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Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister - Complete Collection [DVD] [1980]

517 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Fowlds, Diana Hoddinott, Deborah Norton
  • Directors: Peter Whitmore
  • Producers: Peter Whitmore
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Oct. 2006
  • Run Time: 1074 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (517 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HXDM0U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,040 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

This complete collection includes every episode of the hugely popular political satire Yes Minister series 1 – 3 (which first aired in 1980 on BBC 2) along with each episode in the subsequent two series of Yes Prime Minister (which aired from 1986).

Meet the bewildered Rt Hon James Hacker, his scheming and equivocating Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby and of course, Bernard, the piggy-in-the middle, on their fraught journey through the corridors of power. Easily the sharpest political comedy every written, with clandestine help from real civil servants, and satire that bites so close to home it sometimes seems more like a documentary. This does the impossible: it makes politics not just fun but hilariously funny.

Yes Minister episodes:
'Open Government', 'The Official Visit', 'The Economy Drive', 'Big Brother', 'The Writing on the Wall', 'The Right to Know', 'Jobs for the Boys', 'The Compassionate Society', 'Doing the Honours', 'The Death List', 'The Greasy Pole', 'The Devil You Know', 'The Quality of Life', 'A Question of Loyalty', 'Equal Opportunities', 'The Challenge', 'The Skeleton in the Cupboard', 'The Moral Dimension', 'The Bed of Nails', 'The Whiskey Priest', 'The Middle Class Rip Off'.

Yes, Prime Minister episodes:
'The Grand Design', 'The Ministerial Broadcast', 'The Smoke Screen', 'The Key', 'A Real Partnership', 'A Victory for Democracy', 'The Bishop's Gambit', 'One of Us', `Man Overboard', 'Official Secrets', 'A Diplomatic Incident', 'A Conflict of Interest', 'Power to the People', 'The Patron of the Arts', 'The National Education Service' and 'The Tangled Web'.


Yes Minister series 1:
The first series of the elegant sitcom-cum-farce-cum-sophisticated political satire Yes Minister, sets off Paul Eddington's Jim Hacker, Minister for Administrative Affairs, against Nigel Hawthorne's discreetly obstructive civil servant Sir Humphrey. It features the pilot episode, 'Open Government', curious in that it contains different and distinctly inferior opening and closing credits to the rest of the series. You also sense that Mrs Hacker was originally intended to have a larger role, with comedy focussing on the clash between political and domestic commitments, until the writers wisely decided to focus on the stand-off between Jim and Sir Humphrey, with Derek Fowlds' mousy private secretary Bernard making occasional interjections. While Sir Humphrey is at times a little too sinister for sitcom consumption, all the classic features quickly show up. Hacker's occasional Churchillian bombast, followed by panicky blank double-takes when flummoxed, Sir Humphrey's unflappable verbosity as he brings the dead weight of civil service bureaucracy to bear against Hacker's naively optimistic schemes for open government, Quangos and slashing red tape in episodes like 'The Economy Drive'. Ironic, that when this was first screened in the 80s, it was during the rampages of early Thatcherism in which Government had never been less like the ineffectual politicking satirised here. --David Stubbs

Yes Prime Minister series 2:

Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn's superb sitcom Yes Prime Minister entered 10 Downing Street with Jim Hacker now Prime Minister of Britain, following a campaign to 'Save the British Sausage'. Whether tackling defence ('The Grand Design'), local government ('Power to the People') or the National Education Service, all of Jim Hacker's bold plans for reform generally come to nothing, thanks to the machinations of Nigel Hawthorne's complacent Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey (Jeeves to Hacker's Wooster) who opposes any action of any sort on the part of the PM altogether. This is usually achieved by discreet horse-trading. In 'One of Us', for instance, Hacker relents from implementing defence cuts when he is presented with the embarrassingly large bill he ran up in a vote-catching mission to rescue a stray dog on an army firing range. Only in 'The Tangled Web', the final episode of Series 2, does the PM at last turn the tables on Sir Humphrey. Paul Eddington is a joy as Hacker, whether in mock-Churchillian mode or visibly cowering whenever he is congratulated on a "courageous" idea. Jay and Lynn's script, meanwhile, is a dazzlingly Byzantine exercise in wordplay, wittily reflecting the verbiage-to-substance ratio of politics. Ironically, Yes Prime Minister is an accurate depiction of practically all political eras except its own, the 1980s, when Thatcher successfully carried out a radical programme regardless of harrumphing senior civil servants. --David Stubbs

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Richard Kirwan on 14 Oct. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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!
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101 of 103 people found the following review helpful By M. Potter VINE VOICE on 22 Dec. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By TM on 12 Nov. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By CAMDENJOHN on 27 Oct. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Alec Theobald on 5 Nov. 2010
Format: DVD
If only sitcoms of this level of intelligence, style and humour were produced today. This is a real classic. The writing is exceptional, the acting is brilliant and the actual storylines are always plausible. As has been said, this wonderful box set is a bargain and a treat.
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152 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Brian Blair VINE VOICE on 1 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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