If you were a fan of either Yes Minister or Yes Prime Minister and you think that the series has more relevancy today than it did in the 80’s, you’re probably not alone. If you ever had a thought that this would be a great stage play, you’re right there with the original writers, Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn.
As a nation, the UK goes to the polls in May. Yes Prime Minister takes the stage at the Chichester Festival Theatre that same month. Coincidence? I think not. Unfortunately, Paul Eddington and Sir Nigel Hawthorne have both passed away since the series ended. It will be hard to think of anyone else in the roles of PM Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey Appleby. You couldn’t have cast two better people to deliver the brilliant scripts of both series, which ran on the BBC from 1980 to 1988 and still enjoys periodic plays on public television in the U.S. Has to be some of the best writing and acting in British comedy history. Can’t wait for that fateful line no matter who delivers it….”Yes Prime Minister“.
Both Jay and Lynn have remained close friends over the years and the thought of a stage play never left either of their minds even though they live 6000 miles apart (Jay in the UK and Lynn in Los Angeles).
As to whether or not the series will still be relevant given that it ended 22 years ago, Jonathan Lynn believes it will. “Because politicians will tell essentially anything,” explains Lynn, “if you give them a nice lunch and a bottle of good claret.”