Jobs for the Boys

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"Jobs for the Boys"
Yes Minister episode
Episode no. Series 1
Episode 7
Written by Antony Jay
Jonathan Lynn
Produced by Sydney Lotterby
Original air date 7 April 1980
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Right to Know"
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"The Compassionate Society"
List of Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister episodes

"Jobs for the Boys" is the seventh episode of the BBC comedy series Yes Minister and was first broadcast 7 April 1980. In this episode, the final "Yes Minister" is uttered by Sir Humphrey Appleby. This is the last episode to feature Jim Hacker's political advisor, Frank Weisel, played by Neil Fitzwiliam.


Sir Humphrey Appleby is in Jim Hacker's office with Bernard, and is somewhat anxious. His Minister is about to take part in a radio programme and will refer to the "Solihull project" — a construction enterprise that is apparently "a shining example of a successful collaboration between government and private industry." However, despite the fact that Sir Humphrey briefed the Minister in those terms, he is less than enthusiastic about it being made public. Bernard wants to know why Hacker has been kept in the dark about the Solihull report and Sir Humphrey has a simple explanation: "He hasn't asked." Bernard presses his Permanent Secretary and wonders how the Minister could ask about something of which he is unaware in the first place. Sir Humphrey is now more forthcoming: the Solihull report casts doubt on the financial credentials of Michael Bradley, the project's private backer. His bank may decide to foreclose, but Sir Humphrey is to meet its chairman later on and hopes to sort things out. In the meantime, he advises that the Minister must be discouraged from publicly mentioning the project. Hacker arrives and immediately asks for details of his impending radio discussion. Sir Humphrey tries his best to persuade him to omit any reference to the Solihull project, but since he is unwilling to offer a convincing reason, Hacker is determined to make as much political capital as he can.

Sir Humphrey meets for lunch with Sir Desmond Glazebrook, the Chairman of Bartlett's Bank, who happens to be an old friend. Sir Desmond is unsympathetic to Bradley's predicament but Sir Humphrey suggests that the bank takes over his part of the contract and goes into partnership with the government itself. However, Sir Desmond reminds him that it is up to his Board, and the outcome is far from certain. Changing the subject, Sir Desmond enquires if there are any chairmanships of quangos currently available. Sir Humphrey finds it difficult to think of a suitable position, as by Sir Desmond's own admission he is a banker and therefore knows "nothing". Sir Humphrey vainly uses their restaurant location to inspire various commissions and authorities on which Sir Desmond might sit. This culminates in a steak being flambéed at the next table and suggesting the Fire Services Examination Board. Ultimately the only job that takes his interest is on a new Industrial Co-Partnership Commission, which is in Hacker's gift.

En route to Broadcasting House, Hacker questions Bernard on Sir Humphrey's motives. The Principal Private Secretary finds himself unable to offer any explanation in plain English, but does prevail upon the Minister to follow Sir Humphrey's advice.

During the recording, Hacker pointedly expands on the perceived virtues of the Solihull project. Afterwards, one of the participants, a trade unionist called Joe Morgan, approaches the Minister. He is seeking a special "Birmingham allowance" for his members, and makes it clear that he knows more about the Solihull project than Hacker himself does. He uses this as a threat and leaves the Minister rather befuddled.

During the journey back to the DAA, Hacker talks to George, his driver. It transpires that his position has enabled him to overhear many conversations about the Solihull project and once again, the Minister is puzzled why he should be the one that isn't in the know.

Back in his office with Bernard, he tries to question Sir Humphrey on the matter, but is frustrated by not knowing what to ask. They are joined by Frank Weisel, Hacker's political advisor. He has prepared a paper on quangos, with the aim of taking all appointments away from ministers and handing them to a Select Committee instead. Hacker is enthusiastic and cites as a case for change the recent recommendation of the "blithering idiot" Sir Desmond Glazebrook for the Industrial Co-Partnership Commission. He refuses point blank to appoint him. Sir Humphrey begs him to reconsider and finally decides to show Hacker the Solihull report. The Minister is mortified by its contents and despatches Bernard to stop the BBC broadcast; however, he is too late. Sir Humphrey advises that all may be well if Bartlett's Bank agrees to take over the contract — but this is contingent on Sir Desmond Glazebrook getting his desired quango. Hacker now accepts the appointment with alacrity and furthermore, recommends that Joe Morgan be his deputy.

Weisel is outraged by Hacker's actions in the face of his suggested reforms, and when the Minister curtly tells him to be quiet, Weisel tenders his resignation as Hacker's political adviser and announces his intention to go to the press and expose all the dealings related to the Solihull project. In response, Hacker offers to set up a quango for Weisel to head, which would focus on researching ways of reforming quango awards and on monitoring all other quangos with an eye to improving their efficiency. Weisel is initially resistant, but eventually accepts after being told that he would be allowed to travel to as many other countries (at the taxpayers' expense) as he wishes in order to carry out his research. It is left to the viewer to decide whether Weisel is still seeking to reduce the size of government or has accepted the quango for personal gain — or a little of both. (This is his last appearance in Yes, Minister.)

Episode cast[edit]

Actor Role
Paul Eddington Jim Hacker
Nigel Hawthorne Sir Humphrey Appleby
Derek Fowlds Bernard Woolley
Richard Vernon Sir Desmond Glazebrook
Neil Fitzwiliam Frank Weisel
Arthur Cox George
Richard Davies Joe Morgan
Brian Hawksley Sir George Conway
John D. Collins BBC Interviewer
Charles McKeown BBC Editor

External links[edit]

"Jobs for the Boys" at the Internet Movie Database