Question of the week: Is it wrong to recast Yes, Prime Minister?

Yes Prime Minister

Yes, Prime Minister is a true classic of British television. With characters almost inextricably linked to the actors who created them, Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington, it was a telling, comedic look at the British civil service by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn.

Since the programme ended in the 1980s, Jay and Lynn have since created a version for the stage starring David Haig and Henry Goodman, and now UK Gold are taking that cast and creating a new series of Yes, Prime Minister, with Jay and Lynn writing that as well.

Today’s question, though, is:

Is it wrong to recast Yes, Prime Minister or should Jay and Lynn create new characters for the series? Is it disrespectful to the memories of Eddington and Hawthorne to have these same characters revived? Is it just impossible to imagine anyone else performing those roles as well as the originals? Or does it make no difference – a character’s a character and we might as well object that people are still playing Hamlet, even though the original actor is dead?

Answers below or on your own blog, please?


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.