[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. — Mark Twain
Writing genius Antony Jay has died.
His name is probably not familiar, but his work included Yes Minister and its sequel Yes Prime Minister..
He penned the 1980s BBC television series, starring Paul Eddington and Sir Nigel Hawthorne, with Jonathan Lynn.
Sir Antony’s career began in the BBC’s current affairs department where he was a founding member of the Tonight team.
He later scripted the documentaries Royal Family and Elizabeth R: A Year in the Life of the Queen, after which he was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order for personal services to the Royal Family.
Yes Minister, which ran for three series between 1980 and 1984, followed the travails of MP James Hacker, minister for administrative affairs, and his battles against unflappable Whitehall civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby.
The subsequent Yes, Prime Minister, broadcast for two seasons between 1986 and 1988, portrayed Hacker’s life after he entered 10 Downing Street. Then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was known to be a great fan of the series. . .
I don’t think they’re making
documentaries comedy like this now and both politics and entertainment is the poorer for it.
Nigel Hawthorne would have been 81 today.