Good ratings? Yes Prime Minister

But critics split on sitcom's return

The return of Yes Prime Minister has proved a ratings hit for Gold – but divided critics.

Last night’s opening episode – the first new one in 24 years – attracted 283,000 viewers, more than twice the 117,000 the digital channel normally gets in that slot.

The series was written by original creators Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay, based on their recent West End play, and starred David Haig as Jim Hacker, and Henry Goodman,Chris Larkin and Zoe Telford as his aides.

However, critics were split over whether the comeback was such a good idea. The Independent said the show seemed dated (‘You just can't pretend that The Thick of It never happened’) and the actors could not compare to the original.

But the Telegraph said that once viewers ‘cleared that hurdle’ they would find the show ‘still has teeth’ despite showing its age.

The website Digital Spy was the most scathing, however, saying: ‘What could have been a triumphant return for one of the best British sitcoms is undone by bad decisions and ruinous execution.’

Meanwhile, Lynn admitted that a storyline involving a foreign ambassador demanding to be supplied with underage girls for sex was dropped in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The diplomatic incident was a major plot point of the stage play, but Lynn told the Daily Star: ‘The Jimmy Savile thing has made the whole subject so unpleasant, we decided to change all that.

’We think we have found a much funnier way of using essentially the same ingredients in a way that apparently doesn’t shock anybody although the sexual misbehaviour is still pretty striking.’

Published: 16 Jan 2013

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