"Keeping Up Appearances" was a 44-episode, British TV sitcom that ran for five seasons between 1990 and 1995, with several specials filmed through 1997. The show's primary character was Hyancinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge), who always pronounced her last name as 'Bouquet' to make it sound as impressive as possible. She was obsessed with making her family appear as affluent and upper class as possible, which involved keeping her home immaculately clean and bragging to everyone about any new acquisition. While Hyancinth believes that she is admired and well respected by her piers, the reality is that no one wants anything to do with her. Her husband, Richard Bucket (Clive Swift), does not share Hyacinth's obsession, but he accommodates her as best as he can. Unfortunately for Hyacinth, her various plans to improve their station in life are often sidetracked by issues from her less affluent sisters or her senile father. The people that are most intimidated by Hyacinth are her next-door neighbor Elizabeth Hawksworth Warden (Josephine Tewson) and her brother Emmet Hawksworth (David Griffin, who appeared in the second season onward). The local church vicar, Michael (Jeremy Gittins), and his wife (played by Marion Barron) also try to avoid Hyacinth as much as possible.
Hyacinth's three sisters live to varying degrees of affluence. Daisy (Judy Cornwell) and her blue-collar husband Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes) live in a row house that is in dire need of repair, with a wrecked car parked out front and an unkempt interior. Hyancinth's unmarried sister Rose (played by Shirley Stelfox in 1990 and Mary Millar between 1991 and 1995) lives with Daisy and Onslow and enjoys spending time with many men to the chagrin of Hyancinth. Hyancinth's only affluent sister, Violet (Anna Dawson), is rarely seen, but Hyacinth often speaks with her on the telephone. However, Violet's husband Bruce (John Evitts), who is also rarely seen, often has a penchant for wearing women's clothes to Hyacinth's embarrassment. Their senile father (George Webb) lives with Daisy and Onslow, and has a tendency to run away and get himself into all sorts of trouble.
This 4-DVD set includes the following:
* Volume #5, entitled "Everything's Coming Up Hyacinth", includes all seven episodes from the third season.
* Volume #6, entitled "Some Like it Hyacinth", includes all seven episodes from the fourth season.
* Volume #7, entitled "Living the Hyacinth Life", includes the first six episodes of the fifth season and interviews with Patricia Rutledge and Clive Swift.
* Volume #8, entitled "Hats Off to Hyacinth", includes the last four episodes of the fifth season and the 1997 special "The Memoirs of Hyancinth Bucket".
Though "Keeping Up Appearances" is not as well known in the U.S. as "Absolutely Fabulous" (nor is it as outrageous), it is a very good example of British comedy. Overall, I rank this 4-DVD set with a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.