• June 16, 2024


From ridiculous Hyacinth to unkempt Onslow, BBC’s Keeping Up Appearances was filled with memorable characters played by a supremely talented cast. We take a look at what happened to the actors after the show

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Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth receives a wrong call

Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth receives a wrong call

It was one of the best loved sitcoms of the 1990s. The nation fell in love with social-climbing snob Hyacinth Bouquet and her long-suffering husband Richard – not to mention her slobby brother-in-law Onslow and “tart with a heart” sister Rose.

Keeping Up Appearances became a global success for the BBC, with the programme purchased 992 times by channels in other countries including the US, Canada and Australia. Back in the UK, its last ever episode in 1995 attracted 16.73m viewers. Now, more than three decades on, we take a look at what happened to the cast of BBC’s Keeping Up Appearances.

Patricia Routledge

Actress Patricia wearing a black suit and white top smiles for the camera

Actress Patricia at Ronnie Corbett’s memorial service (Image:

Getty Images Europe)

Patricia wearing a grey shirt and white t-shirt underneath

The star is also an accomplished theatre performer (Image:

Getty Images)

The star of the sitcom, Hyacinth Bouquet was renowned for panicking when husband Richard was at the wheel and losing her temper if anyone pronounced her last name “Bucket”. Patricia quickly moved on after the show’s five year run finished in 1995 with a lead role in the BBC’s Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.

The star is known for her success in the theatre, performing on Broadway and winning Tony and Olivier awards before she appeared in Keeping Up Appearances. Now 94, Patricia was made a Dame in 2017 and last year received honorary membership of the Royal Academy of Music.

Clive Swift

Patient husband Richard Bouquet gained a great deal of sympathy from the viewers for stoically putting up with Hyacinth’s ridiculous behaviour. Following the show, Clive appeared in the most successful of the Doctor Who Christmas specials playing Mr Copper, alongside Kylie Minogue.

The Shakespeare-trained actor was also a singer and musician, touring the UK with his show Richard Bouquet Overflows. He was married to novelist Margaret Drabble until they divorced after 15 years, with three children. Clive’s last appearance on TV was on ITV’s Midsomer Murders in 2017 and he passed away in February 2019 aged 82.

Geoffrey Hughes

Onslow and his wife Rose were popular characters in Keeping Up Appearances (Image:

Getty Images)

The star is also known for Coronation Street and The Royle Family (Image:


Series creator Roy Clarke said Onslow was his favourite character in the show and the self-proclaimed layabout appeared in many hilarious scenes. Known for his white vest and baseball cap, Onslow liked betting, beer and television but was surprisingly well read and knowledgeable about technology and philosophy.

Actor Geoffrey, who had previously played Eddie Yeats in ITV’s Coronation Street, later starred as Twiggy in the BBC’s The Royle Family and played Vernon Scripps in ITV’s Heartbeat. The star died in 2012 from prostate cancer, survived by wife Sue.

Shirley Stelfox and Mary Millar

The first actress who played Rose is better known as Emmerdale’s Edna Birch

Mary played man-eater Mary for four seasons of the sitcom (Image:

Getty Images)

Hyacinth’s man-eating younger sister Rose, who horrified her sibling with her short skirts and heavy make-up, was played by two actresses on the show. Shirley appeared in the first series and went onto a long-running role in ITV’s Emmerdale as cutting Edna Birch. Married twice with a daughter and two step-children, the actress passed away in 2015 aged 74.

Actress Mary took on the part of Rose for the final four series, with the veteran West End performer returning to theatre afterwards to play Mrs Potts in Beauty And The Beast. Married with a daughter, the star died in November 1998 from ovarian cancer, aged 62.

Judy Cornwell

Judy appeared in theatre as well as many popular TV shows (Image:

Getty Images)

Sisters Rose, Hyacinth and Daisy generated many laughs on the sitcom (Image:

Getty Images)

Sister to Hyacinth and Rose, Daisy was always up for romance with husband Onslow who wasn’t so keen. There was famously a fourth sister called Violet, whom Hyacinth loved to boast about because of her Mercedes and house with a sauna and “room for a pony”.

Actress Judy starred as Queenie Trott in EastEnders after the show as well as appearing in Birds Of A Feather. Now 83, the star who is married with a son had roles in ITV’s Midsomer Murders and Heartbeat and has written several novels.

Josephine Tewson

Actress Josephine worked with some of telly’s best known names (Image:

Getty Images)

Elizabeth Warden was intimated by her domineering neighbour Hyacinth, who often invited her round for coffee which she tended to spill in a panic. Josephine, who died last year aged 91, starred alongside some of the most famous names in telly in her 50-year long career. She was married twice, firstly to actor Leonard Rossiter and latterly to dental surgeon Henry Newman.

The actress also starred in LWT’s Frost On Sunday alongside Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett and the BBC’s The Two Ronnies. After the sitcom she played highly strung librarian Miss Davenport in BBC’s Last Of The Summer Wine and toured the country in her 80s in a one woman show about her work, Still Keeping Up Appearances.

David Griffin

Actor David’s character Emmet was terrified of Hyacinth (Image:


Emmet often stayed with Josephine Tewson’s character Elizabeth (Image:

Alan Davidson/REX/Shutterstock)


Elizabeth’s brother Emmet was a divorced musician who often stayed over with his sister. He was terrified of her neighbour Hyacinth, who loved to sing at him so she could appear in one of his musical plays.

Before Keeping Up Appearances actor David, 80, starred as Squadron Leader Clive Dempster in Hi-de-Hi! and after the show he linked up with actress Su Pollard again to tour the world in stage show The Good Sex Guide. The star, who married with two children, has also appeared in several pantos.

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