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Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister 2-Pak

4.8 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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(Oct 28, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Named to the Top Ten TV programs of all time by the British Film Institute, these brilliantly observed comedies of manners pit the well-meaning Jim Hacker, Cabinet Minister and then Prime Minister, against the machinations of a career civil servant, Sir H


Yes, Minister
The elegant sitcom-cum-farce-cum-sophisticated political satire Yes, Minister sets off Paul Eddington's Jim Hacker, Minister for Administrative Affairs, against Nigel Hawthorne's discreetly obstructive civil servant Sir Humphrey. The pilot episode, "Open Government," is curious in that it contains opening and closing credits different from and distinctly inferior to the rest of the series. You also sense that Mrs. Hacker was originally intended to have a larger role, with comedy focusing on the clash between political and domestic commitments, until the writers wisely decided to focus on the stand-off between Jim and Sir Humphrey, with Derek Fowlds's mousy private secretary Bernard making occasional interjections. While Sir Humphrey is at times a little too sinister for sitcom consumption, all the series' classic features quickly show up: Hacker's occasional Churchillian bombast, followed by panicky double-takes when flummoxed, and Sir Humphrey's unflappable verbosity as he brings the dead weight of civil service bureaucracy to bear against Hacker's naively optimistic schemes for open government and slashing red tape in episodes like "The Economy Drive." It's ironic that when Yes, Minister was first screened in the '80s, it was during the rampages of early Thatcherism in which government had never been less like the ineffectual politicking satirized here.
Yes, Prime Minister
Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn's superb sitcom Yes, Prime Minister entered 10 Downing Street with Jim Hacker now Prime Minister of Britain, following a campaign to "Save the British Sausage." Whether tackling defense ("The Grand Design"), local government ("Power to the People"), or the National Education Service, all of Jim Hacker's bold plans for reform generally come to nothing, thanks to the machinations of Nigel Hawthorne's complacent Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey (Jeeves to Hacker's Wooster) who opposes any action of any sort on the part of the PM altogether. This is usually achieved by discreet horse-trading. In "One of Us," for instance, Hacker relents from implementing defense cuts when he is presented with the embarrassingly large bill he ran up in a vote-catching mission to rescue a stray dog on an army firing range. Only in "The Tangled Web," the final episode of series 2, does the PM at last turn the tables on Sir Humphrey. Paul Eddington is a joy as Hacker, whether in mock-Churchillian mode or visibly cowering whenever he is congratulated on a "courageous" idea. Jay and Lynn's script, meanwhile, is a dazzlingly Byzantine exercise in wordplay, wittily reflecting the verbiage-to-substance ratio of politics. Ironically, Yes, Prime Minister is an accurate depiction of practically all political eras except its own, the 1980s, when Thatcher successfully carried out a radical program regardless of harrumphing senior civil servants. --David Stubbs

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds
  • Directors: Peter Whitmore (II)
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Warner
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DI88E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,387 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister 2-Pak" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Any fan of this series is going to want both these boxed sets eventually, so it is a good idea to get them all at once in this 2-pack. This sitcom was brilliantly written, expertly acted and offered some of the most intelligent dialogue you will ever hear on a sitcom (you could study for your SATs listening to Sir Humphrey and Bernard Woolley--and the minister, to a lesser extent). Who says you need scantily-clad women and off color jokes to make great comedy. Three middle aged men talking government did quite nicely.
The first set includes 21 episodes on four discs with photos on the inside of the case. It also offers a touching 47-minute tribute to Nigel Hawthorne. Anyone who has read Hawthorne's autobio Straight Face will recognize some of the people and places featured in this documentary. The second set offers 17 episodes on three discs including the 1-hour Christmas special "Party Games" aired in 1984 showing the political intrigue leading the way for Jim Hacker to become Prime Minister. This set includes a nice 30-minute tribute to Paul Eddington. Other extras are included in this set.
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One of the best comedies ever made by the BBC is now available in this rather large megas pack. Containing every episode of both Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister you can rewatch it all now. Some great performances are on show here, and this is definitely the thinking person's sitcom.
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Believe-it-or-not, humour without vulgarity, popularity without beautiful people or nudity.
This great British comedy serial is possibly the single best TV serial of all time.
The performances by Paul Eddington (as the bumbling, bumptious but likeable Minister & then Prime Minister), Derek Fowlds (as his very likeable Private Secretary), and of course Nigel Hawthorne (as the supercilious, conniving & of course hugely entertaining Permanent Secretary) were all outstanding. It was unfair in the extreme, incidentally, that only two of the three (Eddington & Hawthorne) were awarded OBE's for their performances, but poor Derek Fowlds wasn't.
The scriptwriters excelled themselves, producing an absolutely fascinating insight into the world of British beuraucracy, yet managing a laugh a second.
The production values were outstanding, as was the supporting cast.
Even twentyfive years later, this serial remains entirely up-to-date, and could well have been written just last month.
All-in-all, a rare gem, and a must-have for any DVD collection.
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If you weren't around when these programs were on A&E in the mid-1980s, you are in for a treat. Here you have two incredibly savvy actors, Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington, playing foils to each other as the two series poke fun at the foibles of parliamentary democracy--or, given what we supposedly learn about the civil service, is it a democracy at all? Most of the "Yes, Minister" series was new to me, and the episodes are just as delightful as those in the "Yes, Prime Minister" series to come. Just watching Hawthorne as Sir Humphrey Appelby manipulate situations with the most verbose command of bureaucratese is priceless. His machinations make the moments when his minister, Jim Hacker (Eddington), gets the better of him that much more satisfying. Add to this mix the wonderfully dry and sardonic Derek Fowles as the minister's private secretary, Bernard (who has to be loyal to both men at the same time!), and you have two sets of DVDs you'll want to watch again and again. If you're tired of seeing repeats of the same old Brit-Coms on your local PBS station these days, this complete pairing is a must. Stellar television!
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When the creators of the show, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynne

came up with the idea for "Yes, Minister" in the 1970's, they

wondered whether a comedy consisting entirely of "elderly men sitting around talking about government" would go over with the viewers. In fact they created one of the greatest comedy programs of all time. Of course, the casting was a major factor, and they had the good luck to come up with such a magnificent cast. What is interesting is that for Nigel Hawthorne (Sir Humphrey Appleby), this was his first real success in the world of acting although he was around 50 years of age at the time, so this program's creators saw the potential in him that so many others missed. It is absolutely amazing how he is able to memorize and recite with a straight face so many unbelievably long and convoluted sentences that are one of the trademarks of this show. Paul Eddington (Jim Hacker) was, on the other hand a well known actor, and he is able to go from being befuddled to well-meaning to conniving in a single episode.

Derek Fowlds (Bernard Wooley-a funny name) is also good as Hacker's personal secretary.

I mention in the title that the program is depressing because one sees how politicians take the public's tax money and use it to pay off other politicians in order to thwart the best interests of those taxpayers. In one of the supplements to the DVD discs there are interviews with real British politicians of the 1970's and 1980's and they say that the program does reflect much of the reality of politics, but it is not quite a cynical as is reflected in the show.
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