Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Yes Prime Minister to make stage debut

Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne
The hit TV show ran for 38 episodes

Writers of the political sitcom Yes Prime Minister have reunited after 22 years to pen a play based on the popular TV show.

Creators Jonathan Lynn and Sir Antony Jay said the play follows a tempestuous 48 hours in politics.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Lynn, 66, said they had been "hesitant" until recently to take the TV show to stage.

The Chichester Festival production starts in May, the same month the general election is likely to happen.

"People have been asking us for years about writing a play," said Lynn. "We were always hesitant."

He revealed that a stage version of the hit series, which starred Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne, was first discussed when the show was still being broadcast.

"But the actors couldn't commit for long enough and we felt that no one else could really play it while they were around."

A BBC film was also planned, but by then Eddington - who played Jim Hacker - was suffering from cancer. He died in 1995.

Jay said they agreed to end the series because "we felt we'd said all we had to say.

"We'd done 38 episodes on different aspects of government and we were beginning to feel that we were going to start repeating ourselves."

Actors David Haig and Henry Goodman will play the parts of Hacker and Sir Humphrey Appleby in the forthcoming stage version.

The production runs from 13 May to 5 June, as part of this year's Chichester Festival Theatre season.

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