News is news

May I show you something? This came up in a discussion I was having about newspapers: it’s a quote from the book Yes, Prime Minister – The Diaries of the Right Hon. James Hacker by Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay. It’d be quick to say this is the novelisation of the TV series but that hides the fact that that books are excellent political satire all by themselves.

But you know the characters from the TV show. So in A Conflict of Interest, Prime Minister Hacker is nervous about how the press will report the latest debacle and Sir Humphrey thinks this is trivial:

“Humphrey knows nothing about newspapers. He’s a Civil Servant. I’m a politician, I know all about them. I have to. They can make or break me. I know exactly who reads them. The Times is read by the people who run the country. The Daily Mirror is read by the people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country. The Morning Star is read by the people who think the country should be run by another country.

“The Independent is read by people who don’t know who runs the country but are sure they’re doing it wrong. The Financial Times is read by the people who own the country. The Daily Express is read by the people who think the country ought to be run as it used to be run. The Daily Telegraph is read by people who still think it is their country. And the Sun’s readers don’t care who runs the country providing she has big tits.”


3 thoughts on “News is news

  1. In the TV version, I’m fairly sure that Bernard chipped in with the comment about the Sun, followed by the sort of withering look that only Sir Humphrey could deliver…

  2. If only my copy of the DVD was a nice box with the disc missing. Where do I put these things?

    I might try my DVD player.

    But I’m sure you’re right because I can even picture how Bernard would’ve been stopped just a fraction into that last word.

  3. Scott, you’re absolutely right. The trick is to be turning the house over looking for The Bourne Supremacy, that’s when you find Yes, Prime Minister. Obviously.

    But yes, Hacker does all but The Sun, which is volunteered by Bernard. And I was wrong, he doesn’t do the BBC trick of stopping a syllable into the word, he says “big tits” in full – and then does the BBC wince.

    Funny: it’s not a great sequence. Paul Eddington is probably trying to show Hacker thinking it all through but instead it looks like he can’t remember the script.

    All a bit stilted, I’m disappointed to say.


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