Antony Jay

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Sir Antony Jay
Born Antony Rupert Jay
(1930-04-20) 20 April 1930 (age 85)
Nationality British
Occupation Writer, broadcaster and director

Sir Antony Rupert Jay, CBE CVO (born 20 April 1930)[1] is an English writer, broadcaster and director, famous for the co-authorship, with Jonathan Lynn, of the successful British political comedies Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister (1980–88).[2] He wrote The Householder's Guide to Community Defence Against Bureaucratic Aggression (1972).

Sir Antony Jay had a distinguished career as a broadcaster and in public relations, for which he was created a Knight Bachelor in 1988.[3] He also wrote the BBC TV documentaries Royal Family and Elizabeth R: A Year in the Life of the Queen,[2] for which he was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) for personal services to the Royal Family.

He was educated at St Paul's School and Magdalene College, Cambridge, graduating with first-class honours in classics and comparative philology. After national service in the Royal Signals, he joined BBC Television in 1955, and was a member of the team that launched the current affairs programme Tonight, of which he was editor from 1962-63. From 1963-64 he was Head of Television Talk Features, before leaving the BBC to take up a career as a freelance writer and producer. He was knighted in 1988 and remains a mordant observer of politics, including those of the broadcasters themselves. He was interviewed in the BBC TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory! and The Trap. Jay was a partner with John Cleese in the Video Arts training film production company.[citation needed]

In 2007 Jay criticised the anti-establishment thinking of the BBC and similar media outlets such as The Guardian. He stated "we were not just anti-Macmillan; we were anti-industry, anti-capitalism, anti-advertising, anti-selling, anti-profit, anti-patriotism, anti-monarchy, anti-Empire, anti-police, anti-armed forces, anti-bomb, anti-authority. Almost anything that made the world a freer, safer and more prosperous place, you name it, we were anti it." In particular he criticised how the opinions of BBC staff "were at odds with the majority of the audience and the electorate".[4]

His 2008 report for the Centre for Policy Studies How to Save the BBC provoked fierce debate by advocating a radical reduction of the scale of the corporation's activities. He has written Management & Machiavelli and compiled the Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Birthdays today". The Telegraph. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2014. Sir Antony Jay, writer and producer, is 82 
  2. ^ a b "A long reign and a lost republic". Inside Story. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 51292. p. 4089. 7 April 1988. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  4. ^ "Here is the news (as we want to report it)". 14 July 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 

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