Overall | Yes, Prime Minister-Series 1 (1986) | Yes, Prime Minister-Series 2 (1987)

Yes, Prime Minister-Complete Series 1 & 2 (1986)

Yes, Prime Minister-Complete Series 1 & 2 (1986)

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Released 2-Nov-2005

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Overall Package

Bernard Woolley: "I think the Prime Minister wants to govern Britain."

Sir Humphrey Appleby: "Well stop him, Bernard."

 

    An all time classic of British comedy, with an acceptable, but not stunning, transfer to DVD.

 

    This is a three disc set, including the previously released Yes, Prime Minister - Series 1 and Yes, Prime Minister - Series 2 For some reason, Series 1 is on a flipper (two sides containing three episodes each) whilst Series 2 is spread across two discs. Disc 1 of Series 2 has 4 episodes while Disc 2 has the final 2 episodes (contrary to the information on the box which reads like each disc has three episodes). There is a notable difference in quality between Series 1 and Series 2, with Series 1 being more grainy and Series 2 being clearer and sharper.

 

    As pointed out in the review of Yes, Prime Minister - Series 1, the Region 1 version of this set - Yes, Prime Minister - The Complete Collection - gets a few extras missing from these DVDs, including:

    For fans of the series, the Region 1 would be the winner on the basis of these extras.

 

     There also appears to be a Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister 2 - Pak available in Region 1, which appear to be just a collection of the same DVD sets available individually in Region 1.

 

    A commentary track by the actors, an improved video transfer, and a better way of spreading the episodes across discs would have been made this set even better.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Kristen Clark & Ryan Woodforde (I love the smell of bio in the morning.)
Thursday, January 12, 2006
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Commentary track - GraemeG

Overall | Yes, Prime Minister-Series 1 (1986) | Yes, Prime Minister-Series 2 (1987)

Yes, Prime Minister-Series 1 (1986)

Yes, Prime Minister-Series 1 (1986)

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Released 2-Dec-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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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
Studio
Distributor

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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

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

Audio

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

Extras

Menu

    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.

Summary

    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)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© 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)

Overall | Yes, Prime Minister-Series 1 (1986) | Yes, Prime Minister-Series 2 (1987)

Yes, Prime Minister-Series 2 (1987)

Yes, Prime Minister-Series 2 (1987)

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Released 7-Jul-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 235:17 (Case: 298)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (19:03)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Sydney Lotterby
Peter Whitmore
Studio
Distributor

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-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Ronnie Hazlehurst
Valerie Warrender
Richard Winter


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Some time ago I reviewed an Australian political satire television series called Grass Roots. In that review I called it the best political satire I had ever seen, bar none. I included this series and its predecessor Yes, Minister in that comparison. I still stand by that statement, but this is without a doubt a truly excellent political satire as well. I think the thing which pushes Grass Roots ahead is its intricate plotting and ongoing story arcs across the whole series. Both are extremely funny.

    Anyway, just in case you don't know Yes, Prime Minister is an English political satire which follows the political career of Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) after he becomes Prime Minister. In Yes, Minister  he was Minister for Administrative Affairs and in the first series of this show, he becomes Prime Minister. This second series includes eight excellent episodes in which he spars with his long time adversary, Sir Humphrey (Nigel Hawthorne), who is now Cabinet Secretary. Jim is ably assisted by his droll private secretary, Bernard (Derek Fowlds), and is joined in this show by a new ally, his political adviser Dorothy Wainwright. Dorothy has an ongoing war with Sir Humphrey. The comedy is mostly about the interaction between Jim, representing the political side of government and Sir Humphrey, representing the administrative side. However, some of the best lines are kept for Bernard.

    One of the things which sets this show apart from its predecessor is that Jim gets the better of Sir Humphrey more often. This particular series was first shown on the BBC in late 1987, early 1988.

    Strangely, this set is a combination of one dual-layer disc and one single-layer disc meaning that 5 episodes are on the first disc and three on the second. The episodes included here are:

  1. Man Overboard (30:02) Jim wants to move army bases into the north of England to promote the economy and employment. He finds that the public service are not so keen on this idea.
  2. Official Secrets (30:07) Jim tries to stop publication of the memoirs of the former Prime Minister as they are critical of him. A member of the committee leaks his objections to the press.
  3. A Diplomatic Incident (28:08) Negotiations are underway with the French on details of the channel tunnel. As Jim hosts a state funeral for his predecessor the French try to cause a diplomatic incident to embarrass him.
  4. A Conflict of Interest (30:04) There is a financial scandal in the city and Jim wants to appoint a honest man as the next Governor of the Bank of England. Sir Humphrey tries to dissuade him.
  5. Power to the People (30:31) Jim is having trouble with a local councillor who wants to abolish the police and make other radical changes to the country. Jim assigns Sir Humphrey the task of sorting it out.
  6. The Patron of the Arts (28:05) Jim has agreed to appear at a Theatre awards night but realises too late that the audience will be hostile due to recent budget cuts for the arts.
  7. The National Education Service (30:03) The PM needs to reform the education system or it might lose him the next election. Sir Humphrey, of course will not allow that to happen without a fight.
  8. The Tangled Web (28:17) Jim gets caught by Sir Humphrey lying to the house, even though he didn't know he was lying. Sir Humphrey tries to use it as leverage.

    A great series of a great English political satire. Highly Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good, especially considering the age of this show.

    The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was fairly clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. The clarity was affected by some very light grain throughout. Shadow Detail was also quite good. The bit rate was consistently high, somewhere around the 7 Mbps mark.

    The colour was quite good considering the source, although not without problems. Faces were a little pale generally, there was some colour bleeding and occasional flashes of red or green especially around someone's head. I also noticed a little cross colourisation.

    Besides those mentioned above, there were also some other artefacts present including some minor tape tracking artefacts, some very mild aliasing especially showing itself as jagged edges, a little bit of edge enhancement, some comet trails especially from lights and a few black specks here and there. Despite all of this being present none of them were overly distracting.

    There are subtitles in English. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 19:03 in episode 3 of Disc 1 and caused a slight pause.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is fine.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync, which of course is the principal requirement of a comedy soundtrack.

    The music by Ronnie Hazelhurst mostly consists of the theme tune. It is slightly distorted during the intro to most episodes.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer are not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu included music,stills and the ability to select scenes and subtitles.

 

R4 vs R1

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

    This show is available as a complete box set in Region 1 with both series included. This set also includes some significant extras. This particular series is available in Region 2 in exactly the same format.In terms of this series specifically the local product is better, however, the Region 1 set is probably the choice at this stage if you want both series of this show.

Summary

    A great political satire.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is fine for the purpose.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, August 29, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R1 subtitles - penguin (there is no bio) REPLY POSTED
complete box set in Region 4 - David G REPLY POSTED