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
Eight episodes from the popular TV series which takes a satirical look at life behind the scenes at Westminster. Starring Paul Eddington as the careworn PM and Nigel Hawthorne as his long-suffering under-secretary. The episodes included are: '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'.