Can We Guess Which Classic Character From “Yes Minister” You Are?

By: Zoe Samuel

Can We Guess Which Classic Character From “Yes Minister” You Are?
Image: BBC Studios

About This Quiz

Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn's hit show "Yes Minister" may have been off the air for most of the past four decades (despite a short-lived revival), and yet it remains a massively popular hit. It's also very often cited by satirists today as a lodestar by which all subsequent political shows should be measured, and it's an inspiration for shows like "The Thick Of It" and "Veep." Political figures from elected officials to journalists to lobbyists to civil servants continue to admit, sometimes reluctantly, that its insights into the Byzantine world of politics are universal and all too true.

Indeed, the crux of the show's success is that, even though everyone in it is flawed to the point of terrible, the ongoing battle and occasional rapprochements between sometimes-idealistic Jim Hacker and civil servants Sir Humphrey Appleby and Bernard Woolley is one heck a good reflection of human nature. We've all dealt with people who are self-interested, self-justifying, manipulative, and grasping. From time to time, we've all been like that ourselves. We've also all found ourselves on a road to hell that was paved with good intentions or wound up struggling to maintain our sense of self in a working environment that wants us to conform. That's why, even if you're personally a terrific individual of sterling integrity, you have a little glimmer of Sir Humphrey, Hacker, Bernard and their compatriots in you. Let's find out which of them you most resemble!

Question 1 You've been given five red boxes to take home. Where do you look for the most important piece of paper in them?
I would never be so foolish as to try to find such a thing.
The top of the top one
The middle of the middle one
The bottom of the bottom one

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Question 2 What is the point of government?
To still be here tomorrow!
To make Britain better
I'll tell you if I find out.
To govern?

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Question 3 After a hard day's governing, where will you be found relaxing?
At the opera
At a football game like a proper red-blooded Englishman
At home with my family
At dinner with friends

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Question 4 How do you make sure your enemies don't get ahead of you?
That would be telling.
I don't, sadly.
I collect dirt on them.
Eavesdropping

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Question 5 What's your take on the Church of England as an institution?
It's fine as long as it doesn't do anything or get in the way.
It's a fine institution that brings stability and community to many!
It's perfectly OK, I suppose.
I have no idea what it is for.

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Question 6 What is the highest position to which you aspire?
Cabinet Secretary
Prime Minister
Head of the Civil Service
Something somewhere else

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Question 7 If you were to be included in the Honours' List, what would you hope to get?
I've already got it.
A peerage
A KCMG for me!
An MBE would be nice.

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Question 8 What is the point of the House of Lords?
It's a lovely place for MPs to retire to!
Goodness knows
It slows down the legislative process.
It's a vital part of a bicameral legislature.

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Question 9 What is the best way to help the Cabinet enact its policies?
Why would you want to do that?
Persuade them!
Tell them what policies to enact
Manipulate them!

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Question 10 Which desk in the office do you consider to be preferable?
The one with the most square footage
The one with the view
Whichever one is nearest the minister's office
The one near the gents' loo

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Question 11 Do the people have a right to know?
The people have a right NOT to know.
Of course!
Mostly not
Mostly yes

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Question 12 What does it mean if something is under consideration?
It means the person in charge of it has quit.
It means we don't want to give an answer yet.
It means it's not.
It means it's under consideration

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Question 13 It's time to review roles in the administrative affairs department next year. How many people can you trim?
Oh, we need to add at least another 1,200.
Hopefully thousands
None
Probably a few hundred

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Question 14 What is the point of the United Nations?
To argue with itself
To stabilize the global order
Nobody knows.
To provide an alternative to war

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Question 15 What is a civil servant's job, when working directly for a minister?
To stop him doing anything he wants to do
To help him do what he wants to do
To walk the tightrope between him and the Civil Service
To advise and execute

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Question 16 How should the government carry out the will of the people?
It shouldn't.
It should prioritise their interests, not their will.
Rarely
By listening to them and doing what they want

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Question 17 What is the best reason to buy the "Financial Times"?
To accessorize with one's pocket square
To know what the market is doing
It's basically compulsory.
To know what rich people think

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Question 18 What happens when you try to do things cheaply?
The price goes up.
You save money.
The quality goes down.
It takes forever.

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Question 19 Which government can Britain certainly not trust?
France!
Russia
China
Probably none of them

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Question 20 What was so great about the winter of 1967?
Many files were lost in a flood and thus cannot now be requested under freedom of information.
I'm not sure!
Certain incriminating evidence disappeared.
Nothing

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Question 21 What's the best way to get rid of a civil servant who is causing trouble?
Promote them
Make them an ambassador
Blackmail them
Fire them

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Question 22 How do you know when a member of the Cabinet seeks to become Prime Minister?
They're in the Cabinet and alive.
They start doing favours for you.
They start checking whether the skeletons in their cupboard can stay hidden.
They stop flirting inappropriately in the office.

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Question 23 Do you like to make decisions once you have all the data in hand, or do you go by instinct?
I would never do something as vulgar as make a decision.
I'm all about instinct.
I'm all about data.
I use a little of both, on a case-by-case basis.

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Question 24 What is the best way to avoid a colleague you don't want to see?
Get them re-assigned
Sneak away whenever you see them coming
There aren't really any colleagues meeting that description.
Just be polite and keep it brief

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Question 25 What qualifications do you think a person should have in order to be a Member of Parliament?
Why would they need any qualifications?
A good degree and a desire to do good
They should be the right sort of chap.
Empathy, intelligence and the ability to admit when they're wrong

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Question 26 How do you know what really happened in a Cabinet meeting?
You should never try to find out anything like that.
You ask the cleverest minister present.
You ask the highest-ranked civil servant in the room.
You ask the secretary.

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Question 27 You have a work trip coming up to a place you do not want to visit. What do you do?
No such trip would ever find its way onto my calendar.
Stir up a political crisis so I have to stay at home to deal with it
Get a fortunately-timed illness
Go anyway and make the best of it

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Question 28 What will you do when the chips are down?
Smile sweetly and keep doing whatever I was already doing
I make a decision ... after checking which way the winds are blowing.
I would not let the chips do such a thing!
I steel myself and soldier on.

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Question 29 When is it OK to call a female colleague "dear lady"?
When she's the worst human being you know
When she's dear, and a lady
It's not.
When you want her to destroy you behind your back

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Question 30 Are you currently bugging your political opponents?
Absolutely not. I stopped just before answering the question.
No, of course not.
I have gone to great lengths to ensure I have no idea either way.
Probably, but I'd prefer not to.

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You Got:

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