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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir Humphrey and Hacker finally make it to DVD!,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)I love Fawlty Towers, but for my money Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister is the funniest sitcom I have ever seen. While most of the humor is political in nature, you don't have to be a C-Span junkie to get all the jokes. You also don't need a background it the British political system (though it helps) as political corruption is universal. Indeed, this show was a worldwide hit and is being aired somewhere right now!
The U.S. video tapes for this series only included the first seven episodes of this series, so many of us will be seeing 14 "new" episodes! If you have those video tapes or have seen this show on public television, what are you waiting for? The video is of high quality and there are no gotchas; it's a wonderful set I'll keep mine for the rest of my life. If you are an anglophile who enjoys the likes of "To the Manor Born" or the Ian Richardson "House of Cards" trilogy (soon to be released on DVD as well), you will more than likely enjoy this set too. For the rest of you who have never seen this show, just know that it is an incredibly witty (though never silly) look into a well-meaning minister's (Paul Eddington) attempts to reform the civil service and an incredibly clever director of the civil service's (Sir Nigel Hawthorne) attempts to prevent any reforms. Don't let the subject matter fool you, it is never dull and will have you laughing throughout.
While there is a lengthy segment on Sir Nigel Hawthorne including an interview conducted shortly before his fatal condition was diagnosed, I wish there had been commentary on at least one of the episodes from the writers or producers (or even Derek Fowlds, who sadly is the only major surviving member of the cast) just to get a insider feel for the show. No matter; the quality of the video a great and the content is, of course, first rate.
I've checked with the BBC and the "missing" one hour "Party Games" episode, which came as a Christmas special the year after the final Yes Minister was aired, will be included on "Yes Prime Minister - The Complete Collection" scheduled for late August 2003. As this is the episode where Hacker ascends to Prime Minister and as it has never been released in the U.S., this is great news.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Purchase!,
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This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)DVDs were in great shape (no scratches or other problems). My husband loves this television show. It was his favorite Christmas gift this year.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of British comedy!,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)I bought this as a Xmas gift for my step-father who is English. It was very much appreciated but you don't need to be English to enjoy 'Yes Minister' - it's one of the great TV comedy classics.
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Humour,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)Should be required viewing for all involved in government...but definately viewed by each and all who vote. A good laugh all around. Kudos to the writers and actors and all involved in making this production.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Lovely Collection Set of an Outstanding Britcom!,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)It is high time this outstanding britcom (plus its sequel, Yes Prime Minister) was released in its entirety on DVD, but it was well worth the wait for the BBC has done an outstanding job. It contains all twenty-one 30-minute episodes (which ran from 1980 through 1982) in a beautifully packaged four-disc set. The quality of the picture is very crisp and clear for a 20-year-old production (I know I'VE never seen it look so good!), and the DVD extras are a real treat.
This is an intelligent, extremely well-written series--a satire of the inner workings of government. Sources within the government provided the writers with all the fodder they needed, and it is highly accurate in its depiction of the corruption, politics, red tape, and manipulation that forms an integral part of the administration of government (ANY government, mind you--which is what gives this series such universal appeal). Indeed, Margaret Thatcher, herself a fan of the series, referred to it as being a "closely observed portrayal of what goes on in the corridors of power."
The series opens with Jim Hacker (played by the late Paul Eddington (Good Neighbours), who sadly died of skin cancer in 1995 at age 68), who has just won the parliamentary seat for his riding (his party has won the election), being appointed as the new Minister of Administrative Affairs. Now that he's in a position of power (or so he thinks!), Hacker has high hopes for making some positive changes--things like instituting an open government policy, linking honours to economies for civil servants, and so on. But he's thwarted at every corner by he who wields the real power--the cunning, quick-witted, hilariously verbose and extremely manipulative civil servant, Sir Humphrey Appleby--the DAA's Permanent Secretary (the late Nigel Hawthorne (The Madness of King George, Mapp & Lucia)). Lastly is Hacker's Private Secretary, Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds (Heartbeat)). Bernard is a likeable, pun-loving, unassuming character with conflicting loyalties. He is himself a civil servant, and though there are times when he'd like to assist Hacker in achieving his goals, he must exercise extreme caution in doing so lest Sir Humphrey find out!
DVD EXTRAS include a splendid 42-minute profile of the late Nigel Hawthorne who, having battled cancer of the pancreas for eighteen months, sadly died on Boxing Day 2001. He was 72. The profile was filmed over four months in 1999, during the period when Hawthorne was preparing to play King Lear for the RSC. The series provides a brief bio with photos and snippets of other productions in which he's been involved. Derek Fowlds, Helen Mirren (his co-star in The Madness of King George), Jimmy Perry & David Croft (writers of Dad's Army), and Trevor Bentham (Hawthorne's partner of 22 years) all provide contributions, but the vast majority are from Hawthorne himself. He touches on many of the themes which are elaborated on in his splendid autobiography entitled "Straight Face"--things like his uneasy relationship with his father and his homosexuality. The final features are "A Short History of Yes Minister" (1999) which features Fowlds, Hawthorne, and series' co-writer Jonathan Lynn (it's only 5 minutes but very informative); and a brief 3 1/2 minute interview with Jonathan Lynn from 1981. Lastly are text-based bios of the main and many supporting actors.
This lovely collection set is truly a must-have for fans of the series. It is a unique, extraordinary britcom (a personal favourite of mine!)--one that is sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys the best in British comedy. I would also, however, recommend it unhesitatingly to anyone simply looking for an intelligent, brilliantly written, and impeccably acted series--British or otherwise. Highly, HIGHLY recommended!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right honourable comedy,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)I first happened upon the 'Yes, Minister' series while living in Britain and working in Parliament. How is that for timeliness! Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne (both knighted for their services to entertainment and the theatre, so the official story went -- Maggie loved the show so they both got awards, if you must know the truth) are perfectly matched as the new Cabinet Minister and experienced, somewhat jaded Permanent Secretary, poised to spar over virtually every detail of work together.
The series begins with Jim Hacker becoming a Cabinet Minister for the first time. It proceeds through his gradual process of gaining experience and then surprisingly being elevated to the position of Prime Minister; at the same time, Sir Humphrey Appleby is elevated to the position of Cabinet Secretary (the most senior of civil servants) and the 'Yes, Minister' series graduated to become 'Yes, Prime Minister', made all the more hilarious by virtue of the fact that Jim Hacker becomes PM largely due to a crisis about sausage (narrowly escaping being called an offal (pronounced awful) tube).
Political situations large and small are highlighted throughout the series. The humour shifts from being blatant to being very subtle; the common wisdom about the House of Commons with regard to the accuracy of the programme was that 'Reality is twice as true but half as funny'. The issues of promotions, wages, policies, inter-departmental struggles, down-in-the-dirt politics (British-style) all arise at various points. Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker win their share of victories over each other, shifting back and forth in their pericoretic movement that typifies politics, from as minor as who has which office, to recognising heads of state and setting election dates.
The duo of Hacker and Sir Humphrey are wonderfully served by Bernard, a faithful PPS (personal private secretary) whose subtle shifting loyalties provides grist for both mills. Those who will be so enamoured of the series that they seek out the printed form will be happy to learn that eventually Bernard becomes Sir Bernard, and is himself eventually Cabinet Secretary. The books of 'Yes, Minister' and 'Yes, Prime Minister' are done in the fashion of diaries, with the neat addition of verbatim letters, photographs, charts, etc., providing a wonderful companion to the series.
This is British political satire at its best. Some of the episodes include:
--The Official Visit--
--The Economy Drive--
--The Writing on the Wall--
--The Right to Know--
--Jobs for the Boys--
Sir Paul Eddington and Sir Nigel Hawthorne
4.0 out of 5 stars british humor,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)These are older videos, but all the humor is timely. The Minister is elected and supposedly the boss, but it actually the underlings that run things, know how it was always done, and explain situations and protocol to the minister. Really funny!
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, Minister DVD set,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)If you like British humor and have some idea what was going on in England around 1980, you will enjoy this, although unfortunately both principal actors are now dead.
I would not be surprised if the portrayal of British political life at the top is much closer to reality than is comfortable.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the reason for DVD,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)Few television programs stand the test of time. Many age badly, becoming less pleasurable to watch with each viewing. Yes, Minister is the opposite!
When my government is preaching economies and telling us that there is no money for anything, I think of Yes Minister.
When I watch politicians squirm and flap about waiting to learn what to think from the next poll, I think of Yes, Minister.
Each time I watch an episode, it rings more true and relevant. What better compliment can one give a decades old comedy.
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely No Finer Comedy in English!,
This review is from: Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] (DVD)The statements you have heard about this program are not exaggerations; Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister are literally the most brilliant comedies ever seen on television. The acting is superb, but what truly shines are the scripts. Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn have equaled and, in the opinions of many, surpassed even Neil Simon (were Oscar Wilde alive, he'd be shaking in his boots!).
Like reading P.G. Wodehouse, once you experience this program, your notion of what is really funny will be redefined forever.
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Yes Minister: The Complete Collection [4 Disks] by Paul Eddington (DVD - 2003)
CDN$ 74.98 CDN$ 47.48