Simon Callow and Clive Francis to star in Yes Minister play

Friday 6th March 2020, 4:55pm

  • A new Yes Minister play called I'm Sorry Prime Minister I Can't Quite Remember is to launch in June
  • Simon Callow and Clive Francis will star as Jim Hacker and Humphrey Appleby, now retired from politics
  • Jonathan Lynn says he wrote this "final chapter" as people kept asking him what had become of the characters
Clive Francis's cartoon of Jim Hacker and Humphrey Appleby

I'm Sorry Prime Minister I Can't Quite Remember, a new stage show based on Yes Minister has been announced.

Simon Callow and Clive Francis will star as the sitcom's famous characters, who are now in their 80s.

The play, which marks the 40th anniversary of the political comedy, will see Callow playing former Prime Minister Jim Hacker and Francis playing former Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby.

The production has been written and is being directed by Jonathan Lynn, who co-wrote the original show with Sir Antony Jay, who died in 2016.

The plot sees Hacker now working at Oxford College. Facing a revolt from students for his political incorrectness, he calls on the help of Appleby.

Jonathan Lynn told The Times the play would explore "what happens to people who have tremendous power and influence... and then have none and when they are old they are forgotten".

Yes, Prime Minister. Image shows from L to R: Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds), James Hacker (Paul Eddington), Sir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne). Copyright: BBC

Lynn says he has been persuaded to write a "final chapter" after "people kept asking me what became of those characters - they seemed terribly involved in them".

The characters of Yes Minister have appeared in many different mediums since the sitcom launched on TV in 1980, starring Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds. Notably, a stage show ran in the West End in 2012, and a new version was filmed for TV channel Gold in 2013.

I'm Sorry Prime Minister I Can't Quite Remember will open at the Cambridge Arts Theatre and run from 18th to 27th June. The UK tour will then visit the Royal and Derngate in Northampton (29th June - 4th July), Oxford Playhouse (6th - 11th July), Cheltenham Everyman Theatre (13th - 18th July), The Lowry Salford (20th - 25th July) and Malvern Theatres (27th July - 1st August), with additional dates and venues expected to be announced.

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