The world of Yes, Prime Minister rewritten for the digital age

Yes, Prime Minister
Yes, Prime Minister

WHILE I enjoyed this week’s touring production of Yes Prime Minister at Milton Keynes Theatre, I have a sneaking suspicion the subject matter doesn’t really work any more.

I’ve a feeling that times may have changed too much since the 1980s, when older and younger generations alike laughed at the behind-the-scenes Whitehall machinations in TV’s Yes, Minister, closely followed by Yes, Prime Minister.

Is it just me, or have we grown too cynical now to really be amused by the ineptitude of politicians courting votes and the devious plotting of civil servants determined to resist change to the established order?

Isn’t it just too near the knuckle?

It’s a shame, because I was looking forward to an evening of light relief in these depressing times.

The authors of the satirical TV sitcom, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, have reunited for this anniversary production, and prime minister Jim Hacker and his cabinet secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby are now deep in the world of spin, smartphones and sexed-up dossiers.

The PM is staring disaster in the face, the country is on the brink of financial meltdown and the government’s only apparent salvation comes from a morally dubious deal with the foreign minister of Kumranistan.

Excuse me, but where’s the escapism?

Prime minsiter Hacker is played by Graham Seed (The Archers’ much-loved Nigel Pargetter for 30 years) while Michael Simkins, playing Sir Humphrey, has an impressive portfolio of credentials as a theatre and TV actor, author and Radio 4 contributor.

So I feel churlish to say it left me cold, but it rather did.

I seem to have stopped finding the backside-covering, clambering and conniving of our political movers and shakers remotely entertaining.

Am I alone?

Yes, Prime Minister is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday, March 31. Box office 0844 871 7607 or visit