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

Yes, Prime Minister (1986)

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two
  • 1986 - 1988
  • 16 episodes (2 series)

Jim Hacker finds himself suddenly promoted to the position of Prime Minister. Perhaps unfortunately, Sir Humphrey Appleby and Bernard Wooley accompany him upwards. Stars Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds, Diana Hoddinott and Deborah Norton


Sir Humphrey has lost his key

Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, I must express in the strongest possible terms my profound opposition to the newly instituted practice which imposes severe and intolerable restrictions on the ingress and egress of senior members of the hierarchy and will, in all probability, should the current deplorable innovation be perpetuated, precipitate a progressive constriction of the channels of communication, culminating in a condition of organisational atrophy and administrative paralysis, which will render effectively impossible the coherent and co-ordinated discharge of the function of government within Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland!

Hacker: You mean you've lost your key?

in Series 1, Episode 4
Sir Humphery tells the Prime Minister he misled the House

Sir Humphrey: Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple, and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement, inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts, insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated, is such as to cause epistemological problems, of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.

Hacker: Epistemological? What are you talking about?

Sir Humphrey: You told a lie.

in Series 2, Episode 8
Jim Hacker explains who reads the newspapers

Hacker: Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

Bernard: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.

in Series 2, Episode 4
Bernard and Sir Humphrey discuss as-yet-unwritten minutes of a Cabinet meeting

Bernard: So you want me to falsify the minutes?

Sir Humphrey: I want nothing of the sort! It's up to you Bernard; what do you want?

Bernard: I want to have a clear conscience.

Sir Humphrey: A clear conscience.

Bernard: Yes.

Sir Humphrey: When did you acquire this taste for luxuries?

in Series 2, Episode 2
Hacker and Sir Humphrey discuss his plans to reform state education provision

Hacker: Education in this country is a disaster. We're supposed to be preparing children for a working life. Three quarters of the time they're bored stiff!

Sir Humphrey: Well I should have thought that being bored stiff for three quarters of the time was an excellent preparation for working life.

Hacker: The school leaving age was raised to 16 so that they could learn more, and they're learning less!

Sir Humphrey: We didn't raise it to enable them to learn more! We raised it to keep teenagers off the job market and hold down the unemployment figures.

Hacker: Are you saying there's nothing wrong with education in this country?

Sir Humphrey: No, why of course not, Prime Minister! It's a joke, it's always been a joke! And as long as you leave it in the hands of the local councillors, it will remain a joke! I mean, half of them are your enemies anyway, and the other half are the sort of friends who make you prefer your enemies.

in Series 2, Episode 7
Jim explains to Sir Humphrey why he admitted that a policy had been wrong

Honesty always gives you the advantage of surprise in the House of Commons.

James Hacker (Paul Eddington) in Series 2, Episode 8

Share this page