The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

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BBC (ended 1979)

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7.6
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The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

Show Summary

When Reginald Iolanthe Perrin set out for work on the Thursday morning, he had no intention of calling his mother in-law a hippopotamus. Yet that's exactly what he did do - and when the book (which opened with that very line) was adapted for TV by the BBC in 1976, Reggie's visions of that waddling, mud-caked hippo created one of TV's funniest images. On that level alone, the show is great comic entertainment - but there's so much more to enjoy besides. The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin is a situation comedy with a difference. The situation is that of a tired, middle-aged executive who, feeling suffocated by his repetitive commuter lifestyle, decides he wants out; the comedy comes from his attempts to actually do so. But this isn't just a series of half-baked plots - it's a continuing serial which follows every trial and tribulation of our anti-hero as he slowly descends into madness, then makes the one bid for freedom which might just save his sanity. And it's this satirical element that elevates Perrin from mere half-hour laugh-fest to poignant comedy drama; just as Reggie tries to prove there is more to life, the programme proves there is more to comedy than an endless stream of gags. We travel every step of the way with Reggie, feeling his frustration; celebrating when he breaks free; and empathising when he finally discovers that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. The late, great Leonard Rossiter stars as Reggie, a role a million miles away from his most famous character - Rising Damp's lecherous landlord Rigsby - but every bit as memorable. The rest of the characters are somewhat more caricatured, from domineering boss, sexy secretary and stammering, sycophantic colleague, through to understanding wife, hippie son-in-law and scrounging brother-in-law. Yet this is not a criticism - they're played as caricatures because that's precisely what they are, with their catchphrases and repetitive behaviour only serving to heighten Reggie's sense of suffocation. The show ran for three series, in which Reggie tried various ways of putting two fingers up to the world. There was also a spin-off, Fairly Secret Army, starring Geoffrey Palmer, and a dire American version with Soap star Richard Mulligan in the title role. But perhaps most poignant was the fourth series, The Legacy of Reginald Perrin, which aired in Britain in 1996 and reunited all the original cast with one notable exception: Reggie himself. Sadly, Leonard Rossiter died in 1984, and another actor taking over the character was unthinkable, so here his family, friends and colleagues gathered to carry out the conditions of his last will and testament. The book was a joy as, despite Reggie's absence, his spirit lived on through the others; sadly in the TV adaptation, his absence was all-too apparent - without a fully formed central character, all the others were reduced to simple caricature. Nevertheless, The Fall and Rise ... stands proudly alongside other classic BBC comedies such as Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, Dad's Army and Steptoe and Son. ================================ CREW: Directed by Gareth Gwenlan John Howard Davies (pilot episode) Writing credits David Nobbs Original Music by Ronnie Hazlehurst Film Editing by Bill Harris Chris Lovett Dan Rae Graham Walker Production Design by Lesley Bremness Barbara Gosnold Graham Oakley Jon Pusey Costume Design by Christian Dyall June Hudson (pilot) Joyce Mortlock Janet Tharby Makeup Department Dawn Alcock .... makeup artist (series 1) Fran Needham .... makeup artist (series 3) Christine Whitney .... makeup artist (series 2) Sound Department Rodney Bond .... sound recordist (series 3) Jeff Booth .... studio sound Richard Chamberlain .... sound (pilot episode) Basil Harris .... sound recordist (series 1) Laurie Taylor .... studio sound Bill Wild .... sound recordist (series 2) Other crew Brian Clemett .... studio lighting John Dixon .... studio lighting John B. Hobbs .... production assistant Brian Jones .... production assistant Ron Koplick .... studio lighting Reg Pope .... camera operator James Purdie .... lighting technician (pilot episode) (as Jimmy Purdie) =============================== Production Companies * British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) ============================= Awards for BAFTA Awards 1980 -- Nominated -- Best Situation Comedy -- Gareth Gwenlan 1979 -- Nominated -- Best Light Entertainment Performance -- Leonard Rossiter (Also for "The Losers" (1978) and "Rising Damp" (1974)) 1979 -- Nominated -- Best Situation Comedy -- Gareth Gwenlan 1978 -- Nominated -- Best Light Entertainment Performance -- Leonard Rossiter [Also for "Rising Damp" (1974)] 1978 -- Nominated -- Best Situation Comedy -- Gareth Gwenlan 1977 -- Nominated -- Best Light Entertainment Performance -- Leonard Rossiter 1977 -- Nominated -- Best Situation Comedy -- Gareth Gwenlan =========================== Trivia * Real-life Labour MP (Member of Parliament) John Stonehouse faked his own apparent suicide in exactly the same way as Reginald Perrin - in the summer of 1974 he left his clothes on a beach in Miami and disappeared. However this was pure coincidence: David Nobbs wrote his novel early in 1974, before Stonehouse disappeared (so Nobbs couldn't have based the novel on Stonehouse's disappearance) but the novel wasn't published until 1975, after Stonehouse went missing (so Stonehouse couldn't have got ideas for his disappearance by reading the novel). * Creator David Nobbs originally wanted Ronnie Barker to play Reginald Perrin, having written a lot of material for "The Two Ronnies" (1971). =============================== Followed by "The Legacy of Reginald Perrin" (1996) Remade as "Reggie" (1983) =========================== Release dates UK -- 8 September 1976 ========================== Filming Locations 1. High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, UK 2. Sandalls Close, London, England, UK 3. West Bay, Dorset, England, UK 4. Witney, Oxfordshire, England, UK ============================= Based on the novels. Original Literary Source Nobbs, David. The Better World of Reginald Perrin. Mandarin, December 1990, 0749304685 Nobbs, David. The Complete Reginald Perrin. Methuen, October 1990, 0413638804 Nobbs, David. The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. Mandarin, June 1990, 0749303794 Nobbs, David. The Return of Reginald Perrin. Mandarin, December 1990, 0749304693 =========================moreless
John Barron

John Barron

C.J. (Charles Jefferson) / F.J.

Pauline Yates

Pauline Yates

Elizabeth Perrin

Tim Preece

Tim Preece

Tom Patterson [Series 1&2: 1976-1977]

Leonard Rossiter

Leonard Rossiter

Reginald Iolanthe Perrin

Geoffrey Palmer

Geoffrey Palmer

Jimmy Anderson

Sue Nicholls

Sue Nicholls

Joan Greengross/Webster

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Quite unlike most sitcoms

    7.5
    Based on David Nobbs comic novels, Leonard Rossiter stars as the middle-aged, middle-class, middle manager Reginald Perrin, who longs for a life that is just out of his reach. Despite his best efforts to break free from the conformity that he sees all around him, he never quite succeeds. Gradually his brain parts company with normality, and madness takes over. Reggie soon fakes his own death, attends his own funeral, and falls in love with his wife again.



    A fine and funny cast making up friends, family and enemies surrounds Perrin. Outstanding writing and hilarious acting make this one of the greats.

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  • Great Stuff

    10
    "1, 2 , 3, 4 make them wait outside the door 5, 6, 7, 8 It always pays to make them wait 9, 10 COME!" The perfect phrase for dealing with bosses and employees that came from this fantastic show. I used it everyday at work, it's perfect! I watched this show on PBS on the weekends when they replay comedies from the BBC like Monty Python, The Goodies, Good Neighbors and Reginald Perrin. This is one show that deserves a DVD set because I will certainly be a customer. The show followed Reginald from employee to super powerful Executive millionaire and back down to nothing then on the rise again. The characters were hilarious and it actually made me want some of that Potato wine his son in law makes.moreless
  • DOC MARTIN ACTOR MARTIN CLUNES STARS IN A MODERN REMAKE OF THE 70S CLASSIC, THE FALL AND RISE OF REGINALD PERRIN.

    Martin Clunes revives Reggie Perrin

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