1 9 8 6 – 1 9 8 8 (UK)
16 x 30 minute episodes
1 x short special
In this sequel to the series Yes, Minister, Jim Hacker has been promoted to Prime Minister and Sir Humphrey elevated to Cabinet Secretary.
When the incumbent PM resigned, three candidates stood for the top job – two extremists and the rather mundane Hacker. By stealing the middle ground, Hacker (somewhat by default) found himself installed in Downing Street.
Hacker was now the top dog although he remained more or less impotent, still tethered to Sir Humphrey’s leash.
But he was learning, beginning to pull and give the occasional growl, assisted by a new adviser, Dorothy Wainwright, a fiercely intelligent bulldog of a woman who was even a match for Sir Humphrey and his Civil Service colleagues.
While the message of the overall premise remained intact – that power is in the hands of those who run the bank, not those who sign the cheques – Yes, Prime Minister was second-rate compared to Yes, Minister – a disappointing dessert after a sumptuous main course.
Although it was possible to believe that Hacker could be a minister – being photographed drunk after a party, making a fool of himself in radio and television interviews with his inability to answer straightforward questions etc – it was stretching credibility to see the man as Prime Minister, and the storylines suffered accordingly.
As a standalone series, it would have been reasonably well accepted, as a sequel it was a disappointment.
Nonetheless, as with the original series, Yes, Prime Minister was much acclaimed by real politicians who enjoyed the show’s cynical dismissal of Whitehall intrigue and its insight into the machinations of government.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
Sir Arnold Robinson