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Old 04-16-2019, 10:27 AM
Llama Llogophile is offline
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The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin


I've been re-watching some old British comedies and have been enjoying Reginald Perrin immensely. Quick recap for those interested:

Reggie Perrin is a middle manager working at a dismal company in London. He has a domineering boss, a secretary he's in love with, several obsequious and irritating underlings, a doctor who is completely useless and a family he loves, but he is hopelessly bored with his life. Every day it's the same thing down to the last detail, and he's fed up. He begins acting eccentrically just to change things up and eventually fakes his own death, only to re-enter his life and marry his wife again under an alias. It goes on from there.

Used to watch it with my dad when I was little and I enjoyed the more obvious comedy:
- Every character has a catch phrase. His boss CJ is always repeating, "I didn't get where I am today by..." whatever the last person speaking has said. Reggie's two underlings are always saying "Great!" and "Super" to absolutely anything.
- Reggie begins visualizing a trotting hippo every time his mother-in-law is mentioned, and a monster for his boss.
- The visitors' chairs in his bosse's office make a farting noise every time someone sits down.

What escaped my notice was that perhaps my father enjoyed it because he was having his own midlife crisis and rather envied Reggie Perrin for walking away from his life.

Moreover, as I re-watch it I've really enjoyed seeing it as an adult. They do a good job of portraying how everyday annoyances, no matter how small, are soul killing in their repetition and predictability, and how that can create a feeling of utter futility. I myself walked away from a solid career to try something new and risky that has worked out well, so I consider myself lucky I did not end up a Reggie Perrin.

It's a very, very British show. It probably goes more at what it meant to be British in the 70s than it does about mid-life crises. Leonard Rossiter in the title role is fantastic. A much more nuanced portrayal than I remember. You feel sorry for Reggie even though he makes some bad decisions.

I may have to read the books. Anyone read them?
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:56 AM
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Love the series, have it all on DVD.
I read the first book a long time ago and dopn't recall it too well - I know I enjoyed it but I believe there was more sadness in the book then the TV series. The thing I remember reading that I didn't recall being in the adaptation was that Reggie's middle name was "Ignatius", so when someone game him a monogrammed tie it said "RIP".
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:11 AM
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Love that show.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:12 AM
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on youtube
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:23 AM
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My roommate and I watched the show when it first ran on PBS in the US, back in the 1980s. I didn't realize they were based on a series of books.

I haven't seen them since, but my recollection is that, while the first couple of seasons were really good, it petered out and we eventually lost interest before it finished.

Interesting stuff: An American company actually sold what was essentially "Grot" , although not under that name, of course. People will buy damned near anthing.

The guy who played Reginald Perrin, Leonard Rossiter, was one of the Russians aboard the Space Station who talked with Heywood Floyd in 2001: A Space Odyssey. He even was caricatured by Mort Drucker in the Mad satire! Kubrick re-used him in Barry Lyndon as Captain Quin, who gets "killed" in a duel with Redmond Barry (but he's faking it). He was in a bunch of other films I've seen, but the only one I actually recall was a tiny part in Luther. He died in 1984 at the surprisingly young age of 57.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by TPWombat View Post
Love the series, have it all on DVD.
I read the first book a long time ago and dopn't recall it too well - I know I enjoyed it but I believe there was more sadness in the book then the TV series. The thing I remember reading that I didn't recall being in the adaptation was that Reggie's middle name was "Ignatius", so when someone game him a monogrammed tie it said "RIP".
On the TV show his middle name is “Iolanthe”, after the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. There’s a scene where he muses to himself that if he had been born a month later his name would have been “Reginald Pirates of Penzance Perrin”.
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:02 PM
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Leonard Rossiter was a very well-respected classical actor. He also played the mean and behind-the-times landlord in a series called Rising Damp and drenched Joan Collins in a famous advert that became almost a series of mini-sitcoms
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:12 PM
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...and drenched Joan Collins in a famous advert that became almost a series of mini-sitcoms
That looks like Deanna Troi serving the drinks!
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:22 PM
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That looks like Deanna Troi serving the drinks!
That's because it is! An early gig for Marina Sirtis.
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:43 PM
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That's because it is! An early gig for Marina Sirtis.
Yeah, looks like her, but there's no mention of it on her IMDB page. She would have been around 23 years old at the time.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:04 PM
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Yeah, looks like her, but there's no mention of it on her IMDB page. She would have been around 23 years old at the time.
It's on her "Other Works" tab, although I'm not sure how reliable that is. Having said that the face, date, location and career-stage match up pretty well.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:14 PM
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Leonard Rossiter was a very well-respected classical actor. He also played the mean and behind-the-times landlord in a series called Rising Damp and drenched Joan Collins in a famous advert that became almost a series of mini-sitcoms
He was also a nosy Soviet scientist in 2001: A Space Odyssey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fHMvdLiqk8
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:06 PM
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There was a remake of Reginald Perrin with Martin Clunes in the lead role some years back (in the noughties probably) which I remember being serviceable for the couple of episodes I watched - probably an affront to fans of the original, however.
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:12 PM
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He was also a nosy Soviet scientist in 2001: A Space Odyssey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fHMvdLiqk8
Look at post #5
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:24 PM
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Look at post #5
Oops - missed that. Thanks.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:54 PM
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This thread tastes like a Bolivian unicyclist's jockstrap.
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
I may have to read the books. Anyone read them?
I have. The first book was written before the TV series, but the subsequent ones were clearly written during/after because the characters are definitely written just like the TV actors, and lines of dialogue match the scripts exactly. David Nobbs wrote both the books and the entire TV series (and contributed to the remake from ten years ago).

I've watched the series about five times, as it was a great little filler show for late in the evening back in NZ, and they'd just repeat the entire series over and over until the year was out. It's compelling, one of those stop-and-watch shows that are consistently hilarious.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:11 PM
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Elizabeth: Have a nice day at the office!
Reggie: I won't!

I really loved this show, though I lost some interest when they formed the commune. Still. Great stuff.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:53 PM
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Elizabeth: Have a nice day at the office!
Reggie: I won't!
I think my favorite running joke was this bit with his boss CJ:

Reggie: (on the phone) "Hello, CJ. Yes, CJ, yes. Certainly, CJ. Any time this morning would suit me best. Certainly, CJ."

He hangs up and says to his secretary, "Seeing CJ at 4:00 this afternoon."

Also, when he arrives exactly 11 minutes late to the office every day and recites British Rail's reason for it:

"Morning, Joan. 11 minutes late - staff difficulties at Hampton Wick."
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:58 PM
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Watching this show was where I learned that there was such a thing as Cockney Rhyming Slang!
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:59 PM
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One, two, three, four...leave them waiting at the door

Five, six, seven, eight...always pays to make them wait

COME!


Also, since we live near the airport, we are constantly remarking how we must be in the flight path again.

Last edited by Rhiannon8404; 04-16-2019 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:28 PM
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I remember thinking "Reginald Perrin" was a very funny show when I watched it on PBS. A few years ago, I noticed that the local library had Season 1 on DVD, so I borrowed it; I thought it was moderately amusing, but not as funny as when I was a teenager.

I also remember doubling over with laughter over the quasi-spinoff "Fairly Secret Army" when I watched it on PBS, but now I'm afraid that I wouldn't find it nearly as funny.
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
On the TV show his middle name is “Iolanthe”, after the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. There’s a scene where he muses to himself that if he had been born a month later his name would have been “Reginald Pirates of Penzance Perrin”.
Then he was mis-informed. The next comic opera in sequence was "Princess Ida" so he would have been Reginald Princess Ida Perrin, which sounds a lot better. Perhaps not as funny.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:15 PM
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I may have to read the books. Anyone read them?

I have. The books contain a couple of nasty sub plots that the TV show wisely leaves out. It explains for example the disappearance of Reggie's son Mark, while in the TV show he's a Chuck Cunningham. You might like it better if you avoid reading them.
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:59 PM
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Forgive me my sins, but the blackface scene with CJ had me falling off my chair laughing.

(He has it just on his face, not his neck, ears or hands, and his pretending to be Jamaican or whatever it was was so over the top comical and offensive at the same time.)
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Last edited by Chimera; 04-17-2019 at 01:59 PM.
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