Yes, Prime Minister for Gold return

Satellite channel Gold has announced the return of classic BBC political comedy Yes, Prime Minister for six new episodes.

The series, which last saw new episodes produced 24 years ago, will be produced by the BBC, which originally broadcast the earlier series. Gold has re-run the classic episodes and now hopes to capture the political world of 2012 in comedy.

“The political landscape in Britain today is the perfect setting for Yes, Prime Minister to return. I’m thrilled that Gold has enticed Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay to pen a brand new series, and can’t wait to see this constitutional treasure back on screens across the country.” Says Director of Commissioning for UKTV, Jane Rogerson.

Gold is the flagship comedy channel of broadcasting network UKTV who have previously revived, to much success, former BBC Two space comedy Red Dwalf and now bosses hope the, forty-minute, six new episodes of Yes, Prime Minister will prove as popular as the channel’s previous revivals. The show will return in a contemporary setting, scripted by the original writing team, Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay, and based on their hit play.

The ultimately powerful but beleaguered Prime Minister Jim Hacker – assisted by his impenetrably loquacious advisor Sir Humphrey Appleby and Principal Private Secretary, Bernard Woolley were played originally by Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds. Eddington died in 1995.

The Gold series will see the Rt. Hon Jim Hacker back in office as PM, leading a coalition government confronting the greatest economic crisis in a generation, European economies going down the toilet, a tempting energy deal from an unusual source, a leadership crisis with his coalition partners, a Scottish independence referendum and the greatest moral dilemma he has ever faced.

Steve North, General Manager, Gold, added, “Gold is making a great investment into iconic and original British programming and what better place to start than with the timely return of the nation’s greatest satire: Yes, Prime Minister. I’m a huge fan of the original and it’s a real treat to be able to bring this utterly brilliant series to a whole new generation”.

The much-admired, BAFTA award winning, satire ran from 1980 to 1984 originally as Yes, Minister before becoming Yes, Prime Minister in 1986 and ending in 1988 after nearly 40 episodes. Spin-off radio productions and theatre tours followed after the demise of the TV production.

The show was noted to be a favourite of then PM Margaret Thatcher, so much so Thatcher performed a short sketch with actors Eddington and Hawthorne in 1984 at a public ceremony.

UKTV say that Yes, Prime Minister is the first commission to follow Gold’s announcement that it will inject “double-digit millions” into original content as it seeks to add to its ‘crown jewels of comedy’ schedule in 2012, its 20th year on air.

Mark Freeland, Head of BBC In-House Comedy said: “The much extended tour of Yes, Prime Minister in theatres up and down the country proved that this iconic comedy has lost none of its satirical bite. The one-liners hit home like the crack of the Whip. BBC In House Comedy is delighted to team up with Gold to bring this classic back to our screens with all new episodes”.

Gold began life in 1992 as UK Gold, originally a classic television showcase showing a range of archive programming ranging from early episodes of soap operas, comedies, dramas and game shows. The station was reformatted into a comedy-focused broadcaster in 2008.