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 (1986)

BBC Two sitcom about politics. 16 episodes (2 series), 1986 - 1988. Stars Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds, Diana Hoddinott and Deborah Norton.


A 2-minute introduction to the first ever Comic Relief event saw Paul Eddington, in character as Prime Minister Hacker, address the nation on the subject of charitable giving and its preferential nature to Government handouts to charity. It was the only video insert in the show, which was performed at London's Shaftesbury Theatre on Friday to Sunday the 4th to 6th of April 1986. An edited highlights programme, including Hacker's address, was broadcast by the BBC on Friday 25th April.

At the height of the series' popularity in 1987, a Yes, Prime Minister computer game was available for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum platforms.

Many viewers thought that the characters were based on Margaret Thatcher's government. However, writer Anthony Jay explains: "Although the series first went on the air in 1980 when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, it was devised and commissioned in 1977. Jim Hacker could not have been less like Mrs Thatcher - we drew on the Heath/Wilson model."


The BBC paid so little for the initial scripts that the writers could not afford to write them close to transmission, as they had to keep their day jobs.