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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

  1. 10 Jan '13 12:17
    Just seen this is starting next week.

    I don't know whether to be elated, or terrified. But it is written by Lynn and Jay, so maybe there is a treat in store.
  2. 10 Jan '13 19:07
    Originally posted by Rank outsider
    But it is written by Lynn and Jay, so maybe there is a treat in store.
    But alas, alas, it can't have Paul Eddington or Nigel Hawthorne!
  3. 16 Jan '13 16:56
    SPOILER ALERT

    Watched first episode yesterday.

    Good points

    Script certainly still above average fare and some genuinely laugh out loud moments.

    Particular favourite when discussing a new oil pipeline coming in from Turkey to provide oil to EU. Every EU country wants a share in its building to help with the economic crisis. So the EU solves this by provisionally drafting a route snaking its way through every single EU country in turn and equally.

    Also as good on accuracy as before. Humphrey's discussion the difference between the Presidency of the Council of Europe and the Presidency of the European Council, and why Hacker is President of neither, was both sublime and, as far as I can tell, absolutely correct.

    Less good

    I am beginning to tire of the bit when Humprey simply explains something in bureaucratic gobbledegook and then there is a round of applause at the end.

    I am really struggling the actors playing Hacker, Appleby and Wooley. But I am not sure this is their fault. I will reserve judgment until later.
  4. 16 Jan '13 17:00 / 1 edit
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21028777

    [i]The revival of classic 1980s comedy Yes, Prime Minister has been met with criticism from reviewers. Written by original creators Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, the updated version stars David Haig as Prime Minister Jim Hacker and Henry Goodman as Cabinet Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby.

    However critics panned the first episode of the six-part series on Gold. The Telegraph said the show was "a beat or two off", adding "further consultation" was required. "For one thing, you just can't pretend that The Thick of It never happened, as this seemed to do in featuring a scene of political advisers wincing as their boss flounders through an interview," Tom Sutcliffe wrote. "For another, Henry Goodman can't quite expunge the memory of [original cast member] Nigel Hawthorne's silky perfection."

    In its detailed comparison of the original series against the new, the Radio Times concluded the remake was "not even close" to the "untouchable classic". "Stagey and unsubtle, with nothing new or relevant to say about modern politics and with weaker one-liners," Jack Seale said."The new Hacker seems much more aware of Sir Humphrey's scheming, which takes away a key dynamic of the original: Hacker mistakenly thinking he had outsmarted Sir Humphrey and made his own decision," he said. "Far less artfully constructed and written than the 1980s series."

    Website Digital Spy savaged the show, saying: "Sadly, what could have been a triumphant return for one of the best British sitcoms is undone by bad decisions and ruinous execution." Although it said the first episode contained lines that would make one laugh, it was its only praise. "Classic Yes, Minister's strength was its timelessness. This reboot feels like its struggling to keep up," Mayer Nissim said. "They've recycled not only the characters and their mannerisms but also snippets of dialogues and - on occasion - the odd gag. Its creators have sadly strangled the revival at birth."

    Mark Monahan of the Daily Telegraph was in the minority who were in praise of the programme, saying "there was much to enjoy", adding the stars were "terrific". "In the realms of televisual political satire, The Thick of It undeniably feels meaner, more modern, more "now". But, although Yes, Prime Minister shows its age in its polite language, unchanged format, and laughter track, it still has teeth," he said.
  5. 16 Jan '13 17:03
    Originally posted by Rank outsider
    I am really struggling the actors playing Hacker, Appleby and Wooley. But I am not sure this is their fault. I will reserve judgment until later.
    Might it have been wise to re-use the basic format but with new characters? A different PM and a different civil servant; and perhaps invited Derek Fowlds back to play a now elderly Bernard offering seasoned advice to his juniors in the service?
  6. 16 Jan '13 19:36 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21028777

    The revival of classic 1980s comedy Yes, Prime Minister has been met with criticism from reviewers. Written by original creators Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, the updated version stars David Haig as Prime Minister Jim Hacker and Henry Goodman as Cabinet Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby.

    However format, and laughter track, it still has teeth," he said.
    I agree with a lot of this, especially about the laughter track. I have never really understood the point of this. There were a couple of moments where mildly amusing comments were followed by completely non spontaneous guffaws of laughter. Very irritating. I also agree the staging was not great.

    As for the new Hacker, he seems at the moment just to be a buffoon. The old Hacker was silly, pompous and weak, but he had political nous. And he was able to run rings around Humphrey on occasion, which are some of the best episodes of all.
  7. 16 Jan '13 19:43 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    Might it have been wise to re-use the basic format but with new characters? A different PM and a different civil servant; and perhaps invited Derek Fowlds back to play a now elderly Bernard offering seasoned advice to his juniors in the service?
    Now you mention it, I think you are dead right. Keep the Yes, Minister format but allow the actors to create their own characters. Henry Goodman really is on a hiding to nothing.

    And I can just see an aged Sir Bernard Wooley KCMG, shorn of all his youthful doubts, in the Athenaeum club lecturing the incumbent on what needs to be done to stop civilisation collapsing!