Yes Minister (1980–1984)
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The Minister goes on the BBC to extol the virtues of a public-private partnership project but when he learns that the private firm involved may soon go bankrupt, it is up to Sir Humphrey to... See full summary »




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Episode complete credited cast:
Neil Fitzwiliam ...
Arthur Cox ...
George - Jim's Driver
Richard Davies ...
Joe Morgan - Trade Union Official
Brian Hawksley ...
Sir George Conway
BBC Interviewer
Charles McKeown ...
BBC Editor


The Minister goes on the BBC to extol the virtues of a public-private partnership project but when he learns that the private firm involved may soon go bankrupt, it is up to Sir Humphrey to see exactly what can be done to salvage the situation. He approaches a banker, Sir Desmond Glazer, who also happens to be interested in a part-time government appointment. The Minister's political advisor however is advising that all such Ministerial patronage appointments be abolished. Written by garykmcd

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political corruption | See All (1) »




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Release Date:

7 April 1980 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bernard Woolley: How was Watergate different, exactly?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Watergate happened in America, Bernard.
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User Reviews

Season 1: Wonderfully cynical and droll with great dialogue and performances
9 December 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

With season 3 of The Thick of It currently screening on BBC2 I was put in mind of Yes Minister and its equally cynical (but less foul-mouthed) view of politics. Accordingly I decided to seek out a copy of this as it had been quite some time since I had seen it – indeed I'm not sure if I had ever seen Yes Minister as I think I would have been more of the age to pick it up at the Yes Prime Minister stage. Starting with season 1 what is impressive is how assured the show feels from the start – and I say that not know if the following seasons get better or just maintain the standard, but suffice to say on the basis of this I would be happy with the latter. Only the theme music in the first episode is a bit jarring (implying a wacky sitcom more than what it really is) but this is remedied in the second episode.

Although the specifics change episode to episode the show is based on a rather cynical view of politicians and the civil servant that work for them. Where The Thick of It correctly focuses on the spin and the superficial banality of day-to-day politics in the post-Campbell world, Yes Minister was also very timely in its lampooning of the bureaucratic, status-quo of the civil service and the nature of life as a politician either being frustrated by business as usual or very much embracing that world in an attempt to save their own skin and/or advance their career – public interest be damned! Of course Hacker is not as cynical as this and part of the fun is seeing him try to be the noble force for good that he wants to be, while at the same time trying to work in a world where black/white right/wrong is as clear as mud and there are no straight answers. Viewers will already be aware that the world is this way because of the educated and immensely slippery Humphrey.

And this is where the comedy happens. It is remarkable to me that with each episode the majority of the time is spent in the office of the Minister with Bernard and Humphrey in attendance but yet it never gets old. The word play and well-observed characters are where the show is and it is really well written to fit the world of creation and keep the actors in character. Speaking of which the cast do deliver really well on the material. Years ago I read the scripts of some episodes of Yes Prime Minister and it is nearly impossible now to read them without reading it in your head in the style of these actors – that is how perfectly they deliver it. Hawthorne is the one that sticks in the memory the most because he has the most fun character and has many of the "punch lines". His deliver is marvellous and decades later it is this role that I still think of when I think of him. This is not to take anything away the others because everyone gets a bite. Eddington is great as Hacker because he manages to play it many ways – worthy man of the people, slippery politician, wind bag – he does them all and he convinces in all of them because his character is convinced of himself. Fowlds' Bernard is a smaller character perhaps but has plenty of great lines and often serves a purpose as the middle ground between the two. The strength of the central trio is telling mainly because, while not "bad", Fitzwiliam's Weisel, Hoddinott's Annie and others seem a distraction rather than an attraction.

Yes Minister is a classic piece of comedy. Wonderfully cynical and droll with great dialogue and performances – that it stands up as fresh and worth watching almost 30 years later is testimony in itself.

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