Yes, Prime Minister-Series 1 (1986)

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Released 2-Dec-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 238:34 (Case: 235)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Sydney Lotterby
Peter Whitmore

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Paul Eddington
Nigel Hawthorne
Derek Fowlds
Diana Hoddinott
John Nettleton
Deborah Norton
Peter Cellier
Antony Carrick
Frederick Treves
Donald Pickering
Peter Cartwright
Barry Stanton
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Ronnie Hazlehurst
Valerie Warrender
Richard Winter

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
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

    As a special feature, contained in the season three set of Yes, Minister is the Christmas Special. In this one hour special the honourable Mr. Hacker is raised, in true British fashion, from his humble post to 'the top job'. He is now the prime minister and leader of his party and thus the title of this subsequent series is "Yes, Prime Minister". This of course means that his trusty staff have also been raised to new heights and the problems that they tackle are now often global in proportion.

    The evolution of Hacker's character, played admirably by Paul Eddington, is one of the most endearing attributes of this entire series. Now an experienced politician, and having the power to implement some of his ideas (well, to try to anyway), the interplay between the characters just gets better and better, although if he at any stage gets a little too big for his breeches his lovely wife is always there with a dose of reality.

    It is very hard not to sit and watch this show, particularly just after watching the six o'clock news, and not see that little if anything has changed in the world of politics. I suppose the old saying that things simply could not get any worse appears to apply to politics in general. This series will place all the worry about the world into its correct perspective while giving you many, many laughs.

The Grand Design (29:39)

    After being briefed on the 'state of the nation', all the things that he was not privy to before becoming prime minister, in particular the shaky nature of the defence of the realm, Hacker sets out with a 'Grand Design' to solve the defence, budget and unemployment problems all at once. The only thing standing between him and a chance to really make a difference is Humphrey!

The Ministerial Broadcast (29:32)

    Hacker decides to go public with his grand design outlining the whole thing in his first TV address. He is for the plan, his colleagues are for the plan, the opinion polls show the entire country is for the plan, all are for the plan except for the public service as represented by Humphrey.

The Smoke Screen (29:35)

    Tax cuts and an anti-smoking campaign leave Jim Hacker with a problem. His attempted solution comes unstuck and it is up to Humphrey to save the day.

The Key (29:30)

    This has to be one of my favourite episodes of the entire series. Nigel Hawthorne outdoes even his normally brilliant performance portraying poor Humphrey when he is locked out of number 10.

A Real Partnership (30:00)

    How to have a pay rise when no one wants you to. In a brilliant satire on government spending and wages this episode is almost too biting to be funny. You swing from jaw dropping amazement at the audacity to rolling around holding your sides from the laughter.

A Victory for Democracy (30:16)

    Hacker ends up disagreeing with the foreign office; one has an altruistic view on how the world should be and the other a little too much pragmatism. Who will win?

The Bishop's Gambit (30:25)

    The job of choosing a new Bishop leads to lots of trouble for Hacker. There are two candidates, and neither is really suitable for a variety of reasons. Humphrey steps in with a solution, albeit one that has a secret agenda.

One of Us (29:37)

    A poor little lost dog becomes the focus when it is stranded in the middle of an Army firing range, a place that would be very difficult and dangerous to rescue him from. This focus distracts from a bigger problem - the ex-head of MI5 has just been revealed as a Russian Spy, embarrassing particularly as he had been cleared many years ago by a young Sir Humphrey.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     It would appear that the ABC has not supplied me with the 'retail' version of this series for review. The retail version appears to be the usual two discs but my version is a single two sided disc i.e.: a flipper. Each side is a single layer.

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1, close to its original 1.33:1, the overall quality is in line with the previous series and is commensurate with a TV series of this age.

    Pausing at 8:26 in the first episode shows the age and video source related problems with this transfer. Overall sharpness is not bad on stationary objects but motion blur takes over from there degrading the image. Objects in the backgrounds are little more than blurs. Shadow detail is acceptable but affected by the ever-present video noise. Bright lights, as in the above scene, leave trails behind them during pans.

    Colour saturation is down but this is to be expected. The colours are also affected by the video noise.

    The encoding seems to have handled what is a very difficult source quite well with only minor artefacting present mostly triggered by the video noise. Outside scenes are of course film sourced and show their age and quality with grain and some of the usual marks and flecks.

    There are English subtitles on this disc. They are accurate but some of the longer sentences are paraphrased.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     A perfectly functional Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack is present on this disc.

    Dialogue quality is good as is the audio sync.

    Other than the opening credits there is no music during the series.

    There was no surround activity nor was the subwoofer active.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    A simple static menu accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. A picture of the three main characters sits above a menu offering: Play All, Episode Selection, Scene Selection and finally Subtitles On/Off.

R4 vs R1

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

    As with the Yes, Minister series, the US have received the entire Yes, Prime Minister series as one package. It also includes the Christmas Special that we received as an extra with series three of Yes, Minister. Keeping this in mind:

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    This leaves us with an R1 winner on the basis of the missing extras.


    This is a very difficult series to review. Every time you put the disc on to check on something you end up watching an entire episode again. It is heartening that this series has a great deal of re-watch potential - the laughs just never get tired.

    The video is as expected for its age and source.

    The audio is functional.

    There are no extras!

Ratings (out of 5)


© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Saturday, October 29, 2005
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.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR800
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R1 subtitles etc - penguin (there is no bio)