The Complete Yes Minister: Diaries of a Cabinet Minister -“by Rt Hon. James Hacker M.P.”

Review By Harbinger

Real Authors: Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn






Well Hello everybody, yes I have returned, I daresay I have been gone so long most of you have forgotten who I am. I am the irritating one, with long hair like Alan Davies. I love the new site..pretty in pink it is.

It is all change, I am living in a new house, and will hopefully soon be starting a new course, a PhD. So as you can imagine I have a large, TBR and large to be reviewed pile as well to get through.

I thought I would start my first review with something light and fun. As you all know I love my comedy, and this book is really a companion to the BBC TV Series Yes Minister, which was first made in 1980. Which is astonishingly 9 years before I was born. The story, is of a young wet behind the ears M.P., who is given the opportunity to become a Cabinet Minister in the New Government. The eager and enthusiastic former Journalist James Hacker. He steps into his new office at the Department of Administrative Affairs, with eagerness and exuberance to get things done. His Political will, soon comes running head long into administrative won’t, in the form of Sir Humphrey Appleby, a charming  and smooth civil servant who does all he can to stop Hacker from implementing his policies, under the guise of helping the new minister.

The two authors, Anthony Jay and Jonothan Lynn who also wrote the TV series have done a good job with this book. With many people at the time, and now having a sneaking suspicion, that the Seires and book are not just comedy but have an element of truth in them, about how the country is run.

The book, details the events of the first to series of the show. It is however, generally written in Diary form, so we get to see inside Hacker’s head unlike in the series. It also has notes and points , about how some of the events detailed in the series and the book genuinely happened. Such as in one such incident, where Hacker and Sir Humphrey, allow another Country to buy British oil Rigs with British money, that was lent interest free. A similar incident actually occured under James Callahan’s government in the 1970’s, when our oil tankers were purchased by another government with money we loaned to them intrest free. 

It is intresting to see the realtionship between the three main charachters of the series.

James Hacker’s, vein, egotistical, idealistic and publicity seeking nature butts up perfectly against, Humphriey’s pragmatic, cynical, unemotional pursuit of maintaining the status quo that suits him and his colleagues. Bernard Wooley, Hacker’s private secretary (and also a civil servant) often finds himself caught between the extremes of Idealism and cynicism and tries to help Hacker where he can but he is first and foremost a civil servant, and so naturally owes allegiance to Humphrey.

It is a very funny look, at British political life, and I well recomend the book as worth reading.


And It is GREAT to be back. 🙂




Event | Robert Rankin at Leicester Phoenix

As part of the Alt.Fiction annual programme Robert Rankin appeared at Leicester’s Phoenix Digital Art Centre. Rankin is an entertaining speaker, lively on stage, witty and full of good stories, an hour flew by. Of course I may be forever scarred by the thought of the blue suit.

After the talk there was time for a signing and Robert took time to talk to his fans as he signed.

An excellent event, look out for more signings and events in your area from Writing East Midlands ‘Alt.Fiction‘ brand.

Robert Rankin’s latest book Mechanical Messiah is available now and if you’ve never read him before I would personally recommend going back to the Brentford Trilogy.