As the great Patricia Routledge inches closer to her 83rd birthday on Friday, 17 February, I’m reminded of a point in time in the late 1990’s that we had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview Ms. Routledge for a salute to British comedy program for broadcast on public television in the States. For weeks before the interview, we had either heard unsubstantiated stories or imagined that she was exactly like her character, Hyacinth Bucket.
Days before the interview, we had several phone calls with her to briefly discuss our line of questioning but mostly to give us both time to become comfortable with each other prior to the interview. When the day came for the interview, because of extensive preparation on both ends, it was like interviewing your favorite aunt or a close friend. We came away feeling like we had just been schooled, in an extremely positive way, in Comedy 101.
Along the way, Ms. Routledge discussed her thoughts about Hyacinth, how she felt when she heard that Clive Swift had been cast as her hapless husband, Richard, and talked about the importance of physical comedy and how Lucille Ball was ‘a goddess’.
It was several years later when we had the great good fortune to interview Ms. Routledge once again for the PBS special, Funny Ladies of British Comedy. It was like getting to visit your favorite aunt all over again. We treasured every moment.
So, a very happy 83rd, Patricia Routledge. Thanks for sharing 2+ hours out of your 83 years with us and with public television.