In a statement, the star’s family said he passed away at home following a short illness. He was 82.
“Clive was a very highly regarded character actor with a long and distinguished career. His role of Richard Bucket brought huge audiences and great affection in one of the all-time classic sitcoms. Thoughts are with close friends and loved ones at this sad time” – Shane Allen, Controller BBC Comedy
The actor was best known for his role of Richard Bucket in the sitcom which ran on BBC One from 1990 until 1995. Dame Patricia Routledge played his class-obsessed wife Hyacinth in the series. Written by Roy Clarke, much of the humour was derived from Swift’s hen-pecked character’s exasperated reactions to his wife’s social-climbing escapades which Hyacinth’s somewhat less refined family often got in the way of.
His theatre and television credits date back to the early 1960s, when he left a career in teaching to become a performer, writer and songwriter. His elder brother later also ventured into the acting profession; David Swift was best known to TV audiences for his role in Channel 4’s newsroom comedy Drop the Dead Donkey. David passed away in 2016 aged 85.
Early career roles for Clive included ATV drama Love Story in 1963, BBC serial Compact in the same year and ABC thriller Public Eye in 1966. During the 1970s he performed parts in many series for both the Beeb and ITV with appearances in BBC One truck-company based drama The Brothers, ATV’s period saga Clayhanger and Thames Television’s adaption of play Romeo and Juliet.
Clive also made notable appearances in Doctor Who, first in the 1985 story Revelation of the Daleks. He returned to the science fiction drama in 2007 for the Christmas Special. On the big screen he featured in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1968 film production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the 1981 movie Excalibur, telling the story of King Arthur and Gaston’s War, this 1997 production focusing on a story set during WWII.
It was however his role as Richard Bucket in the BBC One sitcom Keeping Up Appearances that he’ll be most fondly remembered for. The under-the-thumb husband of Hyacinth, who pronounced their surname as bouquet.
Born in Liverpool on February 9th 1936, Clive, one of four children, was educated at Clifton College and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where Clive read English literature. He was previously a teacher at LAMDA and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In more recent years he had toured with his music performance in live shows Richard Bucket Overflows: An Audience with Clive Swift in 2007 and 2009’s Clive Swift Entertains.