In recent days, the BBC have been, usually ( though not always in all fairness ) with catastrophic results, remaking old sitcoms from the '60's and '70's with new casts ( a lot of the original cast members having died ) such as 'Porridge', 'Dad's Army' and 'Are You Being Served?'. This is not a new thing. The trend seemed to start in 2009, when Martin Clunes signed up for a remake of David Nobbs' classic 'The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin' ( which featured the much missed Leonard Rossiter in the leading role ), entitled simply 'Reggie Perrin'.
David Nobbs returned to write the scripts, though he had a little help from Simon Nye, whose most famous creation 'Men Behaving Badly' had starred Martin Clunes. This 21st Century Reggie worked not for Sunshine Desserts ( though this was referenced to in the first episode ) but for Groomtech, a company which manufacture vanity products. Reggie's boss here is Chris Jackson ( Neil Stuke, who vainly tried to inherit the mannerisms that John Barron brought to his role as C.J ), his secretary was not the bright and level headed Joan but the dim witted Vicki ( Kerry Howard, who recently played the role of Hyacinth in the ill fated 'Keeping Up Appearances' prequel 'Young Hyacinth' ). In place of Tony Webster and David Harris-Jones we have the irritating Anthony and Steve ( Jim Howick and Nick Mohammed ). Instead of John Horsley's befuddled Doc Morrisey, we have Susan Earl as Groomtech's 'wellness person'.
Reggie's home life is equally strained. His marriage here is not a happy one to Elisabeth but a failing one to steadfast and independent Nicola ( played by the gorgeous Fay Ripley ). He does not have a scrounging brother in law in the shape of Jimmy but a scrounging father-in-law named William ( Geoffrey Whitehead, who seems to have inherited Geoffrey Palmer's ''Bit of a cock up on the catering front!'' ). We even see, in the place of a hippopotamus, Reggie's hatchet faced mother Marion ( Wendy Craig ).
At work, Reggie is besotted not with Joan but the lovely Jasmine Strauss ( Lucy Liemann ).
In all honesty, it wasn't too bad, and to be fair to Martin Clunes, he did the very best he could in such a tricky role. Even Fay Ripley made the most of her role as Nicola. Meanwhile for the rest of the cast Howick and Mohammed were particularly awful as Ant and Steve while Neil Stuke could not hold a cigar to John Barron's C.J. Kerry Howard and Susan Earl, while not altogether bad, could have, and should have, put a bit more into their portrayals. Lucy Liemann however provided some fun as Jasmine, Reggie's centre of lust. The main problem was that, even after thirty odd years, the affection for the original show was still far too strong. It did well enough to get a second series but after that it went downhill, at which point the door was closed on Groomtech for good.
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