TV’s Greatest Ever Snobs

Let us salute the fine people of taste and sophistication who have served as an example to the rest of us oiks…

Keeping Up Appearances

Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth Bucket and Clive Swift as Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances.

HYACINTH BUCKET

There's hoity-toity, and there's Hyacinth Bucket. Sorry, we mean "Bouquet". Hyacinth has always preferred the 'French' pronunciation of her surname, you see, and that's only one example of her worldly sophistication. Nobody else is on her level, meaning she is on a constant quest to educate and improve the "peasants". Except the ones who are past saving, like the members of her family who aren't her posh sister Violet.

Keeping Up Appearances' Hyacinth takes snobbery to awe-inspiring heights. This, after all, is the lady who once chided Richard for not suffering from the correct, socially acceptable medical problems, and nursed a grudge after one rival told her that kiwi fruit were "lower middle class". We can't help feel sympathy for poor Hyacinth, trapped as she in a world which just doesn't understand the importance of her good breeding or her Royal Doulton with the hand-painted periwinckles.

MARGO LEADBETTER

Margo from The Good Life is a funny one. It's not that she's not a snob - she absolutely and massively IS one. But she somehow manages to be very pleasant despite her withering, twitchy-nosed disapproval of her social inferiors. She may be a strutting social-climber, but Margo truly puts the sweetness into snobbery. Perhaps it's because of how tolerant she is of her neighbours, the Goods, despite the fact they live off the land, raise their own livestock, and trudge around in dung on a daily basis.

While the Goods' famous "peapod burgundy" will never quite meet the standard of the vintage wines Margo is more used to drinking, Margo is really rather patient with her friends. Can you imagine how Hyacinth would react to a visit from Tom and Barbara? She'd spontaneously combust. But Margo knows how to rise above the social inferiority of others, and can always seek refuge in the Pony Club or Music Society if things get too distasteful.

Penelope Keith as Audrey fforbes-Hamilton in The Manor Born.

Penelope Keith as Audrey fforbes-Hamilton in The Manor Born.

AUDREY FFORBES-HAMILTON

Imagine being a rich snob who falls on hard times and is forced to depart their beloved stately home. It's a plight we can all sympathise with, we're sure you'll agree. So let us pity poor Audrey fforbes-Hamilton from To The Manor Born, who is forced into that precise predicament after the death of her bankrupt husband. To make matters worse, her mansion is then sold to a "self-made" millionaire.

In other words, new money! And if there's one thing worse than no money, it's new money, as Audrey will tell you. Richard DeVere may be the kingpin of Cavendish Foods, but to Audrey he is simply "a grocer" who has become too big for his boots. And certainly not the sort of man who can be trusted to run a manor in the traditional way, as she likes to point out at every possible opportunity.

CYRIL BLAMIRE

Many an arrogant old goat has graced Last of the Summer Wine over the decades, but when it comes to sheer, staggering snobbery, few can hold a candle to Cyril Blamire. The very first "third man" alongside Clegg and Combo, he is a man of exquisite class who is a world apart from his plebby compatriots, as he will be the first to tell you (repeatedly).

Fond of proclaiming his love of the finer things, including Mozart ("I still have 12 classical long players from the Readers' Digest"), Cyril Blamire should really have been born a Victorian gentleman. Sadly, despite having the "natural taste to overcome a skimpy education", he is forced to tolerate the impertinence of Compo, who insists on calling him by his first name. "I'll have less of the Cyril. Try Mr Blamire while doffing your tatty cap." You tell him, Mr Blamire.

Lesley Joseph as Dorien Green in Birds of a Feather.

Lesley Joseph as Dorien Green in Birds of a Feather.

DORIEN GREEN

One thing separates Dorien Green from the rest of this pompous pantheon. And that is the fact she also happens to be as lusty as she is snobby. The Birds of a Feather icon may feel like she's Chigwell's answer to Joan Collins, but her carnal urges mean she's willing to cast her standards aside for men who are far lower down on the social scale - provided they're hunky enough, of course.

Be under no illusions, though. When her inner sex goddess is slumbering, she reverts to her usual, default mode, which we can only compare to a woman in high heels carefully picking her way across a field of cow pats. No wonder Sharon and Tracey can't help teasing her, but - as with the rest of our famous snobs - we wouldn't want her any other way.