Keeping Up Appearances is a British sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke for the BBC. Centred on the life of eccentric, social-climbing snob Hyacinth Bucket, the sitcom follows her obsessive and determined attempts to impress in middle class society and portray herself as more affluent than she truly is.
The show stars Patricia Routledge, who received two BAFTA nominations for her performance as Hyacinth. Broadcast between 1990 and 1995 on BBC One, the sitcom spawned five series and 44 episodes—4 of which are Christmas specials. Keeping Up Appearances was a great success in the UK and also captivated a large audience in the US, Canada, and Australia, but production ceased in 1995 when Routledge wanted to move on to other projects. Since its original release, all five series—including Christmas specials—are available on DVD. In 2004, the sitcom was ranked 12th in the countdown of Britain’s Best Sitcom. It is regularly repeated worldwide.
The story of the rise of a madame of a suburban brothel catering to older men, inspired by the real experiences of Cynthia Payne. The story follows Christine Painter (Julie Walters) as the down-at-heel waitress who, with the help of prostitute Shirley (Shirley Stelfox) and cross-dressing Wing Commander Morten (Alec McCowen), seeks to up her earnings by turning her suburban home into a brothel. Before long she and her girls are chaining up judges, spanking Generals and attending to the needs of Honourable Members. Christine sees herself as providing a vital service to these harmless pervs and when finally the house is busted and the case comes to court, it’s fair to say that the presiding judge isn’t unfamiliar with her work.