Reggie Perrin

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This article is about the 2009 remake. For the novels and the original 1970s series, see The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
Reggie Perrin
Reggie Perrin.jpg
Title screen
Genre Sitcom
Written by David Nobbs
Simon Nye
Directed by Tristram Shapeero
Starring Martin Clunes
Fay Ripley
Wendy Craig
Geoffrey Whitehead
Neil Stuke
Lucy Liemann
Composer(s) Ronnie Hazelhurst
Jonathan Whitehead
Mark Thomas
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Charlie Hanson
Ben Farrell
Location(s) Teddington Studios, Middlesex, England.
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
BBC HD
Picture format 16:9
Original run 24 April 2009 – 18 November 2010
Chronology
Related shows The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
External links
Website

Reggie Perrin is a modern update of the 1970s BBC sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, which starred Leonard Rossiter.[1] The revival stars Martin Clunes and was first broadcast on 24 April 2009.[1][2] Series 1 was released on DVD in Region 2 by 2entertain on 1 June 2009.[3]

Development[edit]

On 14 January 2009, it was announced by the BBC that Martin Clunes would star in a contemporary version of the sitcom, taking the title role of Reggie. The remake was commissioned by Jay Hunt, controller of BBC1, and Cheryl Taylor, controller of BBC Comedy. Clunes was joined in the cast by Fay Ripley, Wendy Craig, Geoffrey Whitehead, Neil Stuke, Kerry Howard, Jim Howick and Lucy Liemann. The new version was written by Simon Nye and the original creator of the Reggie character, David Nobbs, who had authored four Reginald Perrin novels as well as the original version of the sitcom.

The first series of the Reggie Perrin revival was broadcast on BBC One, as well as in high definition on BBC HD.[4] Despite disappointing viewing figures for its first series, BBC1 Controller Jay Hunt announced in February 2010 that a second series had been commissioned.[5] Studio segments began filming at Teddington Studios on 2 April, scheduled to run to 7 May.[6] It began airing on 14 October 2010.[7]

Plot[edit]

The new plot gives a fresh take on the original storyline, with many variations in character, setting and incident. Reginald Perrin is a middle-aged project executive for "Groomtech", a manufacturer of grooming products, where he is in charge of disposable razors. Although secure in his marriage, with a paid-for house, no children, a car and a comfortable living, he is dissatisfied with the grind of modern living—such as his daily commute by train, often overcrowded and "27 minutes late" due to a plethora of reasons—and undergoing a mid-life crisis, keeping himself entertained by fantasies. At work, he has to contend with a dim secretary, two fawning but ambitious junior executives, and an overbearing boss, Chris Jackson. Lacking attention from his wife, Nicola, he finds a fantasy distraction in his colleague, Jasmine Strauss. The latter comes close to being consummated during a business trip to Finland when Perrin and Strauss are inebriated and Strauss (as with Perrin's secretary Joan in the 1970s original) removes her blouse to reveal a black brassiere, but Perrin is apparently overcome with feelings for his wife, shortly after which Jackson appears unexpectedly, setting up a potentially embarrassing situation. The first series ended with Reggie considering whether he should fake his own death or actually commit suicide. However, while the original series progressed to a faked death and Leonard Rossiter as Reggie assuming a variety of disguises so that he could revisit his "widow", the character continued as Reggie.

Characters[edit]

  • Reginald "Reggie" Perrin (Martin Clunes)—Reggie is a man finding it increasingly difficult to put up with the monotony of life, a disappointing marriage, a boring office life and the daily commute. The appearance of Jasmine, a rather attractive new work colleague, isn't helping his sanity. Slowly but surely, Reggie is falling to bits. He is now starting to imagine doing things that one shouldn't do in polite society (for example, shooting a boring house guest), and the big problem is he is starting to vocalise some of these thoughts. How long will it be before he loses his marriage, his job and has the almost inevitable midlife crisis or, worse still, breakdown?
  • Nicola Perrin (Fay Ripley)—Nicola is Reggie's wife. Unlike the stay-at-home housewife of the original Perrin, Nicola has her own career, which leads them to spend little quality time together. As a result, Reggie has become a little besotted with Jasmine from work. In the second series, Nicola has lost her job so is at home bored for a lot of the time. She soon finds a close friend (perhaps too close) in new next-door neighbour David.
  • William (Geoffrey Whitehead)—Reggie's ex-army father-in-law, clearly based on Jimmy, the original Perrin's brother-in-law. He drops in at the house at the most inappropriate times—for example, when Reggie is attempting to cook a romantic breakfast for Nicola. William won't take Reggie's hint to leave them alone, and his own hints ("feeling a little giddy, might be food related") are hardly subtle. In fact, William is always seeking food. He seems to eat all his meals at the Perrins' house. Something else William does regularly is almost sit on people—he never looks behind him before sitting down. In the second series, William gets engaged to Reggie's mother Marion. However, he soon wants to call the wedding off.
  • Marion Perrin (Wendy Craig)—Marion is Reggie's mother. She is engaged to Nicola's father William, which is awkward for both Nicola and Reggie. It's also awkward for William—as, now they're over the period of excellent and exciting sex, he's realised he doesn't want to get married. Marion is a forthright woman who knows what she wants and will not take no for an answer; so it looks like William is getting married whether he likes it or not.
  • Chris Jackson (Neil Stuke)—Chris is Reggie's unhinged, over-motivated boss. He didn't get where he is today without being able to recognise a brilliant new squirt-based concept in shaving design when he sees one. How Groomtech survives under his leadership is a mystery, as his ideas and decision-making are far from good. Chris is work obsessed—he sends text messages to his staff in the evenings and at weekends too. It's possible he doesn't even go home. Chris likes to think he is a good people person, but he clearly isn't. For example, sitting in a big high chair looming over your employees is not great for making your staff feel at home. Chris is sacked in Series 2 and Reggie takes over his job. Reggie later hires him to make a commercial for the line of 'Grot'-products. While the commercial and new products become a huge success, Groomtech is eventually sold. Chris then becomes director again, as Reggie had told the new owners that he wasn't fit for the job. Jackson's initials are clearly a reference to CJ, boss of the original Perrin.
  • Jasmine Strauss (Lucy Liemann)—The beautiful Jasmine is the head of balms and lubricants at Groomtech. Elegant, softly-spoken, intelligent and witty—it's hardly surprising that Reggie is becoming besotted with her. However, his obsession comes at a cost—it is starting to jeopardise his work to the extent he may be fired. His inappropriate screen saver is clearly not going to impress when it is discovered, and his inappropriate office kiss most definitely strayed over the border of acceptability.
  • Vicki (Kerry Howard)—Vicki is the secretary at Groomtech. To call her stupid would be flattering her; she is immensely dopey and dim-witted. It is Vicki's job to try and organise Reggie's day—however this proves near impossible, what with Reggie's unpredictable behaviour and the fact most of his comments go over her head. However, Vicki means well and shows concern for Reggie. She is often very emotional. When Reggie compliments her at the end of season 1 she reacts as though being dumped by a lover: "You're getting a younger secretary."
  • Sue (Susan Earl)—Sue is the 'Wellness Person' at Groomtech. It is her job to ensure all the employees are happy and healthy. She's certainly the happiest person in the building, but that's probably because she is too stupid to realise when things aren't going well for her. For example, someone once said to her, "Sue, you're a bit simple" and she somehow took that as a compliment, even though Reggie tries to convince her it really isn't flattering. Patronising to the maximum, Sue is full of 'helpful' sayings and is armed with a stack of self-penned leaflets for pretty much every situation and eventuality. In the second series Reggie is made to take counselling sessions with Sue, although invariably ends up helping her get through her own issues, rather than the other way around.
  • Anthony (Jim Howick) and Steve (Nick Mohammed)— Reggie's deputies, equivalents of the original show's Tony Webster and David Harris-Jones. Ideas men whose ideas and enthusiasm rarely interest Reggie. Both look up to Reggie and will go to any lengths to get in Reggie's good books.
  • David (Alexander Armstrong)—David is Reggie and Nicola's new next door neighbour in Series 2. He is witty, laid-back and seems cool with the fact his neighbours are a bit odd. When Reggie is stuck at work, David pops round to keep Nicola company—a dangerous situation as David is divorced, single and clearly attracted to Nicola.

Episodes[edit]

Series 1[edit]

# Description Original air date Viewers (millions)[8]
1 Reggie's train journey to work is always delayed by 27 minutes, for a variety of reasons, and his fellow-passengers appear immersed in themselves. He walks daily past "Sunshine Desserts" and into "Groomtech". There he is a product executive in charge of disposable razors supported by a dim secretary, two fawning but ambitious junior executives, and an overbearing boss, Chris Jackson. However, his life is enlightened when he meets the new executive in charge of balms and lubricants, Jasmine Strauss, and he tries to get closer to her. Tasked with creating a new product based on pumice, normally used as an exfoliant, he comes up with the idea of the "DRR"—a Disposable Razor Raft, to be used in the bath, but is met with bemusement. 24 April 2009 5.39
2 Reggie decides not to take his briefcase to work, not that it ever contained anything, and his train is delayed again. Chris Jackson is concerned about the absence of briefcase and accuses Reggie of being a maverick. Meanwhile Reggie is still besotted with Jasmine and suddenly kisses her, only to be rebuffed. At home, Reggie prepares a special breakfast for his wife, only to have it interrupted by the arrival of her hungry father.[9] 1 May 2009 4.41
3 Reggie considers becoming a school teacher and tries his hand at the school at which his wife teaches; this works out so well that he invites the class to visit his office, which (contrary to protocol) he has filled with plants. The class visit is a disaster, but Reggie gets a free 1st class train ticket for complaining. 8 May 2009 3.84 (overnight)
4 Chris Jackson decides that globalisation is the way forward for Groomtech, and is persuaded by Reggie that Finland is a good indicator of market trends; Reggie visits Helsinki with Jasmine to try and sell their products, and after an alcohol-fuelled evening, they nearly end up together—until Chris unexpectedly shows up. Meanwhile, Reggie's wife is tempted by his former best man. 15 May 2009 4.11
5 Reggie becomes fully tired of the daily 27 minute delay of his commute and opts to travel to work by bicycle instead. At the same time Chris requests his coaching for a critical business meeting and his wife withholds sex. The situation escalates as Reggie faces constant injuries on his new commute, his wife reacts negatively to his attempts to be wholly honest and Chris takes complete credit for Reggie's problem solving. 22 May 2009 4.16
6 The office party does not go with the expected swing. Chris, deciding to fight Reggie's stress with more stress, has tasked Reggie with presenting a keynote speech at short notice. Reggie instead takes the opportunity to vent his frustration at how pointless his life has been before being thrown out. He leaves for the seaside and contemplates whether or not he should simply walk into the ocean. 29 May 2009 2.46 (overnight)

Series 2[edit]

# Description Original air date Viewers (millions)
1 Reggie decides against his pseudocide, and instead chooses to quit his job and pursue a more fulfilling career. Meanwhile, Nicola loses her job as a teacher after pulling down a boy's trousers. Groomtech is in serious trouble without Reggie, forcing Chris to appeal him to return, which Reggie arrogantly brushes off. 14 October 2010 3.21[10] (overnight)
2 Reggie struggles to find a new career, and tries running a stalls at the farmers market selling homemade bread, however with finances tight, Reggie is forced to return to Groomtech. As it turns out, Chris has been sacked, and the company's chairman decides to take a risk on Reggie and appoint him branch manager. 21 October 2010 2.755[11] (overnight)
3 Determining "not to lose touch with reality", Reggie makes sweeping changes at Groomtech, banning ties and introducing the wearing of slippers, a tea-lady and a bouncy castle to bounce ideas around in. He also gives strangers lifts in his company car. When the chairman expresses disapproval Reggie changes the firm's name to Grot, and announces that it will make only useless things. Nicola, now sacked, is bored at home, spending her time mending basket chairs, whilst her father tells Reggie he has cold feet about marrying his mother. 28 October 2010 2.86[12]
4 The staff express doubts as to the viability of Reggie selling his 'Grot' products—and indeed as to his sanity—but the goods fly off the shelves. The Groomtech chairman, hugely impressed, gives Reggie his next assignment: to cut half the staff. Nicola, feeling neglected as Reggie embraces his work with great enthusiasm, initially turns down David after he makes a pass at her at the swimming baths but still ends up ringing him. William, desperate to avoid matrimony, tries a feeble ploy to persuade Marion that he is gay, though it of course fails to work. 4 November 2010 3.0[13]
5 The success of the new product range leaves Reggie with a difficult decision, which could result in redundancy for many of his colleagues. Meanwhile, his efforts to reconcile with Nicola lead to a shocking discovery that threatens to change everything. 11 November 2010 3.47[14]
6 Nicola's affair with David is now out in the open, and the Perrins clash at their parents' wedding. Reggie needs to come up with a plan to stop the chairman of Groomtech from selling the company and making anyone redundant. The company is ultimately sold, but without any job losses—although Reggie is returned to his old position and Chris is reappointed manager. Nicola makes an earnest attempt at reconciliation. Reggie begins to wonder if he should just disappear once again. 18 November 2010 2.75[15]

Reception[edit]

John Preston of The Daily Telegraph was negative, describing it as "hopelessly wheezy and club-footed. Part of the problem was that while the script may have been updated, everything else had large tufts of mammoth hair stuck to it: the cheap sets, the laboured direction, the glaringly unatmospheric lighting, the once-daring surrealistic touches, even the concept itself."[16]

Caitlin Moran of The Times was more positive, saying "I actually like this new one. It gently warmed me. It warmed me as As Time Goes By warms me" and praising Clunes' interpretation: "I engage with the escalating depression and insanity of Clunes's Perrin more than I did with Rossiter's..."[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Network TV BBC Week 16 Highlights 18–24 April 2009" (Press release). BBC Press Office. Retrieved 3 April 2009. 
  2. ^ "Martin Clunes to star in BBC One's revival of Reggie Perrin" (Press release). BBC Press Office. 14 January 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2009. 
  3. ^ Foster, Dave (28 April 2009). "2 Entertain in June". DVD Times. Retrieved 29 May 2009. 
  4. ^ Reggie Perrin at HDTVUK.tv
  5. ^ BBC - Press Office - Reggie Perrin returns to BBC One for second series
  6. ^ "Reggie Perrin". LostinTV. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  7. ^ Ripley: 'Cold Feet changed my career' - TV News - Digital Spy
  8. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 29 May 2009. 
  9. ^ whose manner and language are remarkably similar to those of Jimmy in the original series.
  10. ^ 'Have I Got News For You' returns to 5.2m - TV News - Digital Spy
  11. ^ Deans, Jason (22 October 2010). "Prince Harry drama documentary attracts less than 1m". The Guardian (London). 
  12. ^ 'Celebrity Juice' scores all-time high - X Factor News - Reality TV - Digital Spy
  13. ^ 'Howard's Good News' breaks 1m mark - TV News - Digital Spy
  14. ^ 'An Idiot Abroad' bows out to 1m - TV News - Digital Spy
  15. ^ Solomon's bushtucker trial grabs 8.6m - I'm A Celebrity News - Reality TV - Digital Spy
  16. ^ Preston, John (21 April 2009). "TV review: Reggie Perrin (BBC One)—English Heritage (BBC Two)—Snow (BBC Four)—Telegraph". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  17. ^ Moran, Caitlin (25 April 2009). "Welcome back Reggie Perrin—Times Online". The Times (London). Retrieved 25 April 2009. 

External links[edit]