R.I.P. Harold Snoad, producer/director, ‘Keeping Up Appearances’

Harold Snoad, long-time sitcom producer and director for the BBC passed away 2 June at the age of 88. Best known for Keeping Up Appearances, it was Snoad who cast Dame Patricia Routledge in the lead role, explaining: “I wanted the character of Hyacinth to be a sort of stately galleon. I didn’t want somebody lightweight, either in size or vocal terms.” 

It was KUA series creator/writer Roy Clarke and Snoad’s producing/directing that made it a staple of the early to mid-90s sitcom schedule on the BBC which also became the Beeb’s biggest export around the world.

While they did have their differences, Clarke regarded the casting of the pretentious, social-climbing Hyacinth as “perfect”. Given Hyacinth seems to annually end up at the top of the list of most hated AND most loved sitcom characters, which is a testament to both excellent writing and perfect casting, I couldn’t agree more!

Pre-Keeping Up Appearances, Snoad worked on Hancock’s Half Hour in 1960 and the first four series of Dad’s Army where he served as a production assistant. It was Dad’s Army creator, David Croft (Are You Being Served, ‘Allo ‘Allo), along with Jimmy Perry who gave Snoad an opportunity to direct five episdoes.

While his directorial career spanned decades, series that most public television audiences would be familiar with were The Dick Emery Show (1974), Ever Decreasing Circles (1986-89), Brush Strokes (1989), and Don’t Wait Up (1983-90) prior to his mega-hit, Keeping Up Appearances.

We had the great good fortune to interview Harold for the 2010 PBS documentary, Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen which focused on the writers of British comedy series. In addition to Snoad, the documentary also featured interviews with Richard Curtis (Mr. Bean, Blackadder, Vicar of Dibley), Bob Larbey (The Good Life, Mulberry, As Time Goes By) and Roy Clarke (Open All Hours, Keeping Up Appearances, Last of the Summer Wine).

R.I.P. Harold Snoad. Thank you for the laughs yesterday, today and tomorrow and for a lifetime to come!

In: Comedy


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