It’s good to have Keeping Up Appearances back on Afternoon Tea. The show’s writer, Roy Clarke, has been tickling our funny bones for years, not just with the antics of Hyacinth Bucket, but also also as the writer of Last of the Summer Wine, Open All Hours and Still Open All Hours.
It should come as no surprise that Clarke, who turns 90 on January 28th, hails from Yorkshire, having been born in the village of Austerfield near Doncaster in the south of the county. Clarke still lives in Yorkshire, in Goule, just 30 minutes away from where he grew up and reportedly Open All Hours was based on Clarke’s upbringing.
One thing that all of Clarke’s comedies seem to have in common is that they feature strong female characters. The writer’s inspiration for these women we all love so much stems from when he was working in the police force in a coal mining community. As Clarke told the British Classic Comedy on-line publication, “the workers would come home after a hard day’s work and want to drink, relax, socialize. They were backed by these strong women keeping it all together.”
Of all the strong women Clarke has created over his 50 years plus writing career, Hyacinth Bucket was reportedly the most true to life. As Clarke told the Daily Mirror newspaper, “Hyacinth Bucket was the least invented of all the characters I’ve found in my head over the years. I took her largely from life.”
One thing Clarke did invent was where Hyacinth and her husband Richard Bucket reside. While the Hyacinths Clarke encountered as a youngster must have lived in Yorkshire, the Buckets live somewhere in the West Midlands. Although Clarke has never actually revealed in which town. There are several references to the West Midlands throughout the series though. In the episode titled “The Hostess,” for instance, Hyacinth brags that she could become “the Barbara Cartland of the West Midlands Social Circuit Scene.” There has also been at least one episode in which police officers wear West Midlands sweaters. Another clue to the region are the West Midland buses seen throughout the series.
Keeping Up Appearances airs weekday afternoons on Afternoon Tea at 2:30pm.
You can now, by the way, enjoy Afternoon Tea away from the comforts of your home on any mobile device, such as your phone or tablet. As long as you’re in an area where MPT is available, Afternoon Tea programs are now being live streamed daily. Just go to: https://www.mpt.org/anywhere/live-stream-mpt/.
In addition, if you subscribe to YouTube TV, you can watch the live stream of MPT’s main channel on that service.
It should be noted that Afternoon Tea programs are available only as they are aired each day. They are not available on demand. MPT Passport has endeavored to add selected British mystery series and is now featuring DCI Banks and Whitechapel. Members of the station can enjoy these programs on MPT Passport now.
To contact Heather:
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117