Yes Minister-Series Three

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Released 6-May-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Party Games
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 267:05 (Case: 260)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Peter Whitmore
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Paul Eddington
Nigel Hawthorne
Derek Fowlds
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $49.95 Music Ronnie Hazlehurst


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Just how do you top season one and two of Yes Minister? With season three of course! This series just keeps getting better and better. In this season, the Honourable Jim Hacker is now a seasoned politician and is wise to the ways of Sir Humphrey and his cohorts. This does not mean that he gains the upper hand all the time, just slightly more often than in the early days. On the other hand, Jim has also been influenced by Sir Humphrey and is not the innocent that he once was.

This is the last season of Yes Minister, but of course not the end of the series as next comes Yes Prime Minister. On this two disc set are the seven episodes that comprised the third season as well as the Christmas special that aired in 1984 just under two years after the final episode of the third series went to air.

Equal Opportunities. (28:43)

Sexism in the British Civil Service comes in for a wonderful bollocking. Back in the eighties when this series was made this was a very hot topic, though portrayed differently to how it would be today. The reactions of all the main characters and the woman at the centre of the fuss is absolutely priceless. Each department head gets up and outlines why women would not be appropriate in their department and this is one of the funniest collection of male prejudice I have seen for ages. Jim is on a campaign - he actually wants to achieve something, anything! The goal for this episode is to bring in positive discrimination until women equal men in the top jobs. Poor old Jim doesn't even understand why he gets into trouble with this one.

The Challenge. (30:25)

The rules have been broken -  Jim has talked directly to someone in the lower ranks. Even worse, this guy actually knows what he is talking about. This leads Jim to attempt to make councils responsible for the money that they spend. Sir Humphrey is horrified - if they make councillors responsible then this insidious idea might spread to the civil service. Sir Humphrey rides out to head Jim off at the pass.

The Skeleton in the Cupboard. (30:13)

Thirty years ago a young civil service employee made a very expensive mistake, one that is about to cost the government millions of pounds. Just as the news of the mistake becomes public the thirty year rule, where government documents are released to the public after thirty years, is about to reveal who the bumbling young civil servant is. There is just a chance that this person is still in the civil service and after thirty years might be a very senior person.

The Moral Dimension. (28:41)

After a visit to Kumran, where a very large contract has been signed, Jim is caught between a rock and a hard place when he discovers that the contract was gained through improper means. He attempts to take Sir Humphrey on at his own game of civil service one-upmanship, but even though he has learnt a lot in his time in government he is still a babe in the woods compared to Sir Humphrey.

The Bed of Nails. (29:24)

The National transport integration plan is a hot potato and no-one wants to take it on. With a quick sleight of hand while Sir Humphrey is out of the office, Jim's senior colleagues talk him into accepting the challenge. On his return, Sir Humphrey is not impressed and explains the facts of life surrounding this 'bed of nails' to Jim. For once the two are in complete agreement and work together to try and get ride of this time bomb before it goes off in their faces.

The Whisky Priest. (29:43)

A politician with a conscience is never going to sleep at nights, ever. Jim is informed via a reliable source that there are some illegal arms deals being done, ones that end up supplying terrorists with British munitions. Jim sets off to do something about this but is blocked at all avenues by Sir Humphrey.

The Middle Class Rip Off. (29:56)

The political satire in this episode is played beautifully. Jim's local constituency has a football club, one that is running out of money. In an effort to help out his loyal constituency he proposes a plan where a local art museum, one that has little to endear it to anyone, even art lovers, could be sold off and then the council could loan the money to the football club and everyone would be happy. That is of course everyone except Sir Humphrey, always on the lookout for anything that might set a precedent that could lead to impinging on the prerogatives of the civil service or it's powers. When cornered by Sir Humphrey's plan, Jim shows that he has learnt much from Sir Humphrey and finishes with a flourish.

Party Games. (60:53)

The prime minister has resigned and there is a flurry to decide on a replacement. There are two candidates from within Jim's party and they are at each other's throats. The third and most powerful group, the civil service, have their own agenda. In a wonderful crown to this season we see some wonderful politics and satire and end up rolling around on the floor paralysed with laughter.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     While the image still has some problems it is a step up from the first two seasons. The transfer is presented at its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    I think sharpness is slightly better than in the first two seasons, particularly on close-ups. As usual with video-based material, distance shots and movement are blurred in relation to speed or distance. Shadow detail is pretty good. The biggest difference is the low level noise triggered by the noise inherent in video recordings, particularly of this age. In the first two seasons, this was quite bad. With this season it is still present but at a much lower level. There are some problems with peak white levels, with some scenes burning out detail in bright areas.

    Colours are not too bad, albeit a little down in saturation. There is also some chroma noise present, particularly in the reds. A clear example of this is the red boxes in the background of the first episode at 5:49.

    MPEG artefacts are present in moving objects such as Sir Humphrey's face at 16:57 in the first episode. Posterization is present in many scenes, in particular in the skin tones. Clear examples are at 5:39 and 8:44. Video aliasing is present in many scenes also, particularly when the camera pans vertically - watch Jim's desk at 46:24. Video noise is also present, but not to the extent it was in the first two series. Film artefacts are present when film has been used on location; this includes grain, marks and the occasional scratch.

    The subtitles for this series are limited to English and are acceptable but miss a fair amount. They often paraphrase, although this is undoubtedly simply to keep up with the amount of dialogue.

    The first disc is a dual layered disc but the layer change is not apparent during the episodes. The second disc is single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack present on this disc.

    There are no problems with the dialogue quality nor with the audio sync except in one scene. In the opening scene of Episode 5, the audio sync is so far out it looks like a dubbed Hong Kong film. To be fair, this only lasts for about 5 seconds.

    Other than the immortal opening and closing theme there is no music during the episodes.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are not used by this audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    A static menu presented at 1.33:1 with no audio. The backdrop is a picture of our three main characters.

Featurette: Party Games (60:53)

    As outlined above, this is the Christmas special that aired just short of two years after the end of series three. It is the transition between Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister and is a wonderful hour's entertainment.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

 

    The first three series, 21 episodes in all, have been released in Region 1 as a single boxed set. While they get some extras that we don't, they appear to have missed out on Party Games.

    This comparison is based on the extras - remember that this is a single set of seven episodes and Party Games and the R1 has twenty one episodes.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    Reports on the transfer in R1 do not look very good but not having seen this transfer myself I cannot comment. I assume that they plan to release the Yes Prime Minister series in R1 along with Party Games, so the extras are a vote for R1, but the conversion from PAL to NTSC may have degraded the image really leaving us with a line ball call.

Summary

    Yes Minister is British comedy at its very best. The series has very high rewatchability and the satire will never grow old, at least not while the Westminster system of government is in practice somewhere in the world.

    The video quality is acceptable for its age.

    The audio is a perfectly functional mono effort.

    The Party Games extra is a very nice inclusion, but it is a shame about the other missing material.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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