Sunday, 10 July 2011
Keeping Up Appearances the excellent sitcom starred the superb Patricia Routledge as eccentric, social-climbing snob Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced bouquet by Hyacinth, but pronouncedbucket by everyone else). Created and written by Roy Clark, it aired on BBC1 from 1990 to 1995 — spanning five series and 44 episodes — four of which are Christmas specials.
In 2004 the show came 12th in the Britain's Best Sit-Com poll that aired on BBC2. It is regularly repeated on BBC 1 and on G.O.L.D. All five series — including Christmas specials — are available on DVD. The show has aired in many countries throughout the world, including present-day reruns weekly on PBS in the USA.
Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge) — who insists her surname is pronounced Bouquet — is a social-climbing snob who passes her time visiting stately homes, hosting "executive" style candlelight suppers (with her Royal Worcester, her Avignon China and Royal Doulton china with "the hand-painted periwinkles"), bragging of her "white slim line telephone with automatic redial", and maintaining the integrity of her woodblock floor, wallpaper, and status in the community, name dropping at any hint of an opportunity.
Such excessive snobbery makes life difficult for those around her, especially long-suffering hen-pecked husband Richard (Clive Swift). Most people either dislike or are afraid of Hyacinth, to the point of running or hiding when seeing her or hearing her voice, exclaiming "The Bucket Woman!". The only recurring character who actively seeks out Hyacinth's company is the Major (Peter Cellier) (although a few other people show interest in Hyacinth in some episodes, e.g. Signore Ferrini, the Commodore, the incoherent rural man, etc.)
However one relative Hyacinth isn't ashamed of is wealthy sister Violet (Anna Dawson); the leading lady will often boast to visitors of Violet's home — a luxury bungalow — and of how this sister has a "Mercedes, Sauna, and room for a pony", whilst trying to keep the oddities of Violet's cross-dressing husband, Bruce, a secret. (Bruce's cross dressing is revealed to Hyacinth in series 2.) Hyacinth also tries to impress people with the intellectual prowess of her beloved, but unseen, son Sheridan (he takes courses in needlework at a Polytechnic), inviting the derision of those she is desperately trying to impress. She often begins the stories with "I'm sure you've heard about Sheridan" to which the listener responds "frequently". Sheridan makes frequent phone calls from his polytechnic asking for money, much to the despair of Richard. It is also implied many times throughout the series that Sheridan, who lives with a man named Tarquin (who makes his own curtains, wears silk pyjamas, and has won prizes for embroidery), is gay. Hyacinth, however, seems blissfully oblivious to the fact.
Richard tries to keep his head down and cope with his domineering wife, always getting dragged into her elaborate but unsuccessful plots to avoid the family or to help his wife up the social ladder. Richard initially works for the local council; however, he reluctantly accepts early retirement at the turn of series three.
Hyacinth's brother-in-law, Onslow, sympathises with Richard, only too aware of how difficult Hyacinth is to live with. Onslow calls Richard "Dickey", which Hyacinth does not like. Onslow and his wife, Hyacinth's sister Daisy, are idle slobs who live with younger sister Rose and their senile father, referred to by Hyacinth as "Daddy". Their home is a run-down council house, where Daisy and Onslow spend their time drinking, eating and watching television, whilst Rose spends her time in short skirts and high heels, trying to seduce married men, including Hyacinth’s
Rose might best be described as a full-time "other woman" and part-time door-to-door cosmetics sales girl; she is forever unlucky in love, as her lovers often "sneak back" to their wives. The men in her life have included the following: an unnamed 17 year-old "toy boy," Boris, C.P. Benedict, Charlie, Dennis, Derrick, Edgar, Mr. Bickerstaff, Mr. Blankensopp, Mr. Butterfield, Mr. Crabtree, Mr. Finchley, Mr. Halliwell, Mr. Heppelwhite, Mr. Marinopolous, Mr. Merchesson, Mr. Merriweather, Mr. Murray, Mr. Ripley, Mr. Smith, Mr. Sudbury, Reg, Roger, and Mr. Whatsit? (having an unpronounceable name of Polish extraction, he is also referred to as "Cuddly Chops").
Meanwhile the senile "Daddy" pinches women's bottoms and frequently believes he is back in the trenches of the Second World War. Onslow owns a dog, who lives outside in a ruined Hillman Avenger. The dog always manages to startle Hyacinth into the hedge by barking (though he never barks at Richard, who once actually happily waved at the dog - knowing what was coming for Hyacinth).
Neighbour Elizabeth (Josephine Tewson) is frequently invited round to the Buckets' for coffee. Terrified of spilling drinks in house-proud Hyacinth's home, her nerves get the better of her and she invariably does. She eventually moves to a beaker and in one episode, a pink sippy cup with taped on lid. Her brother, Emmet (David Griffin) arrives at the beginning of series two to live with his sister after a "messy divorce". He produces and directs an amateur Operatic Society, and quickly becomes terrified of Hyacinth, who gives broad hints by "singing at" him, that he should give her a part in his productions.
|Series||Premiere||Last in series||Episodes|
|1||29 October 1990||3 December 1990||6|
|2||1 September 1991||3 November 1991||10 + 1 Special (25 Dec 1991)|
|3||6 September 1992||18 October 1992||7|
|4||5 September 1993||17 October 1993||7 + 2 Specials (26 Dec 1993 & 25 Dec 1994)|
|5||3 September 1995||5 November 1995||10 + 1 Special (25 Dec 1995)|
|"I've Got You Under My Skin"|
|Single by The Four Seasons|
|from the album 2nd Vault of Gold Hits|
|B-side||Huggin' My Pillow (from the albumRag Doll)|
|The Four Seasons singles chronology|
Richard the Lionheart, the King of England, is taken captive by Leopold of Austria while returning from the crusades, his brother John (Claude Rains) takes power and proceeds to oppress the Saxon commoners. Prince John raises their taxes, supposedly to raise Richard's ransom, but in reality to secure his own position on the throne.
One man stands in his way, the Saxon Robin, Earl of Locksley (Errol Flynn). He acquires a loyal follower when he saves Much (Herbert Mundin) from being arrested by Sir Guy of Gisborne (Basil Rathbone) for poaching one of the king's deer. Robin goes alone to see Prince John at Gisbourne's castle and announces to John's assembled supporters and a contemptuous Maid Marian (Olivia De Havilland) that he will do all in his power to oppose John and restore Richard to his rightful place. He then escapes, in spite of the efforts of John's men.
His lands and title now forfeit, Robin takes refuge in Sherwood Forest with his friend Will Scarlet (Partric Knowles). There they meet Little John (Alan Hale, Sr.), whom Robin recruits after a bruising quaterstaff bout. Other men join their growing band. Later, Robin provokes Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallett) into a swordfight, but then persuades the friar into joining him to provide spiritual guidance to the outlaws. Soon, Prince John and his Norman cronies find themselves harassed beyond all bearing with many of their troops receiving instant deadly retribution for their abuses courtesy of the Merry Men's arrows.
One day, Robin and his men capture a large party of Normans transporting taxes through Sherwood. Among Robin's "guests" are Gisbourne, the cowardly Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville Coooper), and Maid Marian. Robin and his men "liberate" the tax money, swearing to a man to contribute it towards King Richard's ransom. At first, Marian is disdainful of Robin and his "band of cut-throats", but becomes convinced of his good intentions. Eventually Robin lets the humiliated Gisbourne and sheriff go, telling them that they have Marian to thank for their lives.
The Sheriff then comes up with a cunning scheme to capture Robin. He suggests to Prince John that he announce an archery tournament, with the grand prize a golden arrow to be presented by Maid Marian, knowing that Robin will be unable to resist the challenge. All goes as planned; Robin identifies himself by winning the competition and is taken prisoner. Gisbourne sentences him to be hanged. However, Marian warns Robin's men, and they manage to rescue him on his way to the gallows. Later, in the dark of night, Robin sneaks into the castle to thank her. Marian and Robin declare their love for each other.
Meanwhile, King Richard (Ian Hunter) returns to England disguised as a monk, but is recognized at an inn by the Bishop of the Black Canons (Montagu Love) after he overhears one of Richard's men call him "sire". The traitorous bishop hurries to inform Prince John. Upon receiving the news, John and Gisbourne plot to dispose of Richard quietly before he can raise an army. Dickon Malbete (Harry Cording), a disgraced former knight, is sent to assassinate him in return for the restoration of his rank and Robin's estate. Marian overhears them and writes a note warning Robin, but Gisbourne finds it and has her arrested and condemned to death for treason. Marian's nurse Bess (Una O'Connor) informs her boyfriend Much, who intercepts and kills Dickon after a desperate struggle.
Richard and his escort travel to Sherwood Forest to find Robin. When Richard is certain of Robin's loyalty, he reveals his identity. Then they learn that John intends to have himself crowned king by the Bishop of the Black Canons in Nottingham the next day.
Knowing that the castle is too strong to take by force, Robin decides to use guile, visiting the bishop and "persuading" him to include Robin and his men, in disguise, in his entourage. Through this ruse, they gain entry to the castle and interrupt John's coronation. A melee breaks out, during which Robin and Gisbourne engage in a prolonged swordfight. Gisbourne is finally slain, and Robin rescues Marian from her cell.
Richard is restored to the throne; he exiles his brother, pardons the outlaws, returns Robin's earldom and orders him to marry Lady Marian. Robin exclaims, "May I obey all your commands with equal pleasure, sire!"
Due to the movie's popularity, Errol Flynn's name and image became inextricably linked with that of Robin Hood in the public eye, even more so than Douglas Fairbanks, who had played the role previously in 1922.
This was the third film to pair Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland (after Captain Blood and The Charge of the Light Brigade). They would ultimately star together in eight films.
Scenes and costumes worn by the characters have been imitated and spoofed endlessly. For instance, in the Bugs Bunny animated short film, Rabbit Hood, Bugs is continually told by a dim-witted Little John that "Robin Hood will soon be here." When Bugs finally meets Robin at the end of the film, he is stunned to find that it is Errol Flynn, in a spliced-in clip from this film. Other parodies were Daffy Duck and Porky Pig in Robin Hood Daffy and Goofy and Black Pete in Goof Troop's Goofin' Hood & His Melancholy Men.
Trigger (then named Golden Cloud) was the horse ridden by Olivia de Havilland in the film. Roy Rogers admired the horse so much that he bought Trigger to use in his own films. This eventually made Trigger one of the most famous animals in show business.
|The Adventures of Robin Hood|
|Directed by||Michael Curtiz|
|Produced by||Hal B. Wallis|
|Written by||Norman Reilly Raine|
Seton I. Miller
Olivia De Havilland
|Music by||Eric Wolfgang Korngold|
|Editing by||Ralph Dawson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release date(s)||May 14, 1938|
|Running time||102 minutes|
2. One Monkey Won't Stop The Show
3. You're On My Mind
5. She'll Return It
6. Inside Looking Out
7. See See Rider
8. Gin House Blues
10. What Am I Living For
11. Sweet Little Sixteen
12. I Put A Spell On You