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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 October 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.

However;

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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 September 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
All great BBC Comedy starts on Radio 4; Yes Prime Minister is 4 episodes of one the sharpest written satires ever. The show presents the battle of the self interest of the Civil Service staff against the elected representatives. The truth behind the zaniest story lines was revealed a few years ago in a retrospective - they are based real events during the Harold Wilson and James Callaghan's time as Prime Minister. This pair of disks spans the first four episodes where Jim Hacker gets promoted to Prime Minister.

Its exceptionally funny and makes you question government policies and the world of pollsters in more detail; so why the low rating; simple the BBC is charging far to much for 4 30 somthing year old episodes regardless of the quality material.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 September 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
These 4 radio episodes date from 9 Jan 1986; 16 Jan 1986; 23 Jan 1986 & 30 Jan 1986. The clever thing here is that these episodes work just as well on radio as tv and sometimes have a better impact. Radio drama is a wonderful medium allowing you to build up a picture of the actors & charcters in your head. The underlying civil service & government versus the public is just as relevant today and shows how the writers got it spot on! In an ironic way the release of these shows help the BBC with their own financial difficulties and we are happy to have the shows on sale.
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on 24 September 2010
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I was too young or too busy on study to catch these series the first time they were broadcast, I had seen snippets and repeats on tv. The audio version is excellent, I find it easy to follow and the extremely clever and infectious humour means it's a series I would listen to again over time. I'm sure there's always something new on repeat playing of the set.
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A straight port from television to audio and it doesn't matter a jot. A quarter of a century after it was first broadcast this Jay and Lynch production is still highly amusing and scarily accurate; as someone who mentioned the smoking ban put it very ably.

Highly recommended!
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is hard to remember that Yes Prime Minister is around 25 year old. 25 years since first broadcast. Due to it's age I did wonder if this series was as good today. Well I am really pleased to say it is.
This is a super CD clear and very funny.
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2010
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I'm just about old enough to remember the series from TV and this certainly helps when listening to this. The writing is clever, the observations and references spot on but, without a prior knowledge of the series it would be hard to follow. However, this is normally the case with these audio series so not a surprise. Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne are a joy to listen to and I have been reminded what a very funny series it was. Don't listen to it on the train though, you'll get looks!
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on 18 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This audiobook represents a word-perfect transfer of the original television episodes- `The Grand Design' and `The Ministerial Broadcast'. Background sound effects, audience laughter and familiar theme tune are all provided. In other words, the unique atmosphere of the original series has been captured, albeit minus Sir Humphrey's classic facial expressions following one of his witty exchanges with the Prime Minister.

So perhaps a little bit is lost in translation, but it's still a delight to listen to these stories in audiobook format. The writing is just so brilliant, the performances so credible that there are many laugh out loud moments. I think perhaps some effort could have been made with fading in and out between scenes i.e. acknowledging a change in setting, which is obviously apparent in the visual medium, but less so in audio form, but otherwise the essence of the original series remains completely in tact. So much so it's as if these larger than life characters have stepped right out of a time capsule and into the comfort of your home.

Classic, enduring, good old fashioned entertainment. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2010
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I'm just about old enough to remember watching this when it was on TV the first time around. I didn't appreciate it as much then as I did later when I read the diaries, and all these years later again, I find it even better.

The CDs contain the soundtracks to the first four episodes in which Jim Hacker, the new Prime Minister,stumbles bumblingly, and yet not so bumblingly through political life. It is brilliant political satire - at least I hope it is satire, although I fear that it isn't! The quality of the dialogue is such that you dont miss the visuals - except in one place, yet it doesn't detract much even there. In many ways the most interesting feature is that although nearly 25 years have passed. little seems to have dated - other than the smoking ban issue - which has an extra comedic edge in a retrospective way now.

If you have even the slightest interest in politics - and I have to admit that mine is fairly minimal - then this is for you.

If you have any interest in sharply written comedy, then this is for you.

Well worth having.

Looking forward to getting the rest of the series.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 October 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Yes Prime Minister television series may be more than 25 years old but is still remarkably undated and laugh-outloud funny. This is all the more surprising as the CD does not contain a radio adaptation of the TV series (the first half of Series One with four episodes - two on each of the two CDs) but is simply taken from the TV soundtrack. As a result first-time listeners who have not seen the TV programmes may miss out on the various facial characterisations Jim Hacker makes when rehearsing a broadcast to the nation, his first on becoming PM. This is more notable in the final episode where Sir Humphrey attempts to enter the PM's private office via the balcony. However, this is still very very funny.

Despite the passing of 25 years many of the political debates are still current. In an episode dealing with defense and the replacement of the UK's fleet of Polaris submarines simply substitute Trident and the current discussions within government on whether and when Britain's nuclear deterrent will be replaced.

This is an outstanding comedy. I only wish that each CD set included more episodes.
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