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Clive Swift, actor in Keeping Up Appearances, dies aged 82

Clive Swift, actor in Keeping Up Appearances, dies aged 82

Actor Clive Swift, who played Hyacinth Bucket’s beleaguered husband Richard in Keeping Up Appearances, has died aged 82, his family has confirmed. A former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company who enjoyed a lengthy career in film and television, Swift was nevertheless best known for his appearance in the BBC sitcom, which ran between 1990…


Actor Clive Swift, who played Hyacinth Bucket’s beleaguered husband Richard in Keeping Up Appearances, has died aged 82, his family has confirmed.

A former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company who enjoyed a lengthy career in film and television, Swift was nevertheless best known for his appearance in the BBC sitcom, which ran between 1990 and 1995.

Swift was born in Liverpool in February 1936, and began a career in acting after taking part in student dramatics while at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He joined the RSC in 1960, one year after the company had been permanently established byPeter Hall, and remained there until 1968. Swift later taught and directed at the Rada and Lamda schools of acting.

For the bulk of his career, Swift appeared in smaller roles in British television series including The Liver Birds, Tales of the Unexpected, Inspector Morse and Doctor Who, as well as occasional film roles in the likes of Excalibur and A Passage to India, among others.

In Keeping Up Appearances he appeared in more than 40 episodes as Richard Bucket, husband ofPatricia Routledge’s social climber Hyacinth. The show, which was created by veteran sitcom writer Roy Clarke, proved popular with audiences and is one of the BBC’s most exported programmes.

The actor later appeared in sitcom The Old Guys alongside Only Fools and Horses actorRoger Lloyd Pack. He returned to Doctor Who for a 2007 Christmas special, which also featured Kylie Minogue.

Swift was married to novelist Margaret Drabble between the years 1960 and 1975. He is survived by two sons, Adam, an academic, and Joe, a TV garden designer and regular BBC gardening presenter. Swift’s daughter Rebecca died of ovarian cancer in 2017.

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