Keeping Up Appearances

Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth in "Keeping Up Appearances". (Photo: BBC)

Nostalgia Telly – Vintage BBC Sitcoms Are Making a Comeback

For those who follow British entertainment, you will have noticed a decided trend towards reviving TV shows of bygone days. And no wonder, the fondness for and popularity of such classic series remain fairly constant. For example, Dad’s Army, a UK comedy institution from the 60’s and 70’s, was recently adapted for the big screen and featured a star-studded ensemble as members of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard.

In fact, it was recently revealed that Keeping Up Appearances is still the most-bought BBC program by international broadcasters. (Apparently middle class snobbery is universally and cross-generationally amusing!) So beloved is Mrs. Bucket and her crew, The Telegraph has reported that a “new version of Keeping Up Appearances has the working title Young Hyacinth, and follows the character as a 19-year-old. The classic sitcom is being resurrected as part of a celebration of the corporation’s most popular comedies that is due to air this year.”

A production still from "Keeping Up Appearances" Season 1 (Photo: BBC)

Flashback Friday: ‘Keeping Up Appearances’

Two weeks and twenty-five years ago, Keeping Up Appearances debuted on the BBC. Created by acclaimed comedy writer Roy Clarke (Last of the Summer Wine and Open All Hours were also his) and directed by Harold Snoad, this fan favorite ran for five series with a total of forty-four episodes.  In many PBS viewers’ minds, Keeping Up Appearances epitomizes the term “Britcom” and it’s still regularly shown in re-runs in the UK and the US.

Is 'Endeavour' Just the Beginning? Other British TV Characters That Should Get a Prequel

 

Endeavour has recently returned to Masterpiece Mystery for a second series and I must say I find it to be the most compelling show on PBS’ very British Sunday night line-up. So far DC Morse (Shaun Evans) has solved intricate cases dealing with beauty queens, ancient artifacts, a boarding school for girls and a century’s old mass murder. In addition, I’m looking forward to discovering how the Freemasons play into all the mayhem being unleashed in Oxford.

As advertised when it first aired last summer, Endeavour is the origin story of the beloved Inspector Morse, who was played by the late John Thaw in the orignial series of the same name. This prequel is not only an opportunity to allow fans of the original series to see Morse solve a few more murders, but a peek into the past to discover how the promising young Endeavour developed into the brilliant but somewhat sullen detective he became. We get to witness his growing affinity for opera and drink, as well as get a glimpse of some people who will follow him through his police career. Fans love little homages like that and new viewers get to meet a well-written character with a definite destiny ahead of him.

The concept of the prequel got me to thinking about other series that might want to employ this narrative device. While some shows are all about character development and uncovering the layers, so to speak, there are other personalities that are so mysterious, eccentric or enigmatic you can’t help wondering how they got that way.