Thursday, June 14, 2007

Great British Comedy: Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister

I recently stumbled across a great website about an old British comedy called Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister. The series was about the wheeling and dealing of political life and ran on the BBC from 1980 to 1988. Without a doubt, it ridicules not only the British government but also political memoirs. It is political satire at its best, and was required viewing among top politicians and civil servants in the UK around the world. Even though its a bit dated, the storyline still holds up today. If you like politics, and also enjoy the quick dry wit of British comedy, I highly recommend this series.

Even if you are not familiar with the series yet, here are a few funny scenes from various episodes. (thanks to the site for this content)

Jim Hacker is speaking to his staff about the European Union...

MP Jim Hacker: "Brussels is a shambles. You know what they say about the average EU official: he has the organizing ability of the Italians, the flexibility of the Germans, and the modesty of the French. And that's topped up by the imagination of the Belgians, the generosity of the Dutch and the intelligence of the Irish."
Jim Hacker is talking to his staff about providing government funding for sports. His elitist staff are horrified, only because they think it should be spent on the Arts...

MP Jim Hacker: "Nothing wrong with (the government) subsidizing sports, sport is educational."

Sir Humphrey: "We have sex education too. Should we subsidize sex perhaps?"

Bernard Woolley: "Could we?"

Sir Humphrey: "Bernard, (government) subsidy is for art...for culture. It is not to be given to what the people want, it is for what the people don't want but ought to have."
Jim Hacker is preparing for a TV appearance...
Godfrey (to Hacker): "Will you be wearing those glasses?" [during the television broadcast]

MP Jim Hacker: "Oh, what do you think?"

Godfrey: "Well, it's up to you, obviously. With them on you look authoritative and commanding. With them off you look honest and open. Which do you want?"

MP Jim Hacker: "Well, I want to look authoritative and honest."

Godfrey: "It's one or the other, really."

MP Jim Hacker: "What about starting with them off and then putting them on while I am talking?"

Godfrey: "That just looks indecisive."

MP Jim Hacker: "Oh, I see."

Bernard Woolley: "What about a monocle?"
And for those of you from the UK, you'll especially understand this scene. Jim Hacker is Prime Minister by this point and is talking to his staff about the newspapers in the UK:

PM Jim 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 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 Woolley: "Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits." (this is in reference to the topless photos the Sun prints everyday.)


Lewis said...

We are big fans of Saturday night British comedies on PBS: Last of the Summer Wine, As Time Goes By, Keeping Up Appearances....and, in the good old days, The Thin Blue Line, Are You Being Served, The Vicker of Dibley.

Not so Single Guy said...

Yes...I saw this series as well and really enjoyed it!


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