The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, 1976
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin was originally a series of novels written by and developed into a sitcom by their author David Nobbs.
There were three series totalling twenty one episodes that ran between 1976 and 1979.
Anybody who has not seen the original three series of this comedy, may find the summary complicated, but that was The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin and it was hilarious.
Regretfully in these days of digital TV it’s a series that rarely gets repeated, but whether you buy the DVD or wait to see if it pops up on GOLD it’s worth checking out.
The story concerns a middle-aged middle manager, Reggie Perrin, who is driven to bizarre behaviour by the pointlessness of his job at Sunshine Desserts.
This bizarre behaviour leads to him imagining his Mother In Law as a hippo, and even to eventually faking his own death.
In series one deals with Reggies erratic behaviour, him faking his own death and subsequent life after death, assuming various disguises and identitities Reggie encounters more of the banal and pompous side of life. He finally finds contentment in his guise as a buck toothed farm labourer, whilst working in a sewage park and looking after pigs. Missing his wife, he assumes the identity of Martin Wellbourne, returned from South America, and visits her. He realises he loves her still. Elizabeth, seeing through his disguise, is happy to have him back.
In series two, tired of being Martin Wellbourne, he decides he wants to be Reggie again. After a turn of events that lead to him being sacked from Sunshine Desserts he opens a shop called Grot, selling useless products that he hopes will be a failure, but it turns into a huge success.
In series three Reggie opens up a Community called Perrins for the middle-aged middle class, designed to help them become ‘better, happier people’.
The project is a success until a group of people who fall foul of the ‘Perrins Peace Keeping Force’ trash the place.
Reggie is then hired by CJ’s brother FJ at Amalgamated Aerosols, working directly under CJ. Reggie instantly returns to his eccentric ways, however, and the final scene shows him contemplating another trip to the Dorset coast.
Written By: David Nobbs
Produced By: Gareth Gwenlan
Original Transmission: 8th September 1976 – 24th January 1979
In 1996, David Nobbs created a spin off series starring many of the original cast: The Legacy Of Reginald Perrin (clearly Leonard Rossiter had died by this time hence the title). In 1996 an updated version entitled Reggie Perrin and written by David Nobbs and Simon Nye, was broadcast on BBC1 with Martin Clunes in the title role.
All three series are available on DVD and there is also the novels on which the series was based.