Several years ago, we were extremely fortunate to have interviewed Patricia Routledge as part of The Funny Ladies of British Comedy program for PBS. Having never met, needless to say, we were probably so over prepared for the interview given that our obvious frame of reference was her portrayal of the character of Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances.
That said, without question, this was one of the highlights of all the British comedy interviews we’ve had the opportunity to conduct over the years. It was very clear that there was so much more to her career than Hyacinth as we talked of a long and successful resume in theatre, television and film, along with her talents as a singer. Routledge won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical on Broadway for her appearance in Darling of the Day. I mention this because one of my favorite recurring scenes in KUA is Hyacinth trying to impress Emmet with her singing prowess. Hearing this, there’s no way this person won a Tony. It really makes you cringe, especially the end of the song.
However, the interview with Patricia Routledge brought everything full circle. Her comment that one has to be able to be a good singer to be able to sing off key certainly rang true when you here this long lost recording. Immediate reaction is that there’s no way this is the same person, but it definitely is. Next time you watch Keeping Up Appearances, think of the recording below and then recognize what an amazing actress and singer Patricia Routledge is. Enjoy.