Yes Minister: Season 1, Episode 5

The Writing on the Wall (24 Mar. 1980)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 94 users  
Reviews: 1 user

The Minister's frustrations with the civil service continue when Sir Humphrey, at his bureaucratic best, doesn't quite deliver the policy paper the Minister is seeking. Hacker wants to ... See full summary »




(by), (by)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Leonard Nimoy: 1931-2015

Best known for his work on "Star Trek," actor and director Leonard Nimoy died on Friday in Los Angeles. Read our full story on his varied career, and view our memorial photo gallery.

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Writing on the Wall (24 Mar 1980)

The Writing on the Wall (24 Mar 1980) on IMDb 8.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Yes Minister.
« Previous Episode | 5 of 22 Episodes | Next Episode »


1 video »


Episode complete credited cast:
Paul Eddington ...
Derek Fowlds ...
Daniel Moynihan ...
Daniel Hughes
Tenniel Evans ...
Martin, the Foreign Secretary
John Savident ...
Neil Fitzwiliam ...


The Minister's frustrations with the civil service continue when Sir Humphrey, at his bureaucratic best, doesn't quite deliver the policy paper the Minister is seeking. Hacker wants to announce a cut of 200,000 civil servants and so decides to write the paper himself. He takes it a step further when he announces the planned cuts during a TV interview. The whole thing blows up in his face when the Prime Minister decides that the first cut will be Hacker's own Department. Suddenly, he and Sir Humphrey are on the same side fighting to keep their jobs. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

political corruption | See All (1) »




See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 March 1980 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs




See  »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
James Hacker: I'm still not happy with this report, Humphrey.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Then, Minister, we shall be happy to redraft it for you.
James Hacker: You've redrafted it three times already.
Bernard Woolley: That's not absolutely correct, Minister.
James Hacker: Yes it is, Bernard. I *can* count. This is the third draft report.
Bernard Woolley: Yes, quite so, Minister. Therefore, it's been drafted once and subsequently redrafted twice.
James Hacker: Don't quibble, Bernard.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: But we shall be happy to redraft it a third time.
James Hacker: And a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth, no doubt; and it still ...
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The writing is on the wall for the Department of Administrative Affairs this week
4 August 2006 | by (Surrey, England) – See all my reviews

The Minister (Paul Eddington) is involved in the usual tussle with the Permanent Secretary (Nigel Hawthorne), this time over the Department's evidence to the Central Policy Review Staff. Hacker wants to do his own draft for the review, but the civil servants are aghast at this. As usual, the repartee between Hacker and Sir Humphrey is excellent, with Humphrey managing to imply that everything Hacker suggests is beneath contempt.

Sir Humphrey has successfully frustrated Hacker's previous plans for reform of the civil service, in earlier episodes, so the Minister is determined to force change through this time. However, his proposal for phased reductions in the civil service proves to be something of an own-goal, and it's left to Sir Humphrey to try to pull the Department's chestnuts out of the fire. But can even Humphrey successfully play-off the Central Policy Review Staff against the Prime Minister?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Opening TERRIFIED me as a child katherineklutts
How old are you? bittermilk
Best quote from the whole series? nsullivan
Favourite character? Mrs_Twelvetrees
If they made a movie burchard-1
Claire and Riekiebol's New Yes Minister Thread Mrs_Twelvetrees
Discuss The Writing on the Wall (1980) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: