Margaret Thatcher was a useful PM in the end - she inspired many writers and musicians to take out their vitriol on her, directly or indirectly, at a time when politics started to mean something after the three-day weeks and power-cuts suffered in the 70s. "Spitting Image", Rory Bremner and Ben Elton all had plenty of comical repartee and down-right mickey-taking to get out of their collective systems. However, in the 80s, there was a far more subtle entity on TV that made fun of government without direct reference to any particular allegiance.
"Yes, Minister" starred the late Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne (now a 'Sir') as the beleaguered Rt. Hon Jim Hacker and his crafty Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby respectively. Add in the observant bystander to all of the scheming, Bernard Woolley, and you have the pre-cursor to today's successful "The Thick of ot" minus the cussing. Sharp scripts written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn and expert production by Sydney Lotterby, made this a must-see, normally for Humphrey's ridiculously long-winded and blustered speeches.
30 years after the first episode was aired, Jay and Lynn have now written a new script for the stage production of its sequel, "Yes, Prime Minister". Jim Hacker is now PM and forced to try and outwit Humphrey at all costs, much to his own disapproval. For this stage performance, the excellent David Haig, who also appeared in "The Thick of it" as Steve Fleming, plays Hacker and becomes embroiled in dodgy dealings with the Middle East, with Humphrey and Bernard looking on (and stirring up trouble as usual).
Tickets are now on sale for this show, which will start its run at the Gielgud Theatre on 17th September and continue until 15th January 2011. Prices start at £13.50, rising to £56.45 for the best seats. After seeing this, you'll probably wonder where the current government got their ideas from...