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back to article Yes, Prime Minister to return after 24 years

The great satire of British bureaucracy, Yes, Prime Minister, is to return after 24 years away from our TV screens. The original scriptwriting duo of Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn has already turned in their first plot, says UKTV, which has has commissioned the show to be broadcast on UK Gold. The BBC originals, Yes, Minister and …

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jai
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"Naturally some aspects will need to be refreshed"

I guess that is where the fear that this won't do well comes from.

Instead of re-envisaging the characters to fit today's political world, it'll just be the same but using modern terms and events.

But equally, is the current way of politics that interesting or funny?

The enjoyment of the original shows is the clever language and arguments, the intellectual mind-games that went on between Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker. My worry is that, as politics these days seems less high-brow, so too will the new version of the show be dumbed down. And with that, it will loose its appeal.

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Stop

No, Script Writers!

The original shows were a brilliant insight into the workings of the UK's permanent, unelected government. They didn't have to rely on a constant stream of expletives to get the point across and the satire is still relevant today.

Like all good comedy, it ended before it lost its way. Please, let's not turn it into a Red Dwarf-esque farce.

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Joke

My, that is certainly a "courageous" decision.

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I should have read more of the comments before posting - there were bound to be others who were at least as enthusiastic about the show as I am!

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Pint

IT Cost Saving Synergies: Leveraging Stakeholders Stupidity - Phase 18

If this happens I want to see one based on the total mess that every gov ICT project seems to turn into. Open the door on the old boy network and the craven attitude of execs and shareholders who don't give a damn about deliverables but rather looking good.

Pint coz otherwise I'll turn into a Luddite.

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Superb

The Thick of It just wasn't that funny. Amusing, yes, but not laugh-out-loud funny like YPM was. Same scriptwriters gives hope that it will reach the same heights as the older series. Cautiously optimistic.

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Re: Superb

Don't agree with you on that. I think The Thick of It was considerably funnier and I felt it to be close to the mark. For me, it was the updated version of "Yes, Minister" highlighting how interchangeable all the politicians have become. But, each to their own.

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Hope it's better than the stage version

That's currently doing the rounds of the provincial theatres. Because it is dire.

My family saw it recently at Chichester and I don't think I have sat through a "comedy" with such an absurd plot (which included child prostitution) with so few laughs. It is no wonder that packed audience that we started with, dwindled noticeably after the interval.

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Re: Hope it's better than the stage version

Strangely, 'New Statesman' (with Alan B'Stard) transferred better to the stage - more pantomime, less Radio-play sophistication required. We'll never know if YM Mk.II works on-screen, if it's on a dark channel.

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Tinie Tempah

Or Wee Huff as we call him in Glasgow.

Hope they can do justice to YPM and that I can manage to watch it *cough* torrent *cough*. Time to get out my old box set episodes I think.

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A long way past satire

The pivotal point about Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister was that someone was actually in charge - controlling what happened (or stopping things from happening). The gag was that it was never the (prime)-Minister.

What's changed in the intervening years is that nobody now believes anyone in Westminster is in control. All that our politicians and civil service do is run to catch up with events that happen around them and try to explain them away as "We meant that to happen", "It's not what it looks like", "Yes, it's terrible but it's not our fault" or "That is the fault of the other lot".

To make satire work, the programme has to lampoon the government and make it appear absurd. The sad fact is that in reality we're so far past the government actually being absurd that any satirical opportunities have vanished.

Rather than laugh at the ridiculous situations that arise, now most people would just nod sadly and say "Yup, that about sums it up."

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FAIL

Re: A long way past satire

Dunno about you, but as well as laughing out loud I also nodded sagely (not sadly) and said "Yup, that about sums it up." when they were first broadcast.....

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"The modern mandarin is no longer a patrician High Tory; he's probably a Guardian-reading, carbon-offsetting Coldplay fan - with a risqué Tinie Tempah playlist for dinner parties."

Really? Sir Nicholas McPherson is a Guardian reading Grime fan?

OK.

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Casting will be key

I saw the stage play a couple of years back, the writing was excellent, but some of the acting just didn't do it justice. It showed that the success of the original programme was that they combined great scripts with great actors. So finding a new set of great actors will be key to the new series' success. I am not holding my breath.

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FAIL

Changed times...

.... and it won't be even vaguely amusing.

Back when the original series aired politicians actually took responsibility for at least SOME of their actions. Ministers resigned when they fucked up.

Now they have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the gravy trough. Self serving venal scum - all of them.

Hard to find anything amusing in the total dross the UK has for rulers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Changed times...

Mr Naismith wrote

"Hard to find anything amusing in the total dross the UK has for rulers."

Quite so. If anyone a few years back had suggested that we'd have a cabinet made up almost (but not quite) exclusively of milllionaires, not to mention half the other dodgy dealings currently being buried under a non-existent fuel crisis, who would have believed it?

Orlowski wrote (about mandarins):

"Oxbridge PPE or SPS graduate"

And so are most of the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet. PPE folks, again almost without exception.

And folk wonder why we've got Tory, Tory Lite, and Gutless Pointless (soon to be voteless) Tory Lite as the three "mainstream" parties.

"There Is No Alternative".

<panto>Oh Yes There Is</panto>

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If they are doing Yes Minister then they should do Spitting Images too!

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PPE

It was the politicians that studied PPE (at the LSE). The mandarins were all Oxbridge Greats graduates. That might just be the only element that needs changing in an updated version.

-A.

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Stop

Re: PPE

The LSE doesn't have politics courses. It teaches Government.

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Big Brother

Yes (Prime) Minister was never a sitcom...

It was a Docu-Drama with a Gubmint-imposed laugh track to make us think it was fictional!

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I already see the critics gathering like a herd of vultures...

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All you freetards!!! :(

Just because you cheapskates can't / don't want to pay for stuff??? get out and get a job!!!

and where are all the star trek fans, moaning about it going on sky atlantic???

...

'UK Gold' is the 'gold standard' of UK TV... only fools and horses, vicar of dibley, absolutely fabulous, bread, Sykes, Royle family, comic strip, young ones..

get on yer internet, they are also on you tube... but noy in full quality...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All you freetards!!! :(

Is that you Orlowski?

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Re: All you freetards!!! :(

No - Andrew does not comment under pseudonyms or anonymously.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All you freetards!!! :(

@drewc

Er that was a joke, but since you've disallowed joke icons for ACs, I guess we have to explicitly state that now.

Still full marks for standing up for the boss. Regardless of whether your claim is true or not.

Pity you have to be so condescending about posting as AC - no one in their right mind uses their real identity on the internet.

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WTF?

Re: All you freetards!!! :(

"Pity you have to be so condescending about posting as AC - no one in their right mind uses their real identity on the internet."

If you're not using your real identity anyway, why do you feel the need to check "Post Anonymously" as well?

Or are you not in your right mind?

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One of my favourite programmes...

... but I think that it'll be hard to reprise, as the storylines deliberately stayed simple as an intellectual battle between Minister and Sir Humphrey, and the lessons that Sir H gave Bernard we simple but very well written.

Politics is far more complex in everyone's mind now - not sure that they will be able to capture the same mood. During my short time in central gov, I used a couple of the tricks Sir H mentions ...

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Gimp

Hmm its like a first date

You know it could lead to great things, it has happened before but will the chemistry be there?

Great Actors are vital, not sure Martin Freeman is Bernard material (big name but too sharp) and Sir Humphrey has to be someone special Rowan Atkinson or Stephen fry aren't quite right.

The Tories are back in so the lefties are writing decent political satire again. (In the thick of it was just sad).

Look forward to Spitting Image and the New Statesman back.

Not sure what they are going to use as plots, I think they nailed all the permutations in the first few series (which I still watch on DVD).

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Anonymous Coward

Alan B'star lives...

at number 10?

Seriously - would be good to see the return of Alan B'stard as well :)

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Hmm its like a first date

Freeman is good at playing a fool - the part requires cunning. That would rule out Rowan Atkinson, a natural goof.

Fry would be too posh. And he has only ever played Stephen Fry.

"lefties are writing decent political satire again. "

Where? Laurie Penny isn't supposed to be satire.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes Prime Minister was funny in its day...

precisely because its viewers couldn't believe their leaders could be be that incompetent and corrupt.

Unfortunately, time has proved the opposite.

The day that born again liars ^h^h^h^h^h^h politicians start acting as if the welfare of the people they are supposed to represent is their primary concern are still as far away as ever.

Today, an informed & objective observer would conclude there was a covert war on the public by petty minded bureaucrats/control freaks.

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Anonymous Coward

It applies not just in the UK

I've been an Australian federal public servant in Canberra for five years. You *think* Yes Minister is a satire until you actually go and work in government.

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Big Brother

Re: It applies not just in the UK

You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

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Coat

This is old news - I've already seen the first episode...

You know, the one where there's a threat of a tanker drivers' strike, and a Minister tells the public to fill up and store petrol, thus creating the shortage he was trying to avoid? Though I thought the bit about a woman burning herself while transferring petrol in her kitchen was bad taste.

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Anonymous Coward

Ooh! Oooh! —In view of the impending fuel shortage, can we get Margaret Thatcher's still-twitching corpse to guest write a scene again?

Squirming with embarrassment, watching that, helped keep me warm through the harsh winter of '84.

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Anonymous Coward

Was satire

now a documentary

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Big Brother

Re: whitehall work load

"far more policy has been outsourced to Europe, of course, leaving Whitehall with less to do "

Apart from spending a lot of time gold plating EU regs, that start out as 6 sides of A4 on EUR-Lex, and become 600 pages by the time it gets out of whitehall.

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I've never seen a sitcom restarted successfully after a long layoff. Thank the lack of gods that I don't get GOLD. If I did I might be tempted to watch it.

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@Grease Monkey: praise??

Hey, if you are more than 40 years old you will know the quality sitcoms I am talking about.. sadly most of the really good actors are now dead, or given up on the hopeless mismanaged bureaucracy the industry has become..

most of the '70s audience is now gone or too old - and todays bosses are far too worried about offending some minor group... and then some of the really good vintage comedies are just too expensive in licensing and commission cost, they are just not shown..

to say nothing about the teenage sense of humor these days, this is why most comics do not do TV, but make a lot more money doing live shows and even doing ads!!

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Mushroom

Program should be called "How The Home Office Works" or better still...

..."How the Ministry of Truth is Introducing ID Cards, Tapping Your Phones and Linking and Storing All Your Email and Social Network Contacts".

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