I’ll probably mention the series again at a later point in time, even if I’m pretty sure I’ve done it here on this blog at least once before. If I was only allowed to recommend one tv-show out of all the shows out there, this one would be somewhere on the absolute top of that list. Some wonderful quotes from the series:
Sir Humphrey: To put is simply, Prime Minister, certain informal discussions took place involving a full and frank exchange of views, out of which there rose a series of proposals, which on examination proved to indicate certain promising lines of inquiry, which when pursued lead to the realization that the alternative courses of action might in fact, in certain circumstances, be susceptible of discreet modification, leading to a reappraisal of the original areas of difference, and pointing a way to encouraging possibilities of compromise, and cooperation, which, if bilaterally implemented with appropriate give and take on both sides, might, if the climate were right, have a reasonable possibility at the end of the day of leading, rightly or wrongly, to a mutually satisfactory resolution.
Jim Hacker (after a long pause): What the hell are you talking about?
Sir Humphrey: We did a deal.
Sir Humphrey’s speech above (from the episode Power to the People) took 46 seconds from start to finish. Here are two other memorable Humphrey-quotes from the series (the first one is from the episode Man Overboard, the second is from the episode The Ministerial Broadcast):
Sir Humphrey: It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them, and that every member’s recollection of them differs violently from every other member’s recollection, consequently we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials; from which it emerges with an elegant inevitability that any decision which has been officially reached would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, and any decision which is not recorded in the minutes has not been officially reached, even if one or more members believe they can recollect it; so in this particular case, if the decision had been officially reached, it would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, and it isn’t so it wasn’t.
Sir Humphrey: You see, Party figures can be very unreliable, Prime Minister.
Jim Hacker: Evidently.
Sir Humphrey: May I suggest a compromise?
Jim Hacker: What?
Sir Humphrey: Well, it’s clear that the Committee has agreed that your new policy is really an excellent plan; but in view of the doubts being expressed, may I propose that I recall that after careful consideration, the considered view of the Committee was that, while they considered that the proposal met with broad approval in principle, that some of the principles were sufficiently fundamental in principle, and some of the considerations so complex and finely balanced in practice that in principle it was proposed that the sensible and prudent practice would be to submit the proposal for more detailed consideration, laying stress on the essential continuity of the new proposal with existing principles, the principal of the principal arguments which the proposal proposes and propounds for their approval … In principle.
Jim Hacker: What?
Sir Humphrey: Don’t refer to your Grand Design in your television broadcast on Friday.
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