Reading Political Comedy: Yes Minister and Comic Coherence

Matthew Crowder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article uses reception sources (the BBC’s audience research, newspapers and internet reviews posted by individuals) to research how viewers have written about Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister (BBC 1980-1988), a series that can be categorised as both a classic sitcom and political comedy. This work will show that Yes Minister is frequently evaluated by viewers within a discourse of authenticity and that they regard it as a realistic representation of a Government minister’s work.
This produces an apparently paradoxical reception that sees Yes Minister as
both ‘factually accurate’ and ‘a funny comedy’. This article will suggest several
reasons for this reception, exploring spectatorship in the context of sitcom,
British social history, realism, comic style and viewers’ opinions about British
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUsing Moving Image Archives
EditorsNandana Bose, Lee Grieveson
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9564641-1-8
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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