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"Yes, Prime Minister" One of Us (1986)

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Season 1: Wonderfully droll word-play and cynicism with silly moments that work too

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
8 April 2012

It has been a while since I rewatched Yes Minister and I decided it was high-time I came back for some more in the same way that the BBC did – by watching Yes Prime Minister. It had been a few years since Yes Minister had finished originally and I had been very young when I had first enjoyed this series, so I did wonder if it would managed to continue the high standard (because, after all, if they could – why did they end the original series after only three seasons?). I was worried for no reason though because this season was consistently a joy to watch.

The majority of the plots involved Hacker's plans to scrap the Trident missile programme, cut taxes and reintroduce national service and this provides the rough structure for the season as a whole. On the whole the episodes engage in a cynical game of politics that is frequently by word play and action that is a delight to watch, wonderfully droll and very intelligent. The season occasionally dips into the sillier side of the comedy (indeed the episode The Key is more spoof than satire) but even then it still works because the characters are so well drawn and they manage to be comedic but yet also believable as reality as well.

Having played these characters for three seasons already, the cast are understandably on-point from the very start. Eddington doesn't play dumb as he perhaps once did, but instead he gets to the politician of his character and is much funnier for it because he is playing the games like the others – just perhaps with more limited interests. Fowlds is mostly support but his limited time is well used – but the star here is of course Hawthorne. Smarmy, manipulative, desperate, whatever, he is funny and he delivers the very strong script with real relish – it is a great comic performance and I never tire of seeing him do it.

These characters are soon to be 30 years old, but yet they remain fresh, funny, sharp, cynical and brilliant. Some shows are brilliant in their time when their relevance and timeliness help them be better, but a true classic stands for decades after it was topical. Yes, Prime Minister is such a show – it may not have the swearing of The Thick of It, but it is wonderfully funny and comes with plenty of bite.

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