96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2009
Two words can describe this dvd set.
I didn't get where I am today by describing this dvd set in more than two words.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2010
It almost brings tears to my eyes to have to allocate only three stars to what can only be described as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, sitcom of the last, and indeed, this century. The story and content of this series needs no introduction, needs no synopsis, or discussion as to how these great actors made this series as good as the novels by David Nobbs. The nigh on perfect interaction between the characters, particularly between the Leonard Rossiter and John Baron, who were great friends, requires no elaboration whatsoever. Anyone reading this, or any of the reviews here, already know about the timeless qualities that lie within.
I love this series; I have owned the earlier box set for the last eight years and have watched each and every episode, at least twice per year. So why only three stars? The low rating is simply due to the fact that this re-issue is marred by cuts within some of the episodes. Whilst traversing through the first series, I noticed little things that were missing, yet I couldn't quite put my finger on it. In fact, the cuts are quite subtle, and it's only if you've watched the earlier issues a number of times, that you'll even be aware that they existed at all. But they do exist, there are at least three cuts in the first series alone, which one other reviewer also spotted and provides a detailed account of them. I compared the scenes with my old releases, because I couldn't quite believe that they existed; but they do. These omissions are completely unjustified and they appear quite shocking when played next to the uncut scenes.
It seems so sad, because there has been at least one significant improvement, through the inclusion of excellent and extremely accurate subtitles. All of the spoken text is present within the subtitles, even when you bear in mind the the rapid-fire interchanges between the characters. This doesn't happen, for example, in the the latest Rising Damp release, where many of the subtitles are omitted whilst the characters speak, or the subtitle text is a watered down summary of what is actually being said. The subtitles within the Perrin box set are exemplary; but for myself, the unjustified reel slashes make this set feel cheap and shoddy. I was going to give my older, more complete set away to someone else after purchasing this re-issue, until I realised that that wouldn't be a good idea.
If you can somehow get hold of the earlier releases, don't hesitate, even if they are a little more expensive. You can't put a price on completeness. If you don't mind the odd cut here or there, then by all means, go for this extremely inexpensive, space saving set. The price for the re-issue did seem a little too good to be true in my eyes (I'd paid around forty pounds for the earlier release). Upon watching, the facts spoke for themselves.
An absolute classic comedy, starring the late and great Leonard Rossiter, ruined through needless snips in the cutting room. The auditing methods with regarding to checking the final product must be completely substandard at the BBC, and for that, they should hold their heads in shame!
After careful contemplation; I feel I've been a little too harsh in allocating three stars because of a few snips here and there. Particularly, I would not wish to detract newcomers from this wonderful series because of a couple of omissions. My harshness is based on the purist viewpoint. I've also noticed that the older release is quite difficult, and expensive to get hold of now; therefore, the current release is probably the the only cost efficient method to purchase this series in its entirety. So, I give the BBC three stars, but the series itself, a perfect five; and thus, meet it in the middle - so, four stars rather than three.
66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2009
At last, the entire collection of Leonard Rossiter at his very best - as Reginald Iolanthe Perrin! Having purchased it and already seen the first 3 series, I would thoroughly recommend this beautifully packaged collection. The chance to laugh and weep along with with Reggie as he struggles through the monotony of life in the rat race and indeed, the fast lane. As the pressure grows on Reggie as a Senior sales executive, he longs to escape from it all. The series charts his battle with his complacent life, through his eventual escape from it all, and his ups and downs as he returns to his old life after living as a tramp, then supping champagne as a multi-milionaire, yet always having his roots firmly at home despite his wandering fantasies. I first saw this excellent programme at the age of 16, and now at 48 I just cannot tire of it. Recommended for anyone who saw it on TV first time round or perhaps has seen the new - and very good - series with Martin Clunes and is curious about the original series. You can't go wrong if you buy this product - there are many guaranteed laughs to come. I didn't get where I am today without knowing there are many guaranteed laughs to come!
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2004
A year or so ago I saw series 1 for the first time in many years when it was repeated in the UK by the BBC. It was wonderfully nostalgic to become engrossed once again in the story. David Nobbs had created Reginald Iolanthe Perrin (played by Leonard Rossiter), a frustrated and stressed business executive, living a comfortable but boring suburban lifestyle, fed-up with British Rail always getting hime to work 11 minutes late. Many could identify, at least in part, with Reggie. The faked suicide and his new identities create hilarious situations but always with a hint of sadness at his predicament - sometimes it is uncomfortable if you have been in a similar situation yourself. Sadly the BBC did not choose to screen the full trilogy, so it was with relief that I discovered this box set. Series 1 deals with Reggie's build-up to a breakdown and his "disappearance", followed by his very amusing appearance at his own memorial service as an old friend of Reggie's. He then wins the heart of his "widow", Elizabeth (Pauline Yates). In series 2 he accidentally founds "Grot", an empire of shops selling useless objects, also greatly entertaining. Series 3, in which he founds a commune for the middle classes works a little less well for me, partly because of a change of actor playing his son-in-law. But it is because all three series are here that this set is so great - the story needs to be complete... that said, there were two spin-off series; one of these is "A Fairly Secret Army", starring Reggie's brother-in-law Jimmy, played by Geoffrey Palmer. The other, in 1996, being "The Legacy of Reginald Perrin", with more or less the same cast as "Fall and Rise" (except of course, the late Leonard Rossiter, whose character, Reggie, is also absent). The former I haven't seen since it was first shown in the 70s or 80s, the latter I have never seen. It would be great if the publisher (Second Sight Films Ltd) could put these on DVD to really complete the picture!
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Reggie Perrin is a middle-aged man ground down by the sheer boredom of his middle-management lifestyle. He is squeezed between his bullying boss (CJ) and young upstarts snapping at his heels. He is irritated by Elizabeth, his patronizing wife and lusts after his secretary, as a means of escape. For Reggie Perrin there is only one way out - his symbolic death and rebirth. However, he can't escape from his past even by assuming various other identities and so the cycle of death and rebirth repeats itself. It is also a satire on life in mid-70's Britain, where people talk in cliches and are duped into following the various trends.
While the show is dated in visual style (those ladies fashions!) and some episodes resort to classic English farce, the anguish and comedy in David Nobb's excellent writing is driven home by Rossiter's energetic (sometimes OTT) performance as Reggie. Rossiter has an able supporting cast including the excellent Geoffrey Palmer as Reggie's brother-in-law, who can't get his life to run properly either - especially on the catering front.
However, at the price, there should be some special features included in the package.
73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2009
Episode 5 of series 1 has been cut.
This is baffling. Two cuts of about fifteen seconds total. Two jokes cut short, two scenes ruined. Why? It's not as if they were even the slightly outdated jokes - just the one where Reggie says "shush" to an owl when he's trying to sleep in the van, then the one where CJ dismisses the "crank" note, before changing his mind and taking it more seriously.
It's like the bad old days of movies on TV, where stations cut for time. Only, it doesn't even make that amount of sense. This episode was complete and uncut on the old VHS release, so why isn't that the case here?
As far as the rest of the collection goes, it's good enough. The first series is quite possibly the single greatest - and most subversive - sitcom ever to be broadcast on BBC1. The second series drops the ball a little as far as focus, pacing and purpose go, but it's still better than pretty much any of its contemporaries.
The third... well, the third's very much of its time. The jokes still work, Rossiter's performance is still magnetic and winning, but the basic concept behind it has aged badly and is unlikely to have any real relevance to modern viewers' lives.
The 1990s', post-Rossiter series, The Legacy of Reginald Perrin, is awful, and the perfect demonstration of just how brilliant a performer the show's deceased star was: it's obvious from the first moments of the first episode of Legacy that Rossiter was previously the glue holding the entire thing together, his performance the one thing that lifted it above predictable, dull, cheap catchphrase comedy and made the show something special. Without his presence, it fails dismally.
The addition of the related Comedy Connections show and the Christmas sketch is welcome, but the BBC are missing the ball by failing to provide on their DVD releases the kind of extras that classic movie DVDs have enjoyed for some time, commentaries being the main one.
At the time of writing, this is listed at under £20. It's a bit of a bargain for that price and if you haven't seen the show before, I can't recommend it enough. However, the fact remains that the first series is the true classic here, and on this boxset, for whatever reason, it *isn't* truly complete.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2007
Absolutely brilliant. If you have never seen Leonard Rossiter perform on screen or in the theatre, you're missing the talent of a man who gave 100% to everything. This role as Reginald Perrin could only be played by one man who had the drive to play him as it was meant to be.
Great! Super! Yes - Leonard Rossitter you will be missed, but your performances will always be remembered. A wonderful English actor!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2010
Most of the reviews here concentrate on how funny this series was, and I certainly won't contradict anything they say. However, there is a serious side to the series too in how it looks at issues such as mental illness, middle-class alienation and male mid-life crisis. Mixing these issues with silliness and catchphrases should be difficult, but writer Nobbs and star Rossiter pulled it off. The ending of the last episode of the third series is horribly sad. I first saw the series as a teenager and have always looked on it as a cautionary tale - it's perhaps one reason why I live in Cornwall not south-east commuterland. I could in fact say "I didn't get where I am today by not seeing 'The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin' as a cautionary tale..."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2009
I grabbed this special edition as soon as I saw it - I have fond memories of the series when they were aired, and I still have all the books.
Leonard Rossiter is outstanding as the beleaguered Reggie: this has to be his best ever performance, and the one he should be remembered for. The strong supporting cast are a joy, but Leonard shines overall.
The Legacy of Reginald Perrin is worth a look, though I doubt I'd have bought it on its own - a Reggie Perrin series with no Reggie Perrin? It's a tad remeniscent [to me, anyway] of "Laughter in Paradise", and I expected the same sting in the tail - I'm not going to say if that happened or not, watch it yourself!
The bonus disc has the "Comedy Connection" of The Fall and Rise, and a very short Christmas special. I could have wished for more on Leonard - or, basically, anything on Leonard! - but there was no biography, which is a shame.
Nevertheless, if you remember Reggie, or if you don't but wonder why someone says "Super!" whenever someone else says "Great!" then you should buy this and find out.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2007
One of my all time favourite sitcoms. Brilliantly written with superb characters - the ego maniacal CJ (1,2,3,4,make them wait outside the door, 5,6,7,8 always pays to make them wait, 9,10,11,12 COME!), the incompetent Doc ('feeling a bit chesty Joan'?), the clueless brother in Law, Jimmy ('bit of a cock up on the catering front') Thirty years on it still makes me laugh. The disillusioned middle manager surrounded by a boss who didn't get where he is today without humiliating his subordinates, the 'great,super' young graduate recruits, the dysfunctional family and the mother in law who creates a recurring hippopotamus image at her mere mention. No wonder the faked suicide seemed like a good option. Rossiter is at his best as the much put upon, long suffering Reggie whose response to the banality of his everyday life is to engineer a dramatic escape. The second series with the growth of his Grot Shop concept and the employment of all the old favourites is a good development. The third series is less strong with the commune concept being perhaps a series too far.