Thursday, September 02, 2010
In reviewing all of the episodes of Yes, Prime Minister (strictly for research purposes, of course, in order to select a suitable one to post here) I came across this one; entitled The Key, it's actually the fourth of eight in that show's first series, and was originally aired on January 30th, 1986.
Yes, Prime Minister, of course, was the sequel to Yes, Minister - both of which programs were deftly written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn - and all of which follow the career of Jim Hacker MP (brilliantly played by the equally brilliant Paul Eddington) over 38 episodes as he fails upward from the back bench to 10 Downing Street. In my heart of hearts, I always wanted to see a third series, Yes, M'Lord, that would have followed Hacker into the House of Lords, but it was not to be...
A n y w a y ... The reason I chose to post this episode is that it features a bit of role reversal; not only is Hacker more masterful than bumbling for once, Sir Humphrey Appleby (played by Nigel Hawthorne) loses his usual supercilious cool and Bernard Woolley (played by birthday boy Derek Fowlds) is forced to stand up to Sir Humphrey when normally he would never do such a thing. Hilarity generally ensues on this show, but on this episode it ensues even more!
It seems that the Prime Minister's political advisor Dorothy Wainwright (Deborah Norton) has lost her prime office space to the machinations of Sir Humphrey. By and by, as these things go in this elegantly constructed Whitehall farce, Sir Humphrey manages to find himself hoisted on his own petard.
For proof of the unifying power of quality art - even if it is 'only a sitcom' - consider that not only is this show one of my favourites of all time but it was also the favourite of Margaret Thatcher. As much as I am loath to admit to any common ground between us (the more I read about her the more I've begun to suspect that we're not even the same species) I am forced to accept that this is one of them*.
Both Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister are available in their remastered, commercial-free, glory on DVD.
*In the interest of full disclosure, my support for the pound over the euro is almost the only other.
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