on 14 October 2008
This is something that should be owned by any policital satire-lover as well as any fan of Johnathan Lynn. Witty and enjoyable. The Box-Set is easy to access and not cumbersome in the slightest (occasionally you get fed up with these big boxes of TV DVDs where you have to open fifty compartments to get to one disc).
It would be nice to see some behind the scenes footage or get the audio track of Margaret Thatcher's appearance, but in any case, this is a definitive version. No Yes Minister fan should be seen without it!
I can't add much more than other reviewers apart from a hearty recommendation to buy this DVD pack. It's very good value given how much material you get (even better value at Amazon prices of course). The comedy is intelligent and timeless, and it's amazing just how many current day issues are covered by a series that was made over 20 years ago (banking crisis, dodgy arms deals, big brother/identity cards etc. etc.). The episode where Sir Humphrey Applebey has dinner with the bumbling CEO of "Bartlets Bank" is a case in point, where the CEO points out that "..if a chap's giving you a good return on your money then you don't ask too many questions....and besides, you'd be pretty foolish if you had a load of money at 12% not to lend it to someone else at 15%"). Wonderful stuff, and with lots of re-watch value. Buy it.
on 12 November 2010
It is strange that a political drama based on Thatchers reign should resonate so strongly now, 20 years after she lost office, but it does!
The political intrigues and machinations are as relevant and believable today as they were then and the comedy and wit of the scripting is as sharp as it ever was, such classics as the "balanced survey" convincing Bernard to agree and then oppose national service are as true today as they ever were! (and just as funny!)
Overall this must be one of the best value for money DVD sets I have ever bought.
on 27 August 2009
Blackadder is pantomime, Only fools and horses is more like a soap - Yes Minister is Britain's greatest sitcom albeit a political one. You'll be hard pushed to find a more brilliantly written comedy than this. It focuses on the newly appointed Minister of Administrative Affairs and his department including the conniving permanent secretary played by the late Nigel Hawthorne.
Firstly, the fact that this series focuses on government hypocrisies makes it timeless as it's probably more relevant now than it was then.
Secondly, it doesn't rely on sexual innuendo or mindless visual gags. Instead it relies on intelligent conversation which does not under estimate the viewer. The series runs on dialogue, that being well constructed and sometimes resulting in an entire episode taking place in one room.
Thirdly, it's extremely funny and this is due to the never ending twists and turns and also the chemistry between the main characters. Sir Humphrey's evasive nature and poor Bernard always being in the wrong place at the wrong time provides the main entertainment. It's not a laugh out loud show even though it has laugh out loud moments.
Series one gets better with every viewing even though it only starts to really pick up by the fourth episode. Series two has its fair share of good episodes but by series three the script gets more creative and this momentum continues into the Yes `Prime' Minister series. It's a show in which you need to watch each episode from the beginning, and not something you pick up half way through.
What is also noticeable as each episode progresses is that the Minister who started out with a clear conscience starts to turn `dodgy' himself. Here there is a strong message on how difficult it is to keep the faith in a corrupt world.
There are no extras on the DVD and I would have preferred a documentary and even an improvement on the picture, but who needs them when you have a show that not only demands attention but also repeat viewing.
on 27 October 2010
To my mind this is the finest political satire ever to appear on TV. The development of the two main characters by Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne is superb - how we miss them! I found the Derek Fowlds character annoying at times, though he was a necessary foil, and a couple of episodes were unbelievable.
I wondered if the series might be dated, but not at all! The kind of issues the series faced can still be found daily in current politics. And it is true to life - for a time in the 80s and 90s I was an observer on the fringe of Government decision-making, though at a more mundane level.
And your price is ridiculously cheap!
It would be interesting to know if the series travels well - politics elsewhere has very different structures.
Yes Minister was a satirical British sitcom that was first transmitted by BBC television and radio between 1980 and 1984. The sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, ran from 1986 to 1988. Together, the two series comprise 38 episodes, all but one of which last half an hour.
Set in the private office in Whitehall of a British government cabinet minister (and, in the second series, in 10 Downing Street), the series follows the ministerial career of James Hacker MP, played by Paul Eddington, and his various struggles to bring in legislation or departmental changes, opposed by the will of the British Civil Service, in particular his Permanent Secretary (senior civil servant), Sir Humphrey Appleby, played by Nigel Hawthorne and his more helpful Principal Private Secretary played by Derek Fowlds. Almost every programme ends with the eponymous line, "Yes, Minister" (or "Yes, Prime Minister"), uttered by Sir Humhprey as he quietly relishes his victory over his "political master" (or, occasionally, acknowledges defeat).
A huge critical and popular success, the series was the recipient of a number of awards, including several BAFTAs and in 2004 came sixth in Britain's Best Sitcom. It also gained notoriety as being the favourite television programme of the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Our nearest modern equivalent is the excellent The Thick of It - but it is much more hardcore and may not appeal to those who originally like Yes Minister.The series have been cited by political scientists for their accurate and sophisticated portrayal of the relationships between civil servants and politicians - I guess that says it all really. I doubt anyone reading this has not heard of the series - a great gift.
on 14 May 2012
Yes, of course, these are great moments of television and they're worth 5 stars. Image and audio quality is as good as can be expected, given the origins of the material. So why the star reduction? Quite simply, I have family members who are not English-mother-toungue, but who nonetheless speak pretty good English. For people like this, English subtitles are a real advantage. To hear and read the same thing is a great way for them to improve their English, and especially in cases where the Queen's English is so well spoken as in this series.
Imagine therefore our disappointment when we discovered the really poor quality of the subtitles. The matching to the spoken text is approximate at best; clearly a rush job that was never properly checked.
on 13 October 2013
Fantastic series but disjointed between Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister as the Christmas episode between the two when Hacker becomes the PM is not included. Having not seen this series or that episode before it leaves many questions unanswered and the set shouldn't be described as complete
on 7 January 2007
The Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister series are some of the finest television ever to have come out of the BBC. Gently satirical comedy of the very highest order and, while some of the material might now be considered a little dated, this will remain a classic for decades to come. Armando Iannucci's too-clever-by-half The Thick of It attempts to cover similar territory from a 21st-century perspective and is nowhere near as successful (in this reviewer's opinion).
What a shame, therefore, that this long-awaited complete boxset is such a feeble offering. Not only are there NO extras - and no literature - but this is just a new box around the original five series' DVDs and, for some unfathomable reason, Yes Prime Minister Series 1 is presented as one double-sided DVD, so that the whole doesn't have a coherent feel to it.
Frankly, one would be better off buying Yes Minister and the two individual YPM boxes from HMV online, without worrying about the so-called "Collector's Boxset" packaging. HMV have the individual components of the boxset retailing at a considerable discount on their own or even the cheapest Amazon boxset price.
None of which criticisms reflect on the brilliance of the scripts or performances. A classic for as long as television lasts.
on 7 March 2010
As others have said, amazing how many present day issues are echoed in this series, and if it looks a little dated in places, and the humour is notably gentler than its modern counterpart, the equally wonderful The Thick Of It, the brilliance of the plotting more than makes up for it. Nigel Hawthorne's reciting of civil service gobbledegook sometimes looks like a party piece, included so that Paul Eddington can look baffled (and disturbingly, if you listen to the speeches a few times you realise they actually make sense) but on the whole this is a classic series that everyone should own. In particular, watch out for the way in which Hacker becomes Prime Minister. It uncannily mirrors the way John Major made it to number ten, when more obvious candidates were ruled out because of skeletons in their cupboards.
Finally, the first episode of Yes Minister has a totally different set of opening credits, and theme tune. Clearly this was the pilot created before the full series was commissioned. Happily, the bouncy music, more suitable to something like On The Buses, and the drawings of the leading characters, which look nothing like the people in question, were both replaced with the familiar tune and Gerald Scarfe caricatures for episode two onwards.