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The Thatcher script
First airtime: 20 January 1984
Length: approx. 4 minutes

Cast Crew
Jim Hacker MP Paul Eddington Writers Margaret Thatcher & Bernard Ingham
Sir Humphrey Appleby Nigel Hawthorne
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

  The National Viewers and Listeners Award 1984

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was so taken by the Yes Minister series, that she wrote a sketch herself (together with her Press Secretary Bernard Ingham). In it she played the Prime Minister, Paul Eddington was playing Jim Hacker (Minister of the Department for Administrative Affairs) and Nigel Hawthorne played Sir Humphrey (Permanent Secretary of the Department for Administrative Affairs). It was played on the National Viewers and Listeners Awards 1984. Below is the script of this sketch and some excerpts in RealVideo.

  RealVideo  Excerpts from the Thatcher script

Prime Minister: Ah, good morning Jim, Sir Humphrey. Do come in and sit down. How's your wife? Is she well?

Jim Hacker: [Puzzled] Oh yes, fine, Prime Minister. Fine. Thank you. Yes, fine.

PM: Good. So pleased. I've been meaning to have a word with you for some time. I've got an idea.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with the cast of Yes MinisterJH: [Brightening visibly] An idea, Prime Minister? Oh good.

Sir Humphrey: [Guardedly] An idea, Prime Minister?

PM: Well, not really an idea. It's gone beyond that actually. I've given it quite a bit of thought and I'm sure you, Jim, are the right man to carry it out. It's got to do with a kind of institution and you are sort of responsible for institutions, aren't you?

SH: [Cautiously] Institutions, Prime Minister?

JH: [Decisively] Oh yes, institutions fall to me. Most definitely. And you want me to set one up, I suppose?

PM: Set one up? Certainly not. I want you to get rid of one.

JH: [Astonished] Get rid of one, Prime Minister?

PM: Yes. It's all very simple. I want you to abolish economists.

JH: [Mouth open] Abolish economists, Prime Minister?

PM: Yes, abolish economists ..... quickly.

SH: [Silkily] All of them, Prime Minister?

PM: Yes, all of them. They never agree on anything. They just fill the heads of politicians with all sorts of curious notions, like the more you spend, the richer you get.

JH: [Coming around to the idea] I see your point, Prime Minister. Can't have the nation's time wasted on curious notions, can we? No.

SH: [Sternly] Minister.

PM: Quite right, Jim. Absolute waste of time. Simply got to go.

JH: [Uncertain] Simply got to go?

PM: [Motherly] Yes Jim. Don't worry. If it all goes wrong I shall get the blame. But if it goes right - as it will - then you'll get the credit for redeploying a lot of underused and misapplied resources. Probably get promotion too.

SH: [Indignantly] Resources? Resources, Prime Minister? We're talking about economists.

PM: Were, Sir Humphrey. Were.

JH: [Decisively] Yes Humphrey, were. We're going to get rid of them.

PM: Well, its all settled then. I'll look forward to receiving your plan for abolition soon. Tomorrow, shall we say? I'd like you to announce it before it all leaks.

JH: [Brightly] Tomorrow then, Prime Minister.

PM: Yes. Well, go and sort it out. Now, Sir Humphrey ..... what did you say your degree was?

SH: [Innocently] Degree, Prime Minister?

PM: [Firmly] Yes, Sir Humphrey, degree. Your degree. You have one, I take it - most Permanent Secretaries do, or perhaps two?

SH: [Modestly] Er, well actually, Prime Minister, a double first.

PM: Congratulations, Sir Humphrey, but what in?

SH: [Weakly] Politics ..... er ...... and er ..... economics.

PM: [Soothingly] Capital, my dear Sir Humphrey. You'll know exactly where to start.

SH: [Bleakly] Yes, Prime Minister.

[Exit Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey]


Plot inconsistency: Sir Humphrey has no degrees in politics and economics. From the episode The Greasy Pole we know he has a degree in the Classics from Baillie College, Oxford.

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