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I love a good laugh and Patricia Routledge in “Keeping Up Appearances”, always delivers

By Nina Steele 

Patricia Routledge was born on February 17, 1929. She has never married and has no children. Of that, she said in a 2001 interview: “I didn’t make a decision not to be married and not to be a mother. Life just turned out like that because my involvement in acting was so total”. She is the winner of a Tony Award, an Olivier Award and a British Comedy Award. Her three awards were won in 1968, 1988 and 1991 respectively. The 1991 award was for ‘Best TV Comedy Actress’ for “Keeping Up Appearances”, which ran on BBC One from 1990 until 1995. She may have done many shows before and after “Keeping Up Appearances”, but it is the show for which she will always be remembered. It is pure comedy gold, and Patricia Routledge’s character is what makes the show the success that it is.

“Keeping Up Appearances” may have last aired in 1995, but the show remains popular to this day. It is one of those shows that I will happily watch a rerun of, for the rest of my life. I love it that much. And it seems there are many others who feel the same way. It is said that: “By February 2016, it had been sold nearly 1,000 times to overseas broadcasters, making it BBC Worldwide’s most exported television programme”.

Like I said, I love a good laugh and the subject of social climbing, which is at the heart of “Keeping Up Appearances”, is one that is of particular interest to me. If you are not a Hyacinth Bucket (the character Routledge plays in the show), chances are that you’ve met someone similar during the course of your life.

In a way, the show is a representation of much of what goes on in society today, which I suspect is another reason for its continued success. It may be social climbing and boasting in its most extreme form, but anyone who is familiar with reality TV and the likes, would see many similarities, particularly as far as extreme boasting is concerned. It is a reminder of how ridiculous it is to live one’s life constantly trying to impress.

The other day, I was going through my Facebook feed and noticed that one of the groups Facebook suggested I join, was for “Keeping Up Appearances”. How did they know I was a fan of the show, was my first thought, since I cannot recall sharing this on the platform. My suspicion was short-lived and quickly made way for laughter. Instead of anger, all it did was remind me how much I love the show. I may even join that group at some stage.

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