Fuck Yeah Minister
If you say so, Minister!
People are saying we were in the greatest sitcom ever – can that really be true, Humphrey?
A Very Courageous Decision: The Inside Story of Yes Minister: Amazon.co.uk: Graham McCann: Books
Buy A Very Courageous Decision: The Inside Story of Yes Minister by Graham McCann (ISBN: 9781781311899) from Amazon’s Book Store. Free UK delivery on eligible orders.
from readers’ reviews:
Yes Minister changed the way many people thought about politics. It was a sitcom that showed how the system actually worked, and did so with great humour, superb scripts and brilliant acting. This book tells the story of how the show originated, developed and left a legacy that continues to inspire countless other satirists.
I think this book represents a unique meeting of minds. Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn wrote a sitcom full of political sophistication, and in doing so left a challenging legacy for any writer wishing to celebrate it. But in Graham McCann the show has found a historian of sitcoms who also has a background in political theory, so there’s an authority about his analysis that’s an ideal fit. It means that he can convey all that is admirable about the show, in terms of its research, its accuracy and its humour, but he can also provide critiques of certain episodes that really engage with the politics involved. It’s an approach that reassures the reader that this is no one-dimensional sort of celebration. And the fact that he lavishes praise elsewhere underlines how balanced he strives to be.
The overall message this fine book delivers is one of huge respect and admiration for the writers, the actors and the shows. The author makes it clear how diligent the writers were at finding reliable sources and ensuring that each story was rooted in truth; he provides some delightful insights into the art of the actors, Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds; and he rightly, I think, underlines how brilliant the shows were in enlightening the public as to the nature of government, bureaucracy and politics.
I particularly liked the little case studies of the real life connections between the episodes and real life incidents (such as the disguised whisky in the ‘dry’ country), and the preparations for each series. The treatment of the passing of Eddington and Hawthorne was also, I thought, very sensitive and moving. All in all, precisely the kind of book that the show deserves.
If you say so, Minister!
Which is the greatest British sitcom there has ever been? You might argue for Porridge, or possibly Fawlty Towers. MARCUS BERKMANN’s vote goes to Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.
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