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28 October 2014

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  • The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

Leonard Rossiter as Reginald

Adapted by David Nobbs from his novel, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin brilliantly captured the mid-1970s zeitgeist.

It opened each week with a naked Reggie walking out into the sea to end it all before rapidly rethinking the whole idea, and told the story of a man desperate to escape his loving but dull marriage, disappointing offspring and the daily grind of his job.

Leonard Rossiter and Sue Nicholls

The first series - while hilariously funny - was incredibly dark, focusing on a man in nervous breakdown.

Each week Reggie's behaviour becomes more erratic, his excuses to his secretary for lateness weirder and weirder ("22 minutes late, Joan: a badger ate a junction box at New Malden") and his fantasies of seducing her more vivid. 

The mere mention of his mother-in-law is enough to send an image of a hippo lumbering through his head and each episode ends with Reggie screaming in frustration.

John Barron as CJ

Ultimately he fakes his own death but is reunited with wife Elizabeth when he attends his funeral in disguise and can't resist wooing her all over again.

Reggie returned a year later bent on setting up a new business, "Grot", selling useless goods.  It was, of course, a massive success, leaving Reggie trapped back in the rat race.

For the third, less successful series, he abandoned wage-slavery again, this time setting up a commune for his former co-workers.

Leonard Rossiter and John Horsley

A brilliant satire, the programme will also be remembered for its catchphrases including Reggie’s boss CJ's "I didn't get where I am today by..." and Reggie's brother-in-law Jimmy constantly cadging food on the basis of "a bit of a cock-up on the catering front".

Above all there was Leonard Rossiter's brilliant performance as Reginald Iolanthe Perrin.  RIP to both.


Leonard Rossiter
Reginald Perrin/Martin Wellbourne
Pauline Yates
Elizabeth Perrin
John Barron
Sue Nicholls
Joan Greengross/Webster
John Horsley
'Doc' Morrisey
Trevor Adams
Tony Webster
Bruce Bould
David Harris-Jones
Theresa Watson
Prue Harris-Jones
Geoffrey Palmer
Jimmy Anderson
Tim Preece
Tom Patterson
Leslie Schofield
Tom Patterson
Sally-Jane Spencer
Linda Patterson
David Warwick
Mark Perrin
Glynn Edwards
Mr Pelham
Joan Blackham
Miss Erith
Derry Power
Seamus Finnegan
Joseph Brad


David Nobbs
Gareth Gwenlan
John Howard Davies
Robin Nash

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