Yes Prime Minister Icon
Gielgud Theatre
Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 7ES
Yes Prime Minister
Gielgud Theatre 3D location mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Gielgud Theatre photo Photo ©Tony Reading 2008
Show Details
Preview 17th Sep 10
Opens 27th Sep 10
Booking to 15th Jan 11
Show Times
Monday - Saturday 7.30 pm
Matinée Wed & Sat 2.30 pm

Local Info
Top Class restaurants nearby;

Laureate (Chinese)
64 Shaftesbury Avenue
020 7437 5088

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Suffolk Place
020 7930 9020

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29 Haymarket
020 7930 1885
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A note from the author

We put this AVMovie together (a compilation of still photos and video clips) to show off London theatres as they are seen most often by theatre goers – by night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and  informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.



British Political Satire is centuries old. Cartoonists were outspoken to a level we gasp at even today, pointing their fingers at politicians and the royalty with a view to have them own up to mistakes and put them right.  When the lower classes started jibing at the upper classes it was done to make people laugh at the folly of it all.  Victorian England changed all that. Queen Victoria's most quoted saying was "We are not amused".

Post war Britain dragged itself politically in the wake of old men with no imagination or apparent love of life.  The 50's was grey and depressing. London was blackened by the smoke of fires, and thick fog (smog) of reconstruction.  And when it wasn't raining it was drizzling during draconian rationing, rebuilding bomb sites and struggling to survive the loveless government.  What was worse the Americans, the French and Germans - even the italians were moving their asses to rebuild both their cities and their economies.  They were inspired -  (dammit) the yanks had Kennedy and what did we have? Apathy. 'The Goon Show' on the radio (Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan) was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Age old British saying "You gotta laugh" became a reality in the early 60's when Oxford and Cambridge graduates started in Edinburgh with a brilliantly satirical show called 'Beyond the Fringe' which hit hard with wit and intelligence and It hit the West End in 1961 - a hit in every sense. Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennet and Jonathan Miller.

Political satire had been suppressed by the ever watchful Lord Chamberlain , who had his work cut out with Lady Chatterley, until the swinging 60's created BBC programmes that became massively popular. Though Prime Minister Wilson abolished the old school censorship of the Lord he also made sure that the millions of viewers who adored 'That was the Week That Was' (TW3) never returned to TV because it was too cutting (embarrassing) for him. The BBC itself was forced to pull the show as being "too contraversial for the masses".  "Not the Nine O'Clock News" was tame by comparison.

Political satire reappeared in the 80s with the first episode of 'Yes, Minister' and reached the masses again as TV's top 'political comedy'  (TW3 was outrageous satire) with its sequel, 'Yes, Prime Minister' and was much funnier while not threatening to change anything. It aired until 1987.

We are all used to 'politics' by now. The scripts are even taught in schools and universities in their attempt to 'teach politics'. Classic.

This play

The original writers  Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay have an impressive background of successes having originally met while working for John Cleese.  After many an accolade they re-united and wrote the current play for fun and that is what it certainly is.  Their insights became predictive having been written in June, about a coalition that we now have along with the long forecast financial unraveling debacle of the bankers. The Prime Minister his Cabinet Secretary and his Principal Private Secretary return along with a Special Policy Advisor (Claire) in this great new play that also incorporates other things we are used to like 'spin' iPhones, sex, and toxic international relations - oh and the EU of course.

The new players are acclaimed as brilliant and there's no doubt that the audience leave looking refreshed and happy - almost relieved. This one is only on for 3 months - closes in January - should be running for .. well at least until 2012.

So better book soon or - whoosh  the brilliant may be replaced with another musical tribute.... you gotta laugh. You gotta see it. All out enthusiasm from laughing audiences of all ages, this play is a classic and a resounding success.

The Story

All we can say is that Margaret Thatcher loved the programme while Blair rebuked the few who dared to say "Yes Prime Minister".


Written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn.

  • Henry Goodman - Sir Humphrey Appleby
  • David Haig - Jim Hacker
  • Emily Joyce - Claire Sutton
  • Jonathan Slinger - Bernard Woolley
  • Sam Dastor - The Kumranistan Ambassador
  • Tim Wallers - Simon Chestor, BBC Presenter
  • William Chubb - Jeremy Burnham, Director General of the BBC

  • Director - Jonathan Lynn
  • Assisant Director -Tim Hoare
  • Design - Simon Higlett
  • Lighting - Tim Mitchell
  • Casting - Garielle Dawes
© 2011 Updated 2nd Nov 2010