The Prime Minister finds himself in a bit of a pickle when he flatly denies in the House that the government has bugged MP's telephones. It turns out the government was and Sir Humphrey was aware of ...
The Right Honorable James Hacker has landed the plum job of Cabinet Minister to the Department of Administration. At last he is in a position of power and can carry out some long-needed reforms - or so he thinks.
Francis Urquhart is too experienced a politician not to know that everything must end, even his long career as British prime minister. In order to secure his retirement and establish ... See full summary »
Francis Urquhart is the chief whip of the Conservative party. When Margaret Thatcher resigns as leader, he remains neutral and after a general election where the conservatives are returned ... See full summary »
In WW2 France, Rene Artois runs a small café where Resistance fighters, Gestapo men, German Army officers and escaped Allied POWs interact daily, ignorant of one another's true identity or presence, exasperating Rene.
Following a series of circumstances involving the Eurosausage, the Home Secretary drink driving and the Chancellor's dalliances with a shady lady from Argentina, Minister for Administrative Affairs Jim Hacker finds himself elevated to Number 10 Downing Street without being quite sure how he got there. But life as Prime Minister is no easier than being a Minister; Hacker still finds his every move challenged by the Civil Service as represented by his new Cabinet Secretary, the ever-wily and manipulative Sir Humphrey Appleby, who is as equally determined that nothing should change as Hacker is that changes should be made. Wandering nervously between them is Bernard Wooley, Hacker's private secretary, who continues juggling his responsibilities to his political master with his loyalties to his Civil Service colleagues... Written by
I know exactly who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country. The Times is read by people who actually do run the country. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by people who own the country. The Morning Star is read by the people who think the country should be run by another country. And the Daily Telegraph is read by ...
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In my years as a student of political science at the university of Leiden, one of the professors used to rave about these series whenever the subject of British politics was on the agenda. And even though that professor wasn't the most humorous of chaps, his quotes and tales from the series always guaranteed a good laugh.
I recently got hold of the entire series, and even though I do view them with a somewhat scholarly mind (old habits, and such), laughing out loud is my usual response. So cleverly written, such an exquisite cast of characters, such a mild way of portraying profound cynicism ("A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist", dixit Sir Humphrey Appleby).
I will probably still look at it in ten, twenty, thirty years time (if I live to see the day) ... knowing that there will always be a Sir Humphrey Appleby, a Bernard Woolley and a Right Honorable James Hacker around somewhere preventing the series from becoming outdated.
I don't know if that's something to look forward to, but if it guarantees the same laughs, I'm all for it!
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