Reggie Perrin. Reggie Perrin (Martin Clunes). Image credit: Objective Productions.

Reggie Perrin

BBC1 revival of the 1970s comedy. Written by Simon Nye and original creator David Nobbs. Martin Clunes plays the frustrated businessman

Perrin (Working Title)
2009 - 2010  (BBC One)
12 (2 series)
Martin Clunes, Fay Ripley, Lucy Liemann, Kerry Howard, Jim Howick, Nick Mohammed, Susan Earl, Neil Stuke, Wendy Craig, Geoffrey Whitehead, Alexander Armstrong & more
David Nobbs, Simon Nye
Objective Productions

Revival of the 1970s sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin by creator David Nobbs and Men Behaving Badly writer Simon Nye.

Reggie Perrin retells the story of a sales executive on the edge. An average man finding it increasingly difficult to put up with the monotony of life, the disappointing marriage, the office grind and the daily commute.

Rebellion begins to build in his mind, in the form of increasingly surreal flights of fancy. And, slowly, Reggie begins to say what he really thinks, to his wife, to his boss, to his fellow commuters... and, most dangerously of all, to his new colleague, the beautiful Jasmine Strauss.

Executive producer Phil Clarke told Broadcast magazine that the aim of this project (Objective's first studio sitcom and its first comedy commission for BBC1) was to deliver an accessible family show for a pre-watershed slot.

Martin Clunes plays the lead character, and an impressive cast list, including Wendy Craig and Geoffrey Whitehead, provide ensemble support.

Clarke continues: "Reggie's still a man in crisis with the modern world, but what's interesting is to look at where the world has changed since the 1970s and where it hasn't. He doesn't, for example, dictate memos to his secretary... he uses email. It's an opportunity to comment on the modern world without being heavy-handed."

The second series finds suburban sales executive Reggie back from the brink with a new zest for his once monotonous life. But will Reggie's ideas for a new way of life appeal to his wife Nicola, who is already at breaking point?

As Reggie tries to slam the door on his old life, can he rid himself of those surreal flights of fancy? And could Reggie's ideas really bring him the fulfilment he seeks?

Our Review: Bringing back a classic comedy successfully is always a tall task; normally too tall a task. So the fact the BBC and Objective Productions managed to get this project onto our screens in 2009 without a massive backlash was quite a feat!

It is generally agreed that Clunes does a good job of portraying the modern version of Perrin, but there are a number of criticisms to be levelled at the show. Perhaps the most common complaints being that the audience laugh track is too loud; and the office workers caricatures, which clashes with the more realistic charactisation seen in Reggie. Our message board and press clippings page have more depth on this.

The BBC are obviously happy enough with the show, as they did order this second series despite the general indifference from the audience. Cheryl Taylor, Controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning says: "Reggie Perrin is a vibrant and much-anticipated addition to our comedy offering in 2010. The studio sitcom is a genre we are committed to developing and I'm delighted that we have inspirational writers such as Simon Nye and David Nobbs to help promote the cause."