Top critical review
A great TV comedy show but it may not have transferred as well to audio only.
on 12 October 2010
As a satirical political comedy `Yes Prime Minister' is superb. It has also aged very well.
Two episodes on this CD are particularly relevant to present day, Smoke Screen and the Ministerial Broadcast.
You could substitute the previous two and the present Prime Minister into this and it still feels up to date; Spending Cuts, replacement for the Polaris nuclear weapons with Trident, smoking bans, manipulation, jockeying for positions, Civil Service intrigue and how to get your way.
I can see how a certain former Minister could have modelled himself of the character of Sir Humphrey a King Maker and Spin Doctor who generally gets his comeuppance. Nigel Hawthorn plays the character while oozing deviousness.
Paul Eddington who plays the PM Jim Hacker gives the impression of a naive innocent but underneath he is just as manipulative and devious as his adversary Sir Humphrey and generally comes out on top.
This was a television comedy and its transfer to audio-only has its downsides. There are several instances where the humour is actually visual, maybe an expression or a look that says it all, but instead there is only silence or a background noise then a burst of canned laughter. Of course because you can only hear it and not see it the comic moment is lost.
In the first 3 episodes the canned laughter becomes intrusive and overly loud. Again this is probably down to the fact that it is an audio recording of a TV show.
Comic moment-loud burst of laughter-laughter switched off- Comic moment-loud burst of laughter-laughter switched off- Comic moment-loud burst of laughter-laughter switched off.
It is as if someone has the volume control and turns it up and down in very loud but short bursts so the laughter feels un-natural and cut off. If only it could have been edited out or subdued because there is really no need to be told when to laugh, this is after all a very funny comedy.
I'd recommend getting it on DVD.