Yes Minister: Season 3, Episode 7

The Middle-Class Rip-Off (23 Dec. 1982)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 68 users  
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When the Minister is approached by a group of local constituents seeking government funding for their nearly bankrupt local football club, he suggests that they sell the local museum to ... See full summary »

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Paul Eddington ...
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Derek Fowlds ...
John Nettleton ...
John Barron ...
Patrick O'Connell ...
Brian Wilkinson
Derek Benfield ...
Aston Wanderers Board Member
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When the Minister is approached by a group of local constituents seeking government funding for their nearly bankrupt local football club, he suggests that they sell the local museum to private interests and use the proceeds for their sports team. Sir Humphrey - a patron of the arts and an avid opera-goer - is aghast at the prospect of taking funds from the arts and transferring it to sports. He and his fellow permanent secretaries come up with an ideal solution - make Jim Hacker the Minister responsible for the arts. Written by garykmcd

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23 December 1982 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Season 3: The tone continues season 2's accessible and good humoured edge but the plots are more cynical and barbed
25 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I enjoyed the second season of Yes Minister but must confess that it took me a minute to accept it over season one due to the slight but noticeable change to the tone – from the very sharp edge of season 1 into more of an accessible comedy that, while still barbed, could be taken for as much of a farce as it was a satire at times. In a way season 3 continues this tone by being funny in an accessible way but at the same time the plots across the season are rather cynical affairs that hold no punches when it comes to the writers' opinions of the machines of Government.

Almost all the plots involve some form of self-preservation from at least one of the characters, while internal bartering, deception and deal pulling is all part of a normal day in office. These plots inform the show greatly because it gives the show its cynical (and accurate) content while still having the open feel of a funny sitcom. The comedy is then laid on top of these as the plots follow a path that could be played straight but is informed by witty lines and strong performances. These performances continue to come from the three main characters who do most of their work in one set. Eddington has grown with the role but continues to be great at the wild-eyed-lostness that he gets when he suddenly finds himself swimming with the sharks out of his political depth. Such moments are when Hawthorne is at his best as well, although he too has some good laughs when he is under threat at times too. Fowlds' Bernard is more used this time around and he too is given some strong moments to deliver on. The lesser characters provide good support but the show is rarely better when the word games and spins are being played out in the office with the three of them.

It would be a few years before they returned for Yes, Prime Minister but one can see why they did because this third season shows no weakness or tiring in the characters or writing. The plots are informed and cynical, filled with good laughs and delivered by a talented and funny trio in the lead roles. It is considered a classic for a reason and, if you've not seen it, it is well worth the effort to hunt it down.


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