I want something I can tell Parliament!
Government isn't about morality, it is about comedy: the comedy of the political will vs. the administrative won't. The elected government officials battling it out with the appointed civil servants. Both professing to the public’s interest; both edging their own personal agenda.
Most of the show explores the power dynamics between the Permanent Secretary and the Rt Hon Minister. Sir Nigel Hawthorne is exemplary in his portrayal of Sir Humphrey Appleby. The cast and show are brought home by the equally exemplar performances of Paul Eddington and Derek Fowlds.
I must have watched this series over 50 times in this decade alone. There was a certain chemistry between the set, matched with excellent writing and a unique theme, that makes this, not to put too fine a point on it, by far the best political show ever made and easily one of the best comedies as well.
“Family meeting! Family meeting!”
— Dick Solomon
“Bernard, I have served eleven governments in the past thirty years.
If I had believed in all their policies, I would have been passionately committed to keeping out of the Common Market, and passionately committed to going into it…
… A nationalisation freak and a privatisation maniac; but above all, I would have been a stark-staring, raving schizophrenic.”
— Sir Humphrey Appleby
“Education in this country is a disaster. We’re supposed to be preparing children for a working life. Three quarters of the time they’re bored stiff!”
”Well I should have thought that being bored stiff for three quarters of the time was an excellent preparation for working life.”
— Jim Hacker & Sir Humphrey