New Yes, Prime Minister panned by the critics


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The Independent Culture

The return of Yes, Prime Minister to the small screen after a 24-year absence has been met with criticism from reviewers.

Tom Sutcliffe called its timing "a beat or two off", adding "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".

The Radio Times was harsher, saying the show was "not even close" to the original.

Jack Seale called it  "stagey and unsubtle, with nothing new or relevant to say about modern politics and with weaker one-liners. Far less artfully constructed and written than the 1980s series."

Digital Spy lambasted it further, with Mayer Nissim's review beginning "Oh no, Minister". It continued: "While South Park at its most satirical excelled at ripping apart the last fortnight and The Thick of It seemed to parody the future, classic Yes, Minister's strength was its timelessness. This reboot feels like its struggling to keep up."

"This isn't a case of us refusing to accept the revived show because of the existence of its predecessor, but Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn forcing us to keep thinking of it, over and over again. They've recycled not only the characters and their mannerisms but also snippets of dialogues and - on occasion - the odd gag."

The Guardian maligns the harsh shadow of The Thick of It which delivers far crueler satire than Yes, Prime Minister can muster and predicts that "younger viewers accustomed to the savagery of social media" will find it less satisfying.

Mark Monahan of the The Telegraph, however, gave the show three and a half stars, saying "there's life in the old politico yet".

He writes: "If the names were identical, the faces were all new, and, for devotees of the original BBC series, it may initially have jarred to see anyone other than the beloved trio of Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds (the first two sadly no longer with us) play this marvellously dysfunctional triumvirate."

"Clear that hurdle, however, and there was much to enjoy."