Creative Day – Reactions to Power

A writer’s a reaction to power say a lot about the country they live in, the massage they are trying to get across maybe the same but the way they do it can be very differenet. Both the British and American television landscapes are a good example of this.

Take the portrayals of both heads of state, Prime Minister in the UK and President in the US, here in the UK the portrayal was satirical compared with the US which was done as Drama.

Yes Minister was a sitcom written by Sir Antony Jay (1930-2016) and Jonathan Lynn that was frist transmitted by BBC between 1980/1988 over 22 Episodes and then a sequel Yes Prime Minister which ran from 1986 to 1988 another 16 episodes the whole thing totaling 38 episodes.

Beginning firstly in the British Cabinet ministers office of the fictonal department of administrative affairs, it followed the Ministerial career of the Right Honourable Jim Hacker MP played by Paul Eddington, and his struggles for and against Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby played by the real Sir Nigel Hawthorne aided by Permanent Private Secretary Bernard Woolley portrayed by Derek Fowlds, later the show would follow the same three leads as Jim Hacker became Prime Minister.

Most of the shows humour derives from Jim Hackers pursuing some kind of reform within the ministry and Sir Humphrey blocking him at every turn. 

As for the drama side of this argument, that comes from the writer Aaron Sorkin, and The West Wing. 

First broadcast on the NBC network and Channel 4 here in the UK 1999 to 2000 set in The west wing of the white house during the fictional democratic administration President Josiah Bartlet portrayed by Martin Sheen, it ran for 7 series a total of 156 episodes with a change of writer happening at the end of the fourth series, 

The West Wing featured a lot Real-life situations, From scandal in the first series To the president Non disclosure of Illness And The attacks of September 11th on America itself, Being a drama unlike Yes Minister, the main cast numbered 15 all constantly changing to reflect the stories being told.

Both shows may have gone off the air and have told their stories in a different way, But many of the situations faced by both still remain relevant In fact many of Sir Humphrey Applebees speeches could be transplanted whole into the walk and talks of the West Wing cast gave as a way of explanation between scenes. And Vice versa.

The words might be different but the message still remains the same. Power to the people.


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