James Hacker, Minister of Administrative Affairs (played by Paul Eddington): “When am I going to do all this correspondence?”
Aide Bernard Woolley (played by Derek Fowlds): “You do realize you don't actually have to, Minister.”
Hacker: “Don't I?”
Woolley: “Not if you don't want to. We can draft an official reply.”
Hacker: “What's an official reply?”
Woolley: “It just says ‘The Minister has asked me to thank you for your letter’; then we say something like ‘The matter is under consideration,’ or even, if we feel so inclined, ‘under active consideration.”"
Hacker: “What's the difference?”
Woolley: “Well, 'under consideration' means we've lost the file; 'under active consideration' means we're trying to find it.”-- Yes Minister, Season 1, Episode 2, “The Official Visit,” original air date March 3, 1980, teleplay by Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, produced by Sydney Lotterby