Birkenhead-born actress Patricia Routledge had to wait a long time to become a star.
Born in 1929, she made her professional debut in 1952 and was a prolific stage performer thereafter, winning both Tony and Olivier awards for her theatre work.
But she was 61 before she landed the role for which she will ever be remembered – Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced, by her, as 'Bouquet') in the Television sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.
Her performance as the snobbish and pretentious upwardly mobile Hyacinth was a big hit with fans and critics alike. Routledge loved the role too as she said she couldn't stand people like Hyacinth in real life.
But she couldn't be accused of milking the part. The show ended after just five years – at Routledge's request – and the actress then went on to star in the mystery drama Hetty Wainthrop Investigates.
Other credits include the film To Sir, With Love (alongside Sidney Poitier) and roles in two classic Alan Bennett-penned series A Woman Of No Importance and Talking Heads – proof of Routledge's outstanding versatility.
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