Keeping Up Appearances ‘Richarrrrd!’ actor Clive Swift has died

Clive Swift has died aged 82.

The actor died on Friday morning after a short illness, a representative confirmed.

Best known for playing the long suffering Richard Bucket in BBC series Keeping Up Appearances, Clive graced our screens from 1971 to 2017.

The classically trained actor first appearance on the small screen came in the BBC adaptation of The Barchester Chronicles. In December 2007 he starred in a Doctor Who Christmas special as Mr Copper alongside Kylie Minogue.

His final screen appearance came in 2017, starring as Felix Hope in Midsomer Murders. Swift also played Sir Ector, the adoptive father of King Arthur in John Boorman’s 1981 film Excalibur.

He was married to novelist Margaret Drabble between 1960 and 1975 and father to daughter Rebecca, who died in April 2017, Adam, an academic and Joe Swift, a TV gardener.

Known for versatility in his decade-spanning career, Swift’s most famous role was starring alongside opposite Patricia Routledge in much-loved sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.

Speaking about how he approached the role of hen-pecked husband Richard, Swift said: "The first thing I decided was if Richard was a really meek and submissive person, in a way there was no conflict.

"Because he’d be just a bit of fluff for Hyacinth. So the first thing I had to do, as far as the writer allowed me, was to fight back – to protest. I know I used to lose 98 per cent of the time and there was no conflict really but I had to put up a show or otherwise it’s simply not interesting."

The talented actor was an original member of the Royal Shakespeare Company before finding fame on TV where he became a familiar face to millions.

Richard said: "I could walk the street unrecognised, but all that changed with Keeping Up Appearances… That show is the only proper money I’ve earned, because it was a global success and it’s given me a good pension that I might never have had."

The classic sitcom became one of the BBC’s biggest exports of the last four decades – purchased 992 times by stations around the world – cropping up in countries from Australia to Nigeria.

Asked to explained the show’s enormous success, creator Roy Clarke said: "Perhaps our very Britishness is something they can have a good laugh at. Let’s be fair, we’re not beyond a chuckle at what we see as their national oddities."

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