I saw the theatre production of Yes, Prime Minister earlier this week. Very disappointing. They have a very hard act to follow, whether you think of the original scripts or of the actors involved, but this really doesn’t deserve to be connected to the originals. The plots, many of them vaguely familiar, were less sophisticated and played out with a good deal less subtlety. So, instead of discrete pressure being put on the BBC, we had little more than crude threats. The moral dilemma was so stark as to be not worthy of consideration. And there was one good gag – a map of Europe showing the route of a proposed oil pipeline going through every member state to keep them all happy.
As for the acting, Sir Humphrey wasn’t too bad – but he did come across as a pantomime villain at times. And the dramatic entry backlit by lightning was so predictable (and a less than subtle reference to Gus O’Donnell?). Bernard was lost – either Rosencrantz or Guildenstern, perhaps? And Jim Hacker was hamming it up for all he was worth. When he hid under the desk, most of the audience were cringing.
Would it stand up to critical scrutiny if it didn’t draw on the original series? Probably not.