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"Yes Minister"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Yes Minister" More at IMDbPro »

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31 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

The best comedy series EVER!

10/10
Author: Angeneer from Athens, Greece
4 August 1999

I really do not have words to describe this masterpiece! This must be kept as the series to compare with! Excellent writing and excellent acting! I'm a huge, HUUUUGE fan of YES MINISTER (and YES PRIME MINISTER of course). If you are even a bit interested about politics, you will adore it! I think you will adore it even if you are not! This is British humor at its absolute best!

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29 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Not to put too fine a point on it, absolutely fabulous!

Author: from United States
7 May 2005

Quite easily among the best-written comedies of all time. The razor-sharp wit and the superbly crafted word-play will have you both laughing out loud and oooohing and aaaahing in appreciation. Yes Minister tracks the day jobs of its three pivotal characters: Jim Hacker, the honorable Minister of the Dept of Administrative Affairs, his Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby and his Private Sct, Bernard.

In each episode, the somewhat idealistic (though exceedingly publicity-hungry) Minister tries to reform govt in one way or the other, but is blocked by his Permanent Sct, Sir Humphrey. Though this comedy is based on the British system of govt, I think the problems presented have universal appeal and so it would be appreciated by Americans, in fact by people of all nationalities.

The highlight of the comedy, in my mind, is the brilliant script, esp the lines Sir Humphrey delivers when he wishes to "talk a lot but say nothing". Nigel Hawthorne's acting is Grade A material and a treat to watch.

For those of you who enjoy wordplay, a somewhat cererbral comedy, or are simply an official in one or the other branch of govt, don't miss this one.

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29 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Should be requirement for any political science degree

Author: Sanatan Rai (sanatan@gmail.com) from Stanford, California, the USA
7 September 2001

Yes Minister is Britain after three hundred years of Democracy.

As an assessment of Democracy it is hard to surpass, and so I believe that every one studying for a degree in political science should watch this serial, or better still, read the books.

I watched this programme with my parents who are civil servants (in India), and they tell me that every bit is true.

If one had to nitpick, then I should observe that the initial episodes had more of a serious strain than the later ones. They are better because they concentrate on the politics, rather than on the comedy as is the case in the later episodes. Yes Minister became massively popular very quickly, and so the authors naturally tried to enhance its comic appeal. The last few episodes are a bit feeble in comparison to the initial ones, though they are, of course, still much, much better than any other television comedy.

Crossman's diaries are the real antecedents of this programme, and some of the incidents, such as moving the contents of the in tray to the out tray come directly from Crossman.

This is the best programme on television that I have seen, and the the standard by which one should judge all others.

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23 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Witty Political Britcom

Author: Matt M. from NYC
13 July 1999

"Yes, Minister" was an impeccably written, masterfully witty British political satire.

The late Paul Eddington was very funny as James Hacker, a bumbling minister who is constantly at odds with his civil servant, Sir Humphrey Appleby, played masterfully by Oscar winner Nigel Hawthorne.

This show provided perhaps the most insightful and interesting look behind the scenes of the British, or any political system. This show gives new meaning to the saying, "Red Tape."

It's a shame it's not on in the US much anymore, but it's still available on video.

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24 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

The Ministerial Will and the Administrative Won't!

Author: grendelkhan from Xanadu
31 May 2003

I first discovered "Yes Minister" by accident, while flipping channels. I came across A&E (this was the mid 80's) and there were several British comedies, much like my local PBS station. Two of these shows stood out; "Blackadder" and "Yes Minister"

"Yes Minister" is the supremely witty and genuinely funny portrayal of the battle of the Ministerial Will and the Administrative Won't. The characters were highly developed and hilariously funny. Paul Eddington was a master of timing (illustrated beautifully in a sketch on "A Bit of Fry and Laurie") and Nigel Hawthorne was an expert with verbal humor. Derek Fowlds was the junior civil servant, caught in the middle. As such, he often got some of the best lines, while showing his befuddlement. The writing was a triumph; extremely intelligent and delightfully witty.

The supporting characters were always well rounded and memorable. The situations rang true, because they were true. The creators have stated that they did their research by taking various important people to lunch. They were able to glean the most amazing stories from those lunches. For example, in the episode, "The Moral Dimension," the British set up a situation room at a reception in an Arab country. Since Islam forbids alcohol, they use the situation room to smuggle in alcohol. Throughout the night, the British receive messages from Mr. Haige, John Walker, and the Russian official Smirnoff. According to Jonathan Lynn, this actually occurred.

The series rings true for the US, as well. All you have to do is substitute a President, cabinet secretaries, and Congress; and then use the same situations. Bureaucracy is pretty much the same in any government.

Thankfully, the complete series is now available, in the US, on DVD. It should be required viewing for every civics and political science class.

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21 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Amazing acting and excellent writing

Author: SaturdayNightFry from United Kingdom
25 June 2005

I love the way the writers, Anthony Jay and Jonathon Lynn, wrote the characters of Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey Appleby. Jim is shown to be a weak, indecisive politician eager to change his mind to keep the voters happy, yet the audience love him. Humphrey is shown as a dominating, power-mad, scheming civil servant and yet the audience love him too! It's wonderful. And of course poor Bernard who is stuck in the middle, always a little unsure as to where his loyalties lie. As well as the excellent writing, the programmes wouldn't work without the wonderful talent of Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds. After watching just one or two episodes one thinks that the actors were born to play their parts! A must for future politicians!

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18 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Gorgeous

Author: BeEarnest from Germany
20 January 2004

This series is simply the best political comedy ever. From first hand experiences not with the british but the european administration and from my studies of political science I can pledge the satire to be really, really sharp. The dialogues are superb and I simply love the characters. Sir Humphrey is unbeatable. As a fellow writer already commented a must see for everyone into politics.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A show that bites. Great comedy.

Author: Baldrick44 from Brisbane, Australia
19 February 2005

I first saw Yes Minister when I was about eight. Even then I could see some of the humour that would lead me to fall in love with it years later, but I had no idea that I would to such a degree. Paul Eddington plays the Rt. Hon. James Hacker MP, Cabinet Minister in charge of the department of Administrative Affairs. He comes to his position high minded and full of ideals, only to find them being compromised as he finds that he is merely a cog in something far bigger, something he has little, and at times no control over. This bigger entity is humanised in the form of Machievellian Permanent Secratery Sir Humphery Appelby ( a brilliant Nigel Hawthorne ), who opposes the Minister on every turn with the power of the Civil Service behind him. Switiching sides as he sees fit is Hacker's Principal Private Secretary, Bernard Wooley ( Derek Fowlds, who's great ), a high flier who's job is to stand by Hacker, but who's future lies with Sir Humphery and the Civil Service. The great thing about this show is that although Hacker is weak, cowardly and vote-grubbing, you cannot help but pity him as his ideals and principles become distorted and disappear completely due to the brutal pragmatism placed on him not only by Appelby and the Civil Service but also his own Cabinet colleagues. A must for any one studying a Social Science.

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

"We Are Very Amused"

Author: J. Wellington Peevis from Malltown
16 October 2002

Attention Monty Python fans, this series if you've never seen it, will make you feel as if you've uncovered a hidden cache of British Comedy Treasure. Absolutely brilliant early 80s sitcom that chronicles the subsurface machinations of high level government. Eddington plays a cabinet minister who is the perfect embodiment of the modern politician. High in ideals, but forever made human by ambition, partisan backbiting, concession making and opinion poll obsession. His antagonist is the Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey, played by Hawthorne, who IS Machiavelli in 20th century apparel. Fowlds plays the foil and serves mostly as the tennis net to the two men, and their conflicting goals. The writing just cant be praised enough, and in true British fashion, derives most of the laughs when it dissects, and deftly rearranges the English language. Eddington is incredible as the bumbling minister. I've heard John Cleese say that what makes good comedy is not necessarily the joke, or situation, but how the fingered character reacts to his circumstance. This show illustrates the concept expertly. Eddington produces genuine belly laughs simply from facial contortions and incoherent ejaculations. Think how often that doesn't work and how rarely its even attempted any longer. Hawthorne is good but not as, he sometimes flails with the material and completely hams the comedy. His character is at its best when it deadpans irony. There's a zillion of these shows and in my viewing thus far, I've barely scratched the surface. Yet each I've seen is phenomenal.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

One of the all-time great comedies

Author: gibbog from St. John's, NL
2 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was very happy when I saw "Yes, Minister" available on DVD. It used to run on YTV here in Canada a few years back, and I would try to catch it whenever I could. To have the entire series in one DVD set is an excellent addition to my collection.

The show itself concerns Jim Hacker, the Minister of Administrative Affairs and his staff. Paul Eddington is fantastic as the hapless Hacker. His staff includes Humphrey Appleby and Bernard Wooley. Of the few roles I have seen Nigel Hawthorne in, I would have to say that this was by far his best ever. He portrays a civil servant who really truly believes that it is he and not the Minister that runs the department, with perfection. Derek Fowlds is also brilliant as Bernard, the dry-witted personal secretary.

The show, despite it's obvious comic content, gave a very real portrait of the bureaucratic red tape that almost all government has. I find the exchanges between Hacker and Humphrey hilarious, as poor Jim can never understand what it is Humphrey is saying, as a result of Sir Humphrey's very proper and precise English. Bernard also supplies some great lines as well.

"Yes, Minister" is definitely one of the Top 10 all-time greatest comedies. The next purchase I will be making is the "Yes, Prime Minister" DVD set.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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