Arnold Robinson

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Sir Arnold Robinson
First appearance "Open Government"
Last appearance "The National Education Service"
Portrayed by John Nettleton
Occupation Cabinet Secretary
Title Sir

Sir Arnold Robinson GCMG CVO MA (Oxon) is a fictional character in the 1980s British sitcom Yes Minister and its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. He was played by John Nettleton. He attended Eton College, then Baillie College with Sir Humphrey Appleby and shares the same views on the running of the country, the government and the Civil Service; indeed, his role is often to provide counsel to Sir Humphrey when the latter is encountering difficulties in defeating Jim Hacker. On occasion Sir Arnold obliquely warns Sir Humphrey that any failures in that endeavour could harm Sir Humphrey's own prospects for advancement, mirroring Sir Humphrey's own threats to his younger colleague Bernard Woolley.

In Yes Minister, Sir Arnold holds the position of Cabinet Secretary. He is depicted as a calculating, subtle and brilliant tactician, with an unmatched insight into the inner workings of the government. Sir Arnold is often shown smiling (or outright laughing) contemptuously at the progressive ideas of ministers, whom he views as inept and insignificant pawns in the greater scheme of things. He is dedicated to ensuring that absolute administrative power is maintained by the Civil Service. In the last episode, "Party Games", he retires and is succeeded by Sir Humphrey Appleby, then Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Administrative Affairs.

In Yes, Prime Minister, while now retired from the Civil Service, he is often sought for advice by Sir Humphrey and, on one occasion, by Jim Hacker, when he suspects Sir Humphrey of being a spy (of which he is cleared), in "One of Us".