facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
# I MISS THEATRE
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen.

Yes, Prime Minister

First Published 28 September 2010, Last Updated 28 September 2010

You may have thought you had seen the last of Prime Minister Jim Hacker. But, like many politicians, he has bounced back for a second bite of the cherry, with his long-standing Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby at his side.

The 1980s sitcom Yes, Minister and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister retain a special place in the hearts of many of a certain age who chuckled at its satirical depiction of politicians and their relationship with civil servants. Now, 30 years after the first episode, the creators of the TV series, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, have taken the risk of bringing the same characters to the stage in a new, contemporary story.

In fact, they have packed so many modern references into the play that it is hard to keep track. The Euro, the failing economy, global warming, religion, BBC spending, the UK’s relationship with America: all these themes rear their heads in a play that is attempting to be right on the money. Even Robert Harris’s recent novel about a former Prime Minister writing his memoirs, The Ghost, makes an appearance on Hacker’s desk.

The crux of the play hangs on a theme that one would hope has no roots in real-life contemporary politics, but you never know. Hacker – now leader of the coalition – and Appleby are at Chequers and must deal with the seedy request of a visiting foreign politician who is crucial to an economy-saving deal. Will Hacker accede to the immoral demand in order to save his political skin? This rather insalubrious plotline adds a darker dimension to the familiar scenario which may be alien to fans of the TV series.

Nevertheless, the comedy calibre is kept high by two masters of farce: David Haig and Henry Goodman recreate the cat-and-mouse relationship between politician Hacker and civil servant Appleby, whose often competing agendas result in bluff and blunder. Goodman in particular captures a distinct flavour of the TV series with his Nigel Hawthorne-esque portrayal of Appleby, whose clipped vowels and verbose speeches reveal his innate pomposity. Jonathan Slinger adopts a wimpy physicality to play the hapless, nerdy Principal Private Secretary Bernard Woolley, a man of morals caught between the self-serving game-playing of his superiors.

But for this stage play Jay and Lynn – who also directs – have added a fourth dimension to the trio of the original TV series, Special Policy Advisor Claire Sutton (Emily Joyce). She places their creation firmly in the 21st century by adding not only a female presence but a heavy layer of Alistair Campbell-inspired spin to the tale.

Incredibly, the writers manage to resolve the story and tie up its many themes in a neat finale that is aided by a Jeremy Paxman impersonator (Tim Wallers), a contemporary reference that goes down well with the audience. But fans of the TV show will be pleased to know that the play ends in the traditional manner, as it must, with the words ‘Yes, Prime Minister’.

CB

Share

Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.