Christmas At The Ministry


‘Humphrey: I wonder if I might crave your momentary indulgence in order to discharge a by-no-means disagreeable obligation which has, over the years, become more or less established practice within government circles as we approach the terminal period of the calendar year, of course, not financial. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, Week Fifty-One and submit to you, with all appropriate deference, for your consideration at a convenient juncture, a sincere and sanguine expectation – indeed confidence, indeed one might go so far as to say hope – that the aforementioned period may be, at the end of the day, when all relevant factors have been taken into consideration, susceptible of being deemed to be such as to merit a final verdict of having been by no means unsatisfactory in its overall outcome and, in the final analysis, to give grounds for being judged, on mature reflection, to have been conducive to generating a degree of gratification which will be seen in retrospect to have been significantly higher than the general average.

Hacker: What’s he talking about?

Bernard: Well minister, I think Sir Humphrey wanted to crave your momentary indulgence in order to discharge a by-no-means disagreeable obligation…

Hacker: Alright, alright Bernard. Humphrey…

Humphrey: At the end of the day, when all things…

Hacker: Humphrey…

Humphrey: Minister?

Hacker: Are you saying Happy Christmas?

Humphrey: Yes minister.’

– Jay. A., Lynn. J. (December 27, 1982) Christmas At The Ministry as part of “The Funny Side Of Christmas” on BBC 1

A Cook


‘I snapped. ‘Do you want to know what I had for lunch?’
He sensed that I was upset, but still couldn’t quite see why.
‘Um… do you want to tell me?’ he asked.
I smiled unpleasantly. ‘Yes,’ I snapped. ‘Nothing.’
‘Are you dieting Prime Minister?’

I explained succinctly that I was not dieting. I expressed my total astonishment that there are facilities at Number Ten for feeding Bernard, and all the private secretaries, the whole of the Cabinet office, the press office, the garden-room girls[1], the messengers… but not me. And I bloody live here!
Bernard asked if Mrs Hacker could cook for me. I reminded him that she has her own job. Then he offered to get me a cook. It looked a good offer – until closer examination revealed that I would have to pay for it. And, according to Bernard, the cost of a full-time cook would be between eight and ten thousands a year. I can’t afford that. Trying to get himself off the hook, he suggested that I talk to the Cabinet Secretary – obviously he didn’t want to get involved in a discussion when it wasn’t in his power to change the system. But I was very irritated. Still am, come to that. I turned back to the window and fumed silently.

Bernard cleared his throat. ‘I think the Cabinet Secretary’s due here in a few moments anyway. So shall we get on with the affairs of the nation?’
‘Stuff the affairs of the nation,’ I replied. ‘I want a cook.’

[1] The name given to the very high-class ladies of the registry and typing pool at Number Ten, who worked in a basement room that leads out on the garden.’

– Lynn J., Jay A. 1986. The Complete Yes Prime Minister London, Great Britain: BBC Books (1989) p. 72

Who is Bollocks?


‘Bernard had an amusing bit of news for me today. ‘You remember that letter you wrote “Round Objects” on?’ he asked.
‘Yes.’
‘Well,’ he said with a slight smile, ‘it’s come back from Sir Humphrey’s office. He commented on it.’
And he showed me the letter. In the margin Humphrey had written: ‘Who is Round and to what does he object?”

– Lynn J., Jay A. 1981. The Complete Yes Minister London, Great Britain: BBC Books (1991) p. 366