Taking up residence in the heart of Whitehall, the brilliant comedy, Yes Prime Minister, by original BBC writers Antony Jay & Jonathan Lynn is even more appropriate today than it was when it first premiered over 30 years ago. The play plunges the much-loved characters of Sir Humphrey Appleby and Jim Hacker into the chaos of 21st century coalition politics. With the threat of financial meltdown just hours away, and the only hope of rescue rests on a morally dubious deal with the Foreign Minister of Kumranistan.
The stage play originally opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre in the Spring of 2010, some 30 years after the premiere of Yes Minister on the BBC, and continues to be one of the most successful political plays of all time in the West End.
Following the success of the current stage production, six new episodes starring the original West End actors David Haig as Prime Minister Jim Hacker, Henry Goodman as Sir Humphrey Appleby and Chris Larkin as Principal Private Secretary Bernard Woolley, have now been recorded at the BBC studios where the original series was filmed. The episodes, written by original series creators, Jonathan Lynn and Sir Antony Jay, will premiere on 15 January 2013 at 9:00pm on UK Gold. In addition, the channel will also air an hour-long documentary about the original series and its prequel Yes, Minister, which was reportedly Margaret Thatcher’s favorite TV show during the ’80s.
UKTV’s chief executive Darren Childs said: “The stories are topical and up-to-date. There are episodes about coalition, the euro crisis and Scottish devolution. Robbie Coltrane has agreed to play a very key part in that [Scottish] episode, which is exciting.” UKTV’s director of commissioning, Jane Rogerson said: “The political landscape in Britain today is the perfect setting for Yes, Prime Minister to return“.
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than the great Nigel Hawthorne as Sir Humphrey Appleby. The fact that the six, 40-minute episodes will be written by Lynn and Jay along with the fact that original artist and cartoonist Gerald Scarfe will return to create the opening titles for the series just as he did some 30+ years ago definitely makes it worth giving it a shot. Let’s hope it makes its way to public television in the not-too-distant future.