Patricia Routledge: Life in pictures as Keeping Up Appearances star turns 88


Patricia Routledge as a prepubescent woman

Born on February 17, 1929 as Katherine Patricia Routledge, the actress matured up in Birkenhead, Merseyside.

Her father was a haberdasher, and during the Second World War the stock lived in the basement of his shop.

She studied English at Liverpool University and had objects of becoming a headmistress.

But after becoming involved in the university’s drama gentry, she decided to take up acting.

Patricia explained: “Looking side with, I was always acting. The written word, which I loved, became the vocal word and I realised the power of that.”

After graduating Patricia removed an unpaid job as a stage manager at the Liverpool Playhouse.

She was invited to join the associates and made her theatre debut in 1952 as Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Mirage.

At 23, Patricia moved to Bristol where she formally trained at the Old Vic Amphitheatre School.

She made her West End debut in 1954 in comic opera The Duenna.

Patricia RoutledgeREX

Patricia Routledge is one of Britain’s most iconic actresses

Patricia Routledge on fake

For more than 50 years Patricia has enjoyed a prolific the boards career in both London and the US.

She is a classically trained singer and has regularly famous in musicals and the occasional operetta. 

In 1968 she won best actress at the Tony Furnishes for her turn in Darling of the Day.

She has been a long standing member of the Royal Shakespeare Companionship and has starred in plays such as Richard III.

In 1988 Patricia won a Laurence Olivier Bestow for her portrayal of the Old Lady in the Scottish Opera production of Candide.

Patricia Routledge as Queen VictoriaGETTY

Patricia played Leading light Victoria in 1964

Patricia Routledge on screen

Patricia has an extensive back catalogue of motion picture and TV appearances.

One of her early parts was a role in Steptoe and Son in 1974 as a clairvoyant ringed Madame Fontana.

She has also once had a small part in Coronation Alley.

Patricia’s TV breakthrough came in the form of a series of monologues written by Alan Bennett. 

In 1987 she was nominated for a BAFTA for A Lady of Belles-lettres, one of the monologues in the Talking Heads series.

Patricia Routledge in Marjorie and MenREX

Patricia starred in Marjorie and Men in 1985

Patricia Routledge in Nurture Up Appearances

Patricia’s most iconic role came in 1990, when she was players in Keeping Up Appearances as working class snob Hyacinth Bucket – which as she regularly stressed, is pronounced ‘Bouquet’.

The down-to-Earth actress has said that she enjoyed conduct the character because of how different she was to herself.

When asked if there were any similarities between herself and Hyacinth, she guessed: “Apart from two arms, two legs, two eyes, a nose and a mouth, I unequivocally hope not! It’s what acting’s all about. 

“Just because I may play a homicide doesn’t mean I have to commit a murder – you just play a as far as someone is concerned.”

The series ran for five years and four Christmas specials before Patricia insist oned that it come to an end.

Hyacinth BucketBBC

Patricia’s most famous role is as Hyacinth Scuttle in Keeping Up Appearances

Patricia Routledge in recent years

Between 1996 and 1998 Patricia starred in Hetty Wainthropp Enquires.

She was widely reported as saying that the BBC was “run by 10-year-old children” after it unambiguous to drop the series.

Patricia’s last major screen role was in 2001, when she played Sheila Bowler in the TV take Anybody’s Nightmare.

She has continued to perform on stage and has played Myra Hess in Acknowledging: One Shilling in various performances since 2009.

Patricia Routledge nowGETTY

Patricia was made a Dame in the 2016 New Year’s Ennobles

Patricia was made a Dame in the Queen’s 2016 New Year’s Honours directory.

She said that she was “very surprised indeed but very pleased that the respect pertains to theatre”.

Currently she serves as patron of the Beatrix Potter Polite society, and last year wrote and presented a documentary about the author’s existence.

Patricia, who never married and had no children, lives in Chichester, West Sussex.

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