Hit Brit Political Satire ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ to Return to U.K. TV Screens

4:06 AM PST 03/29/2012 by Stuart Kemp

Writers Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay penning fresh take on hit 1980s show for UKTV’s Gold channel.

LONDON – The British media was abuzz with plans to bring back BAFTA-winning political satire and hit TV show Yes, Prime Minister to British television screens.

British pay TV platform UKTV’s flagship comedy channel Gold has commissioned six episodes of a new series which will see the Rt. Hon Jim Hacker back in office as prime minister, leading a coalition government.

The 1980s lauded satire will return in a contemporary setting, scripted by the original writing team, Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay, and based on their hit play.

It will be produced by BBC Productions exclusively for Gold.

The show marks the first commission to follow Gold’s stated aim to inject “double-digit millions” into original content as it builds its comedy schedule in 2012, its 20th year on air.

The original show featuring powerful but beleaguered prime minister Jim Hacker - assisted by his impenetrably loquacious advisor Sir Humphrey Appleby and Principal Private Secretary, Bernard Woolley - were last seen on screen in 1988.

It is a matter of record that the show influenced latter satirical writers and performers such as Stephen Fry and Armando Iannucci (The Thick Of It) and was famously touted as being the PM at the time Margaret Thatcher's favorite show.

The original cast, with Paul Eddington as PM and Nigel Hawthorne as Appleby are now dead and the casting for the show has not been announced.

The only surviving member of the main original cast is Derek Fowlds, who played principal private secretary Bernard Woolley.

News of its revival prompted The Guardian in the U.K. to set up an internet chat forum on whether or not a revival of the much-loved original show was a good idea or not.

Much of the sentiment expressed suggests the program makers would do well to steer clear of trying to ape the warmth and affection generated by Eddington and Hawthorne.

But the hunger for political satire on British remains undiminished with many twitterers and internet opinions calling for the backers to bring it on.

UKTV director of commissioning Jane Rogerson said: “The political landscape in Britain today is the perfect setting for Yes, Prime Minister to return. I’m thrilled that Gold has enticed Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay to pen a brand new series, and can’t wait to see this constitutional treasure back on screens across the country.”  

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