Yes Prime Minister: The 2013 Revival

“All the important decisions that affect us [Scotland] are taken in London! Have you any idea what that feels like?”

“Of course I have, all the important decisions that affect us are taken in Brussels!”

 
Yes Prime Minister is a Political Satire from Great Britain, focusing on the role of the Prime Minister, his close advisers and the way in which they combat the problems they have to face in running the country.

 

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The new ‘Team’ left to right: Clare Sutton (Zoe Telford), Sir Humphrey Appleby (Henry Goodman), PM Jim Hacker (David Haig) and Bernard Wooley (Chris Larkin).

The original run of Yes Prime Minister ran from 1986 to 1988 and consisted of two series focusing on the situations that PM Jim Hacker (excellently portrayed by Paul Eddington) and Civil Servant Sir Humphrey Appleby (played superbly by Nigel Hawthorne) found themselves in. It followed on from the popular ‘Yes Minister’ and was just as successful, not to mention extremely accurate. Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister at the time, announced it was her favourite show.

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The Original ‘Team’ left to right: Sir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne), PM Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) and Bernard Wooley (Derek Fowlds).

The 2013 revival takes the show into the modern day, with modern day problems. The Jim Hacker of today faces economic crisis, possible salvation from Kumranistan, European concerns, coalition factions and threats of Scottish rebellion.
David Haig takes on the role of Jim Hacker, newly elected PM in a coalition Government. Henry Goodman takes on the role of Sir Humphrey Appleby. Chris Larkin plays Bernard Wooley, the Prime Ministers Private Secretary. Clare Sutton, Special Political Advisor to the PM, (a role which has been increased from its position in the original) is portrayed by Zoe Telford. It also features Robbie Coltrane!*

The relationship between Hacker and Appleby in the original was fantastically created, so it was clearly going to be extremely difficult for Haig and Goodman to replicate this; however I think they successfully pulled it off. The acting of Eddington and Hawthorne made the characters so unique and loved in the original, I think that Haig and Goodman struggled (rightfully) to fill those positions, however it was boosted considerably by the relationship between the two which managed to ensure the situations still remained clever and funny. One thing that I did find disappointing however is that I don’t think Chris Larkin’s portrayal of Bernard holds a candle to the brilliance of Derek Fowlds. He doesn’t seem to hold the position in the same way which Fowlds had managed to.

The story which the revival is centred on is also very well chosen for the modern day and is littered with particularly humorous situations. The show starts with the PM’s need to fix the economic crisis, ensure his Coalition doesn’t split, keep Scotland in the Union, see through the bureaucracy of the Civil Service and placate a sex-pest Kumranistan foreign secretary. Jim Hacker takes to office about as naturally as he did in the original, and it makes for fantastic viewing.

To conclude, if you are a fan of comedy, political satire, or of just laughing, then this show is for you. However, don’t exclude the original for fear that it’s too old, or not relevant. As good as the 2013 revival is, the original was truly hilarious. Overall? 8/10. A must for anyone who loves to see the British Government at its best….. And worst.

“Do you not feel that yes and no are too narrow in their application?”

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*Although only for one episode

The Xbox One

The Xbox One is an upcoming gaming console from Microsoft and is the successor to the Xbox 360. Announced yesterday, it is first in the line of Xbox consoles to feature a Blu-ray Disc drive, as well as 8 GB of unified memory and a 500 GB hard drive (although it’s unknown if this will be the basic model).

The Xbox 360, Microsoft’s last console release, was launched in 2005 (with the Kinect following in 2010) to much critical acclaim. Over the last 8 or so years, over 74 million have been sold (compared to the 100m Wii’s out there and 77m PS3’s).

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The Name
Now, I must admit, when I was discussing the console prior to the announcement, I was quite looking forward to the announcing of the Xbox Infinity. I’m not quite sure why Microsoft didn’t go with it; in my opinion it’s a considerable improvement on Xbox One. I understand where Microsoft is coming from mind you. I think the idea of an all in one console where you can flick from TV to gaming or the various other social aspects which the Xbox covers well is a pretty interesting concept. But I’ve also read people more knowledgeable than me saying the processing power which is going to be needed will either harm the gaming prospects of the console or increase the price.

Technology
Technically speaking, there is no denying that the Xbox will be a powerful console. And it’s going to be the introduction of Blu-ray into the Microsoft corner of the sales battle, which puts it on par with the PS4 (continuing on from the PS3). However there is no backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games and this was a bit of a downer considering how it was included in the 360 for the original Xbox’s games.

Something else that has worried me is the aspect of the console which could require it to be permanently online. Supposedly, the Xbox One’s internet-based services mean that the console does need to get online at least once a day, but doesn’t have to be permanently connected.

I think the plan appears to be for Games and media to be stored in the cloud, so you’d need to connect to access them, and Microsoft wants users to be able to synchronise games between different devices, such as phones ect ect, which will only work if those products are online.

Kinect
The new Xbox will have a brand new Kinect to go with it. The device will come with the console, the microphone will always be on, and will need to be plugged in for the console to function. Not so sure about the fact that it will a) always have a microphone on and b) that it will be needed in order for the console to work. I just hope that it isn’t something which will be integrated into all gameplay. I’m not a fan of flailing my arms around while fleeing from a Super Mutant or sneaking around the city of Dunwall.

Price
Although no price has been announced, it is expected to be up to £399 and it is due to launch before the end of the year. With the Nintendo Wii U already on the market, and Sony’s Playstation4 in the pipeline, it’s looking like Microsoft and Sony will be going head to head in Christmas market (and as hopeful as I may be it will drive prices down, I doubt it will).

Overall?
Despite misgivings over the name, and the fact that is attempting to become a living room hub rather than a gaming console, I still think it looks quite nice. The 15 announced games upon release is something to be looked at with interest, especially since 8 of those are going to be new franchises. This is the Xbox doing what it does best; bringing the social aspect of gaming to the forefront.

Should more information be released, I’ll try and collate it into another post. Also, I hope to pick bits and pieces from E3 next month for more gaming news.

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Also, I think the new remotes look really quite cool. Unlike the new PS4 one *shudders*

The Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

For those that don’t know, I hope to go into the Legal sector in the next few years after hopefully completing a degree in Law.

So, naturally I have been reading up on the two main careers that span from Law; Solicitors and Barristers. I must admit, I don’t have anything like a set opinion in my mind, but I have been very slightly leaning towards (attempting) to become a Barrister.

Anyway, this afternoon I wandered across this test called the BCAT (or The Bar Course Aptitude Test) which is around 60 questions to be answered within 55 minutes all to do with assessing analytical skill and critical thinking.

The RED Model
The test organises critical thinking into a “RED Model”:

  • Recognise Assumptions
    Noticing and questioning assumptions helps to reveal information gaps or unfounded logic.
  • Evaluate Arguments
    Analysing information objectively and accurately, questioning the quality of supporting evidence, and understanding how emotion influences the situation.
  • Draw Conclusions
    Bringing diverse information together to arrive at conclusions that logically follow from the available evidence is crucial when making a decision.

Personally I think it’s a really interesting approach which I can see as being useful to a career based on developing the skills.

So, I decided to take the test and see if I was anything like cut out for it.

“Your results were compared with a large group of people who have also completed the BCAPT.

Your score on the BCAPT placed you in the PASS CATEGORY. Individuals scoring in this band are likely to demonstrate or exceed the level of critical thinking necessary for effective analysis and decision making on the Bar Professional Training Course. Compared with other test takers, they are likely to be able to:

• Define basic and complex elements of problems and situations clearly and objectively

• Recognise the lack of obvious information and readily identify subtle information needed for effective decision making or problem-solving effectiveness

• Typically apply sound logic and reasoning when analysing information

• Consistently draw accurate conclusions from information in a variety of situations and circumstances

• Develop rational, strong arguments to support ideas”

By God I wasn’t half surprised!
I know the limitations of these tests, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a little pleased that I could supposedly pass a test I’ll have to take in four years’ time at the end of my hopeful degree.

For anyone wondering If they also have the analytical skill to become a barrister, check out the page below which provides a link to the test:

https://login.talentlens.co.uk/q/gen/base/view/id/31081/user/3516068ba91aef25e8f771c8720b4648/pw/56318991

Should the Doctor’s Name Be Revealed?

Will Moffat really divulge the Doctor’s name and should he?
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With the title of the Series 7 finale being entitled ‘The Name of the Doctor’, everyone is either on one of two sides:
1) Fantastic! We’ve been waiting 50 years to find out what his name is!
or
2) NO! It will ruin the show!

I, for one, am on the second side of this argument. I don’t feel that “The Name of the Doctor” should be revealed.

Since its start in 1963, the Doctor’s identity has been a secret from everyone. Including the viewer. One of the first lines in the show was even a question about his identity. However, he’s kept it a mystery to everyone, and for good reason.

“But how would that ruin the show?” You may well ask.
Because, it will destroy the air of mystery surrounding the show!

Why do most people travel with the Doctor? Because they know almost nothing about him. I mean, the Doctor already tells his companions almost everything about himself right from the start too. “Here’s my TARDIS. I travel in time and space. I’m an alien and I’m 1000 years old.” But his name is what keeps them wondering who the mysterious wanderer really is, and what his past has involved. What drives a person to talking the title of ‘Healer’ with such distinction?

Do I think ‘the Moff’ will divulge the Doctor’s true identity? No, of course not. Knowing him, since it’s the episode title, he’ll do anything BUT give us his real name.

Sadly, I’m not writing the show (I’d be making more money writing episodes than writing these), and it’s not up to me over what is or isn’t revealed. I know Moffat will try to do his best to keep up the mystery; he is a classic fan at heart after all. Although recent times may have shaken my trust in his leadership and storytelling, I trust in Moffat’s undying love for Doctor Who.

Post Script:
I just noticed that Alex Kingston is labeled as one of the main actors in the episode. Now, I’m not a fan of River Song so again this worries me. The romance that has developed between River and 11 is not Doctor Who in my opinion. It’s utter claptrap.