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.
Sir Humphrey Appleby receives his just reward when he's told by Sir Arnold Robinson that he is to be his successor as Cabinet Secretary. Jim Hacker has mixed feelings about the whole thing and while ...
The Minister wants to give citizens access to their files on a new national database, but Sir Humphrey is at his obfuscating best. Accused by his political advisor and his wife of being a mouthpiece ...
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 »
James Hacker is the British Minister for Administrative Affairs. He tries to do something and cut government waste, but he is continually held back by the smart and wily Permanent Secretary of the Department, Sir Humphrey Appleby. Private secretary Bernard Woolley is caught in the middle, between his political master, and his civil service boss. Written by
Tony Lammens <email@example.com>
A great fan of the series, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (as she then was) wrote a sketch for the show with press secretary Bernard Ingham which was recorded and aired as part of the 1984 National Viewers and Listeners Awards. The sketch featured Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne, both of whom are talking to the Prime Minister (played by Thatcher herself) about her notion to abolish economists. See more »
During the train sequence in "The Official Visit", a close-up shows that the warning notice on the wall is written in gibberish. See more »
The Ministerial Will and the Administrative Won't!
I first discovered "Yes Minister" by accident, while flipping channels. I
came across A&E (this was the mid 80's) and there were several British
comedies, much like my local PBS station. Two of these shows stood out;
"Blackadder" and "Yes Minister"
"Yes Minister" is the supremely witty and genuinely funny portrayal of the
battle of the Ministerial Will and the Administrative Won't. The characters
were highly developed and hilariously funny. Paul Eddington was a master of
timing (illustrated beautifully in a sketch on "A Bit of Fry and Laurie")
and Nigel Hawthorne was an expert with verbal humor. Derek Fowlds was the
junior civil servant, caught in the middle. As such, he often got some of
the best lines, while showing his befuddlement. The writing was a triumph;
extremely intelligent and delightfully witty.
The supporting characters were always well rounded and memorable. The
situations rang true, because they were true. The creators have stated that
they did their research by taking various important people to lunch. They
were able to glean the most amazing stories from those lunches. For
example, in the episode, "The Moral Dimension," the British set up a
situation room at a reception in an Arab country. Since Islam forbids
alcohol, they use the situation room to smuggle in alcohol. Throughout the
night, the British receive messages from Mr. Haige, John Walker, and the
Russian official Smirnoff. According to Jonathan Lynn, this actually
The series rings true for the US, as well. All you have to do is substitute
a President, cabinet secretaries, and Congress; and then use the same
situations. Bureaucracy is pretty much the same in any
Thankfully, the complete series is now available, in the US, on DVD. It
should be required viewing for every civics and political science
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