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Monday, 8 March 2010

Still Yes Minister

Surfing the net I discover a link to a classic Yes Minister scene. I have left the following comment:

One thing which causes no end of wonder to those who came to the programme decades after it was first run (myself, for example) is how it manages still to be so topical. In different episodes Hacker grapples with ID cards, Trident renewal, funding of the arts as against funding of sport, bribes to and from Arabian countries with whom Britain is trying to make a buck, bailing out of failed city institutions by the Bank of England, appointments to the EU, honours doled out in return for favours, wastage in the NHS, banning of smoking, and on it goes.

The answer given by the authors, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, is that when writing the scripts the first thing they did was go back to the newspapers of the 1950s and look for things that were still current for them (the 1980s). And it was the same old things that nearly 30 years on are still current today – all the things I mentioned in the previous paragraph and many more besides. I have the feeling that for as long as there is a Britain Yes Minister will be topical.


  1. Yes Minister is possibly the finest tv show of the 80s. And as you say still very topical.

    While not quite as good, I'm sure civil servants will soon be digging up the episode of Yes Prime Minister addressing the civil service pay claim... (MPs might also have benefitted from taking Sir Humphrey's advice on their own claims!)


  2. It's almost reassuring that there are, on the evidence of Yes Minister's enduring relevance, a set of public debates in Britain that will never be resolved - a good reason not to get too wound up by any of them! (And to spot when a politician has run out of ideas, or wants to bury bad news - revive one of the perennial debates and distract the leader writers for a while.)