Whitehall today announced a complete shutdown of all Government departments until 12pm on Monday, allowing Civil Servants and Ministers the opportunity to watch the first episode of Series Four of popular fantasy series 'Game of Thrones', which will be simulcast with the United States at 2am on Monday Morning.
In an interview regarding the surprising decision, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller explained the reasons. "Series Four of Game of Thrones is a significant televisual event. With so many employees of the crown insisting on taking a half-day to watch the simultaneous premiere, our only natural decision was to suspend all Government services to allow staff the opportunity to watch, digest and discuss the outcomes before getting enough sleep to function adequately in their roles."
She continued, "Personally I can't wait. Why is Tyrion in chains? What will happen with Daenerys and her dragons? Will The Wall hold? Sunday can't come soon enough!"
The move has enraged fans of the show, who were hopeful that the event would be marked by a full public holiday - in line with other important events such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the last Royal Wedding.
Protesting the decision outside Downing Street, head of fan group The Nights Watch Jon Snow voiced his discontent. "We've been waiting forever for this, no-doubt the most important event in television since Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. I've shunned Facebook, Twitter and friends who have read the books to prevent any spoilers for this and now I've got to decide whether to go to work tired, or wait until the next evening to watch the show and run the risk of having my enjoyment destroyed by a foolish slip of the tongue? I tell you, it's not on. I am the sword in the darkness and my watch shall not end until my death."
Media commentators have also suggested that the decision to not make the event a full public holiday may be a mistake. Presenter of the BBC's 'Front Row' programme Mark Lawson said of the decision, "I think David Cameron has made a mistake here. Game of Thrones is a complex and popular show, with many parallels to current situations. A weak and useless ruler - despised by all, a threat from across the water, the north full of savages - it's like modern Britain in chainmail."