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Cast change for comedy play at The BarnTheatre


I’m Sorry, Prime Minister, I Can’t Quite Remember, Barn Theatre Cirencester

Iwan Lewis, Artistic Director of the Barn Theatre in Cirencester along with co-producers Mark Goucher and Bob Benton, have announced that writer and director Jonathan Lynn will take over the role of ‘Jim Hacker’ ex-Prime Minister for the upcoming world premiere of I’m Sorry, Prime Minister, I Can’t Quite Remember, which will open at The Barn 25 September until 4 November. 
 
Following the sad passing of Antony Jay, his longtime writing partner in 2016, Jonathan Lynn returns once more to the much-loved characters ‘Jim Hacker’ and ‘Sir Humphrey Appleby’ in this final chapter of the series which sees the pair in their old age facing up to life after their exit from public service.
 
Due to personal reasons, the previously announced Martin Jarvis has very regretfully had to withdraw from the forthcoming production and subsequent tour to Bath Theatre Royal (14 – 18 November) and The Arts Theatre Cambridge (21 – 25 November).
 
Lynn will now play opposite Clive Francis as Hacker’s former Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby, alongside Michaela Bennison who will play Hacker’s carer Sophie and Christopher Bianchi as High Court judge Sir David Knell.
 
Holed up in his home at Hacker College, Oxford, Jim finds himself, as ever, in the midst of a set of problems mainly of his own making. Unsure of how to cope, he calls on his old and not so loyal Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby. What ensues carries all the hallmark comedy of this classic partnership as well as being a touching portrait of two old sparring partners trying desperately to figure out the modern world and work out what their place is in it. In doing so they discover friendship and empathy as well as learning a few hard lessons about life.
 
Jonathan Lynn said, “I was deeply saddened when Martin left the cast of 'I'm Sorry Prime Minister, I Can’t Quite Remember'. I think he would have given an exceptional performance as Jim Hacker. I often wonder what Tony Jay would have said in this situation... probably, 'You’d better get on with it, and I’ll send you a case of your favourite claret.' I always thought of Tony as the guardian of Sir Humphrey's soul, while I was the keeper of Jim's.  Now, reluctantly and at the 11th hour, I am stepping into the shoes of the character we created all those years ago, as I unveil the final chapter. Just like Jim, I'm nervous about public opinion but, like him, I'll do my best. I’ve often said I’d like to act one more time, although I must say I would’ve preferred a little more notice.”
 
Barn Theatre Artistic Director Iwan Lewis said, “As Jonathan Lynn assumes the role, we acknowledge the immense challenge in emulating the brilliance of Paul Eddington's Jim Hacker. However, with Jonathan stepping in under these difficult circumstances, his portrayal might even surpass our expectations. After all, he's the architect behind Jim. In an age where many leaders shy away from their responsibilities, Jonathan is showcasing the kind of leadership our nation craves."
 
Yes Minister is a British political satire sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. Comprising three seven-episode series, it was first transmitted on BBC2 from 1980 to 1984. A sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, ran for 16 episodes from 1986 to 1988. A hugely successful stage play entitled Yes, Prime Minister was premiered at Chichester Festival Theatre in May 2010. The production transferred to the West End where it played at three different theatres and also toured the UK twice to great acclaim.
 
Set principally in the private office of a British cabinet minister in the fictional Department of Administrative Affairs in Whitehall, Yes Minister follows the ministerial career of Jim Hacker, played by Paul Eddington. His various struggles to formulate and enact policy or effect departmental changes are opposed by the British Civil Service, in particular his Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby, played by Nigel Hawthorne. The series received several BAFTAs and in 2004 was voted sixth in the Britain's Best Sitcom poll. It was the favourite television programme of the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher.
 
The production is directed by Jonathan Lynn, with Nadia Papachronopoulou as Resident Director, Lee Newby as Designer, Adam Foley as Lighting Designer and Sam Glossop as Sound Consultant. The stage management team consist of Grace Noble (CSM), Luke Drinkwater (DSM) and Ellie Roberts (ASM). Ginny Schiller is Casting Director.


Explore Gloucestershire
18 September 2023


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