In the seaside funfair episode, Hyacinth rides a ghost train with Mr Farrini lusting after her, who handcuffs himself to her. In the same episode, Mr Cooper-Bassett takes his wife of twenty-five years on the same ghost train, because they did this when they first met. Once on the train, Hyacinth accosts him from the car in front, telling him she is still expecting him at one of her candlelight suppers.
  • Unexpected Kindness: In Season 5, Episode 3, Hyacinth is extremely lovely and nice to Richard for the first time, making him a full English breakfast and cuddling with him in bed. It turns out it's their anniversary, and Richard forgot to buy Hyacinth a present.
  • Unnamed Parent: Hyacinth, Daisy, Rose, and Violet's father, who is only referred to as "Daddy" throughout the series and never given a name.
  • The Unpronounceable:
    • Rose's Polish fiancé, whom Rose, Daisy, and Onslow settle to call "Mr. Whatsit."
    • And Mrs. Thing.
  • Unstoppable Mailman: Michael the postman - and if you think the feats he goes to deliver his mail aren't that difficult, wait until you see Hyacinth. Averted slightly when Michael becomes fed-up and actually pays a schoolboy a whole pound of his own money to give Hyacinth her mail for him.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Hyacinth, big time. She is snobby, self-obsessed, attention seeking and treats her husband like a glorified servant. She also has a complete lack of self-awareness; she perceives herself to be a local celebrity who is loved and admired by many, whereas in fact everyone beyond her family who knows her is terrified of her and will do anything to escape her company (to the point even her postman dreads having to put letters through her door). Her family may be lazy slobs, but next to Hyacinth they look comparitively normal.
  • Upper-Class Equestrian: Hyacinth often refers to her sister Violet who "has room for a pony", although she does not actually have a pony. In "Please Mind Your Head", Hyacinth and Richard wear riding gear to meet Elizabeth and Emmet, who are also in riding gear, having followed Hyacinth's instructions to "wear something tweedy". Hilarity ensues when Emmet insists they actually do ride horses, about which Hyacinth has no idea.
    Richard: Why not just tell them that we can't ride?
    Hyacinth: I don't know that I can't ride, I've never tried! There's every possibility that I might ride beautifully. The clothes fit.
  • The Vicar: Michael the vicar, who is terrified of both Hyacinth (for being loud and blustery) and Rose (for having a huge sexual appetite).
    "It's the Bucket woman!"
  • Video Inside, Film Outside: Averted; inside and outside, almost the entirety of the series was shot on video, with only occasional bursts of film.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Daddy and (relatively speaking) Hyacinth respectively.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: In the episode "What to wear when yachting", Hyacinth tells everybody that she and Richard are going "yachting", when actually all they are doing is spending a night on a moored boat, which turns out to be a very basic one.
  • Westminster Chimes: The Buckets' doorbell plays the first notes of this tune. Upon hearing the doorbell, visitors inevitably roll their eyes as though they're thinking, "Good God, even Hyacinth's doorbell is pretentious!"
  • What Does She See in Him?: Daisy and Onslow, according to Hyacinth. Even Onslow himself cannot fathom what Daisy sees in him. However, it's probably more applicable to Hyacinth's marriage to Richard, as an inversion. In Richard's case, one gets the impression that they fell in love and married before she began her social climbing in earnest. It's also suggested (and the actor has said in interviews) that Richard is quite lazy, (but nothing like as bad as Onslow) and appreciates having decisions made for him. Routledge herself once emphasized this by stating that Hyacinth never fails to cook, clean and iron for her husband.
  • White Glove Test: A test Hyacinth Bucket often does (yielding a very low success rate).
  • Woken Up at an Ungodly Hour: A Running Gag is that Hyacinth suddenly wakes Richard in the night, to tell him about her latest grand and far-fetched idea. This is usually accompanied by the sight of their alarm clock in Hollywood Darkness.
  • Women Are Wiser: Inverted; Richard is a lot nicer, more practical and likable than Hyacinth. He also has the common sense thing going on, while Hyacinth... not so much. The trend continues with Daisy and Rose, who have common sense but are often Distracted by the Sexy, and Michael-the-vicar's wife, who's having trouble understanding why everyone dreads Hyacinth (at first).

It's pronounced 'Tropé'.