Sir Antony Jay, co-writer of Yes Minister, dies aged 86

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Sir Antony Jay, co-writer of political comedies Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, has died at the age of 86.

A representative said: "Sir Antony Jay CVO CBE died peacefully on Sunday evening after a long illness. He was surrounded by his wife and family."

Sir Antony Jay, left, with David Frost, right, died on Sunday (PA)
Sir Antony Jay, left, with David Frost, right, died on Sunday (PA)

Best known as co-author with Jonathan Lynn of the BBC hit comedies starring Paul Eddington, Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds, his distinguished career included scripting documentaries Royal Family and Elizabeth R: A Year In The Life Of A Queen, for which he was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) for personal services to the Royal Family.

Sir Antony began his career in the BBC's current affairs department and was a founding member of the Tonight team, later becoming editor of the programme in 1962.

He authored several management books and founded management and sales training film company Video Arts alongside John Cleese and two colleagues in 1972.

He co-authored comedies Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister with Jonathan Lynn (PA)
He co-authored comedies Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister with Jonathan Lynn (PA)

He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1988.

Sir Antony became an outspoken detractor of his former employer the BBC in his later years.

In a report commissioned by the centre-right think tank the Centre for Policy Studies in 2008, he recommended the public broadcaster be radically slimmed down to just BBC One, Radio 4 and a news department.

Sir Antony earned a knighthood in 1988 (PA)
Sir Antony earned a knighthood in 1988 (PA)

He has also criticised them for being "biased" on climate change, and accused staff of being "anti-industry" and "anti-monarchy".

Earlier this month, he reunited with Jonathan on a new Yes Minister sketch inspired by Brexit for The Guardian.