‘Keeping Up Appearances’ revealed as BBC’s most popular overseas export ahead of show’s revival

Sitcom more popular than 'Top Gear' and 'Sherlock', according to reports

’90s sitcom Keeping Up Appearances has been revealed as the BBC’s most popular show overseas.

The show, which ran from 1990-1995, starred Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth Bucket, a middle-class social climber who insists her surname is pronounced ‘Bouquet’. It also starred Clive Swift, Josephine Tewson, Judy Cornwell, Geoffrey Hughes and, for Series One only, Shirley Stelfox.

With the programme set to be revived later this year, The Telegraph reports that it has topped shows like Top Gear, Sherlock and Strictly Come Dancing as the BBC’s most popular show abroad. Other shows to feature highly in a report from BBC Worldwide include Blue Planet and The Life of Mammals.


Broadcast rights for the first series of Keeping Up Appearances have been sold overseas on 992 occasions, with subtitled and dubbed versions airing in Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands. The show is also available on PBS in the US, as well as Netflix and Amazon Video.


Creator Roy Clarke attributed the show’s popularity to the fact that “everyone knows a Hyacinth”. He added: “Wherever you are it seems there’s a Hyacinth next door, or just down the road, or in the family.”

See a list of the BBC’s most popular shows overseas below, in terms of how many times each programme has been sold internationally.

Keeping Up Appearances (Series 1) – 992
The Life of Mammals – 958
Wild South America: Andes to Amazon – 930
Wild Africa – 871
Blue Planet – 864

Reports state that the BBC are working on a prequel, currently called Young Hyacinth, which will be set in the 1950s.

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