Reggie Perrin: Season 1, Episode 1

Episode #1.1 (24 Apr. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
6.7
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Reginald 'Reggie' hates his cozy, well-paid but boring routine life as in Groomtech's department head of disposable razors. This time, crazy, power-hungry CEO Chris orders Reggie and his ... See full summary »

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Title: Episode #1.1 (24 Apr 2009)

Episode #1.1 (24 Apr 2009) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Reginald 'Reggie' hates his cozy, well-paid but boring routine life as in Groomtech's department head of disposable razors. This time, crazy, power-hungry CEO Chris orders Reggie and his over-eager, half-wit sycophant assistants Anthony and Steve to come up with a novel use for pumice. Meanwhile Reggie's wife's feminist discussion group crowds him out of his own living room. Written by KGF Vissers

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dream | explosion

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Comedy

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24 April 2009 (UK)  »

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As Reggie arrives at his office, we see another building on the street, with a sign saying "Sunshine Desserts," which was the name of the company in the original Reggie Perrin series. See more »

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Reggie's Return
26 April 2009 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Like many, when I heard the B.B.C. was proposing to remake 'The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin' ( which ran from 1976-78 ), I was horrified. We have become used to bad Hollywood remakes ( particularly sci-fi ones, which drench themselves in C.G.I. in a futile effort to conceal their lack of originality ), but now British television is getting in on the act. The precedent was set last year when the Corporation served up a tepid, logic-free 'reimagining' of Terry Nation's 'Survivors' which if nothing else only further enhanced the original's reputation.

My hostility subsided a little when I learnt that David Nobbs would be involved in the project, working alongside 'Men Behaving Badly' creator Simon Nye. Nobbs' reasoning ( as explained on his website ) was that we needed a new version because the world had changed so much since 1976. I then re-read the books and found there was a lot of funny stuff in them not used by the original, such as Reggie's daughter Linda's incestuous relationship with his fanatical right-wing brother-in-law Jimmy. A remake therefore seemed perfectly viable.

So what did I make of the first show? Alright. Not bad, but above average for B.B.C.-1 these days. Reggie now works for 'Groomtech', a firm specialising in products for men such as after-shaves and razors ( 'Sunshine Desserts' featured briefly as Reggie passed it on the way to work ). Like the Reggie of old, the train is always 11 minutes late, he has a domineering boss ( 'Chris Jackson' ), two annoying yes-men are always floating about the office, and Reggie is bored by the futility of his existence. The jokes may be new, but the premise is the same. Clunes was good, making no effort to copy Leonard Rossiter, and delivered his one-liners with the right degree of venom. I laughed when he dreamt of telling the man on the train: "Your shoes are on fire, and I'm sleeping with your wife!". Keeping Reggie's flights of fancy was another wise move.

However, they erred in not properly establishing a starting point for Reggie's madness. The first episode of the original began with a typical day in Reggie's life, then after insulting his mother-in-law everything changes. They should have done that here. Reggie instead came across as unnecessarily rude. We were not given a chance to see just what he was rebelling against. No awful mother-in-law, but a dippy secretary ( a stereotype even in 1976 ).

The original Reggie once claimed that the sight of a pumice stone would be likely to give him hysterics. Unfortunately, the new version was saddled with the impossible job of marketing it for the man who likes to look good. He also fancied the pants off attractive colleague Jasmine Strauss ( Lucy Liemann ). The loving relationship the old Reggie had with Elisabeth ( Pauline Yates ) has been replaced by a cold, formal one with the independent Nicola ( Fay Ripley ).

The laugh-track should have been dispensed with. At times I thought I was watching 'A Sharp Intake Of Breath' starring David Jason ( it was that intrusive ).

Also why has the late, great Ronnie Hazlehurst not been credited with the theme music? These flaws aside, I did like it and will be watching next week. But it could and should have been better.


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