In English

The Men From The Ministry is a light-hearted parody of the British Civil Service. It was originally broadcast by the BBC over thirteen seasons between 1962 and 1977. The storyline is centred on the General Assistance Department of an unnamed Government ministry in Whitehall. The function of this department, to assist any other Government department that is overloaded, gives ample opportunity for a wide range of hilarious excapades. The main staff in the department comprises the senior executive, code-named "One", the junior executive, code-named "Two", and their faithful secretary and tea provider, Mildred Murfin. Their domineering and philandering boss, the Under-Secretary Sir Gregory Pitkin, is the main villain of the stories, and is as inept as the others.

The success of The Men From The Ministry extends beyond the BBC programmes. Over 900 episodes were produced and broadcast by Springbok Radio and Radio South Africa from the late 60s to the late 90s. These shows featured the same characters as the BBC episodes, but played by local actors. Some early shows were remakes of BBC episodes, but most were original stories.

A second adaptation of The Men From The Ministry is produced and broadcast by Radio YLE in Finland. Knalli ja sateenvarjo ("Bowler and Brolly") is a popular Finnish language programme with a loyal and appreciative domestic audience. The premise of bowler-hatted twittery within the conservative confines of the British Civil Service is evidently a popular one beyond the English-speaking world. The Finnish version now exceeds the original BBC series both in terms of longevity and number of episodes produced. Most shows are adaptations of the BBC episodes, but the recent episodes are from new scripts written by Edward Taylor.

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