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YES MINISTERíS BACK! (article first published : 2005-02-21)

The popular British comedy series Yes Minister featuring former South African actor, Sir Nigel Hawthorne, is back on BBC Prime on DStv from February 24 at 20h00.

The Right Honourable James Hacker (Paul Eddington) is appointed Minister for the Department of Administrative Affairs. At his department he has to work together with his Machiavellian Permanent Secretary, the urbane Sir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne).

The interests of both are very different. Jim Hacker has to make sure he remains popular (for votes) and that he carries out cabinet's policies (for the PM). Sir Humphrey, however, is interested in securing and possibly extending the position of his department in terms of staffing and budget. As we see, the main battles are to be fought in the corridors of power as the amiably opportunist Jim Hacker crosses swords with Sir Humphrey. On some occasions however their interests coincide and they have to work together.

In the first episode of this second series, Compassionate Society we see Jim Hacker on his way to the Ministry. He learns from his chauffeur that there is a new St. Edward's hospital in Northern London that is staffed with 500 administrators and ancillary workers, but has no doctors, nurses or patients. Jim Hacker is aghast and decides to ask Bernard (Derek Fowlds) to look into this.

In Doing the Honours, Jim Hacker asks in despair how he can make civil servants want economies as much as they want honours. Then Bernard proposes only to award the honours to those civil servants that have cut their budgets by 5%. Jim Hacker thinks this is a brilliant plan while in The Death List, Private Eye - a political magazine - has revealed that Jim Hacker had been under secret surveillance while being in opposition. Furthermore, it has discovered that Jim's department is responsible for all bugging equipment, and this makes him the government's chief bugger. Jim Hacker is shocked by these revelations. Seven episodes in all make up this hilarious series.




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