Sunday, October 26, 2014


Paul Eddington and Derek Fowlds    
Incredible as it might seem, it's 25 years since Yes, Minister was first broadcast on BBC TV. The first episode was broadcast on February 25th 1980, and the final episode went out in January 1988. Yet its three-point constellation of characters - Jim Hacker, Sir Humphrey Appleby and Bernard Woolley - still comes across as both familiar and contemporary.

The series caught not only the public's imagination, making the series a popular success, but also the hearts of politicians and journalists. Margaret Thatcher was a big fan and even attended a rehearsal. She said: "Its closely observed portrayal of what goes on in the corridors of power has given me hours of pure joy". It was required viewing in the corridors of Whitehall.

Its plots revolved around the machinations weaved by Sir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne), the permanent under-secretary at the Ministry for Administrative Affairs, in order to entrap his newly-appointed Minister, the Right Honourable James Hacker (Paul Eddington), into following Whithall's lead and not his own political ambitions.

Private Secretary Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds), provided a useful foil for one of Sir Humphrey's show-stopping expositions:

"The fact that the Prime Minister needed to know was not known at the time that the now known need to know was known, and therefore those of us who needed to advise and inform felt that the information that we needed as to whether or not to inform the highest authority of the known information was not yet known, and therefore there was no authority for the authority to be informed because the need to know was not yet known, or needed."

Paul Eddington commented: "People abroad tended to play safe and treat me as a minister just in case".
You may still enjoy Yes, Minister on MountainLake PBS.

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