Shakespeare Couldn't Have Done Better
Thursday/July/02 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister
If the Bard of Avon had written a half-hour comedy show about the true nature of modern government, he couldn't have done a better job than the 1980's BBC series Yes Minister or it's sequel, Yes Prime Minister.
Yes Minister (1980 through 1984) and Yes Prime Minister (1986 through 1988) address the topics of bank bailouts, government leaks and political scandals, making these series as relevant and topical today as they were 30 years ago.
There were a total of 38 episodes, penned by Sir Anthony Jay and Jonathon Lynn in this award winning series.
As for the main characters, Jim Hacker is in Parliament (and later is elected Prime Minister), setting policy with the short-term goal of being re-elected.
Sir Humphrey Appleby, assigned as Hacker's Permanent Secretary, is a bureaucrat -- civil servant in British-speak -- executing Hacker's policies with the long-term goal of adding to staff and budget.
Both want the best for Queen and Country, but, as they grapple, they expose the extent to which government is the difficult output of the clashing needs of short-term politics and long-term bureaucracy.
Bernerd Woolsey, Hacker's chief of staff, is an everyman character, who is inspired by Hacker's compassion but, as a civil servant himself, is constantly reminded by Sir Humphrey of bureaucratic reality.
Politics: Universal and Timeless
Yes Minster / Yes Prime Minister goes beyond the arcane and curious inner workings of British government and lays bare the genuine nature of Politics Apocalypzia, whether in London, Washington DC or your local Town Council.
The late Paul Eddington played Jim Hacker and the late Nigel Hawthorne - brilliant in The Madness of King George - played Sir Humphrey Appleby. Derek Fowlds, not in the clip below, played Private Secretary, Woolsey.
Is President Obama a fan of Yes Minister? You decide...