Yes Minister. James Hacker (Paul Eddington). Copyright: BBC.

Paul Eddington


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Yes Minister: political comedy MPs voted the greatest

The consummate political satire might be about to celebrate its 40th anniversary but, in many ways, it has barely aged at all.

Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 23rd February 2020

Yes Minister shows some things never change

The BBC sitcom is 36 years old and yet it remains, as recent events have shown, bang on the money. Here's some proof that, in politics and the media, some things never change.

Standard Issue, 4th July 2016

Brexit vote makes Yes Minister clip go viral

In the episode "The Writing on the Wall", Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby patiently explains to minister Jim Hacker precisely why Britain has such a vexed relationship with the EU. "Minister, Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years: to create a disunited Europe," he says.

James Gill, Radio Times, 24th June 2016

Radio Times review

Admitting that you love repeats of old comedy shows probably isn't very sound. After all, where is the new stuff and why does BBC Two keep congratulating itself for being so marvellous simply because it's got old? We've all been there and birthday parties don't usually last this long.

But... pah! When the shows are as good as this, who cares? Neither does it matter that we've probably all seen them a squillion times before, thanks to the miracle of box sets. So cuddle up in a warm bath of nostalgia as we enjoy once more Yes, Prime Minister from 1987, where Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) hears of a big financial scandal.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 7th June 2014

By far the longest scene of the week arrived courtesy of the new (but unimproved) version of 80s sitcom Yes Prime Minister (G.O.L.D.), which was surely - and admittedly I may have dozed off for a moment - just one endless sentence. I'm sure fans of nostalgia thrilled to the new Sir Humphrey (Henry Goodman) Appleby's familiar mastery of verbal bamboozling as he led coalition leader Jim Hacker (David Haig) up the garden path towards the euro via some Byzantine shenanigans concerning an oil-rich former soviet republic. Writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn have lost none of their genius for the marathon one-liner - or indeed their other formula, in which Bernard innocently feeds the master a line about democracy only to receive a homily on the dangers of allowing politicians to think they are clever enough to run the country. But it seemed woefully out of date, in its staginess and jokes that were old when Paul Eddington was alive. It isn't just that Britain has moved on, dragging politicians with it (here we had the absurdity of Jim Hacker talking about "wops", "frogs" and "dagoes" while the other two exchanged Latin epigrams), but that comedy has. Certainly I preferred David Haig in The Thick of It.

Phil Hogan, The Observer, 20th January 2013

Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn's Eighties comedy series Yes, Minister - and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister - set the bar for political comedy very high. Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne were immaculate in their roles as cabinet minister/PM Jim Hacker and his permanent secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby, and provided an almost impossible act to follow. This updated remake, which went to G.O.L.D. when the BBC refused to commit, follows the recent stage production and has a workmanlike David Haig, Henry Goodman and Chris Larkin in the roles of the PM, Sir Humphrey and private secretary Bernard Woolley. The satire is gentle and perceptive as they tackle coalition issues, the Euro crisis and a European summit. But, given that the foul-mouthed The Thick of It has transformed the way we approach political humour, it lacks bite and the studio laughter is very tacky.

Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 12th January 2013

A look at the Silver Jubilee Good Life performance

At the conclusion of the myriad of events surrounding the recent Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration, I started thinking back to the Silver Jubilee in 1977 when Her Majesty and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, attended a taping of an episode of The Good Life (Good Neighbors in the States), starring Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington.

Bill Young, Tellyspotting, 12th June 2012

Yes, Prime Minister is back as a West End show

Whitehall's most adversarial couple, the Rt Honourable Jim Hacker MP and Sir Humphrey, his Permanent Secretary, immortalised by Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne, are back - this time on the stage, thanks to their original creators Jonathan Lynn and Sir Antony Jay.

Petronella Wyatt, Daily Mail, 17th September 2010