The General Assistance Department was created to help any ministry deal with the extra work (yes, there are such cases) - everything they have no manpower to handle they can just send to GAD, where two devoted civil servants, Richard Lamb and Deryck Lennox-Brown are keen to help. Well, keen is such strong word, let’s just say they don’t mind taking care of those extra duties. Well, "don’t mind" is such strong word... Let’s just say they do what they can to help. Mind you, usually it isn’t much. In fact they often cause much more havoc than actually solve any problems. Their secretary Mildred Murfin assists them in any way she can, mostly with handling their breakfast or tea, or just entitling official letters with "Dear Sir or Madman". Their boss, Sir Gregory Pitkin, is one of those executives, who prefer the "hands-off" style of management - he just dumps all the work to his inept workers and goes off on his luxury yacht. In such circumstances it is not much surprise General Assistance Department often ends up in media, mostly after another of their numerous cock-ups.
British comedy series about fictional General Assistance Department that is just a small of part of the bureaucracy in British government, but with number of problems they are causing it is hard to believe there are only few people working there. Although the concept for the show wasn’t very original the formula worked perfectly - firstly with Wilfrid Hyde-White as "Number One" and later with Deryck Guyler. The political satire was usually concentrating on the administrative matters rather than current events, which helped the show keep good level of humour and even after long years it is a very good show.
Sir Gregory Pitkin:
[after Richard Lamb sabotaged the computer] Computers makes no mistakes! It’s the man behind it!
There’s a man behind it? This box must be bigger than I thought...
We must fight those counselors who want to pull down our older buildings.
Mind you, some of them are crumbling and rather dirty.
Then they shouldn’t be on the council!
The Civil Servants are always ready and willing - few are ready to work and the rest is willing to let them.
as Deryck Lennox-Brown
as Roland Hamilton-Jones
as Sir Gregory Pitkin
as Richard Lamb
as Mildred Murfin
The show idea
Although Edward Taylor is the creator of the show it was Richard Murdoch, who gave him the idea for radio comedy about incompetent civil servants (hoping of course to be one of the stars in the show). It worked well enough to give them both 18 years of work together during the original run of Men from the Ministry.