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The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin: The Complete First Series [DVD]
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When Reginald Iolanthe Perrin (Leonard Rossiter) imagines his mother-in-law as a hippo one morning, his life is never quite the same again. Reggie begins a one-man campaign against his dull, routine commuter existence, embodied by his boss at Sunshine Desserts, CJ, yes-men colleagues Tony and David, incompetent medico Doc Morrissey and secretary Joan. Classic comedy replete with memorable catchphrases. 'I didn't get where I am today without knowing a classic comedy replete with catchphrases when I see one...'.
Boasting a virtuoso comic performance from Leonard Rossiter The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-79) remains one of the greatest of all television sitcoms. Writer David Nobbs combined the surrealist absurdity of Monty Python with an on-going story line that unfolded through each of the three seasons with a clear beginning, middle and end; a ground-breaking development in 70s TV comedy. The first and best season charts middle-aged, middle-management executive Reginald Perrin as he breaks-down under the stress of middle-class life until he informs the world that half the parking meters in London have Dutch Parking Meter Disease. He fakes suicide and returns to court his wife Elizabeth (Pauline Yates) in disguise, a plot development that formed the entire basis of Mrs Doubtfire (1993). Series Two is broader, the rapid-fire dialogue still razor sharp and loaded with caustic wit and ingenious silliness, as a now sane Reggie takes on the madness of the business world by opening a chain of shops selling rubbish. The third season, set in a health farm, is routine, the edge blunted by routine sitcom conventions. At its best The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin is hilarious and moving, its depiction of English middle-class life spot on, its satire prophetic. Reggie's visual fantasies hark back to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and Billy Liar (1963), and look forward to Ally McBeal (1997-2002) and are the icing on the cake of a fine, original and highly imaginative show.
On the DVD: Reginald Perrin's discs contain one complete seven episode season. There are no extras. The sound is good mono and the 4:3 picture is generally fine, though some of the exterior shot-on-film scenes have deteriorated and there are occasional signs of minor damage to the original video masters. Even so, for a 1970s sitcom shot on video the picture is excellent and far superior to the original broadcasts. --Gary S DalkinSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The late, great Leonard Rossiter stars as Reggie, a role a million miles away from his most famous character - Rising Damp's lecherous landlord Rigsby - but every bit as memorable. The rest of the characters are somewhat more caricatured, from domineering boss, sexy secretary and stammering, sycophantic colleague, through to understanding wife, hippie son-in-law and scrounging brother-in-law.Read more ›
Taking 1970s middle-England as its inspiration, the first series vividly depicts Reggie's frustration with the unfulfilling nature of middle-class working (and family) life. It then proceeds to trace his (ultimately futile) search for a more meaningful existence, as he fakes his own suicide in an attempt to gain a fresh start.
If you're thinking that the subject matter sounds mundane, then you'd be right. But therein lies the strength of the show. So many people, both then and now, can identify with Reggie's feeling of being trapped by the repetitiveness of his existence - travelling to the same old job, on the same old train, and coming home to the same old people with the same irritating quirks and habits. It's the sheer timelessness of the theme, revisited by the likes of Britpop-era Blur, that really gives the show a lasting appeal way beyond that of many of its contemporaries.
Yet, for a show that takes the everyday as its start point, the Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin is surprisingly innovative. Reggie's surrealist daydreams are particularly precious, giving us glimpses of what is actually going through his mind. Sometimes they are funny (the fantasies of his secretary), whilst sometimes they veer towards the tragic, but they never fail to be captivating. Indeed, even the traditional 'mother-in-law joke' is given a unique slant in this series, with the merest mention of her name prompting Reggie to visualise a hippo.Read more ›
Reginald Perrin is a middle-class 40ish business man working for a very average company. As the series starts we see his 'normal' working day; the walk to the station, the same people on the train every day, the irritating people at work. As for most of us his life runs like a clock... round and round. Then Reggie starts to change and his behaviour gets stranger and stranger as the series progresses.
Leonard Rossiter plays Perrin and was clearly born to play the role. This is a comic performance that matches anything else you can think of from the 1970's. The rest of the cast are good as well. Its all very very funny, with all the major characters having little catchphrases or quirks that make them memorable. This of course has become quite normal in comedy now (think of The Fast Show and Little Britain).
I started work a few years after this series was first shown and for while used to get the train like Reggie did. Whilst I never did any of the stranger things that occur in this series the thought did cross my mind a few times!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first saw this on the BBC as a 16 year old. An original post-Python series that hit the mark for those who love their comedy and social comment delivered by a superb cast and... Read morePublished on 20 July 2013 by Paul Casey
it was a good series at the time and is well worth having the dvd , very funny and i would recommend it.Published on 13 July 2013 by richard preston
Having watched the series of Reggie Perrin many years ago we were delighted to find that we could get the whole series on DVD and it has been a total joy to watch it again. Read morePublished on 3 Jun. 2009 by P. Wilby
Many sitcoms from the 1970s have aged very badly due to the fact that are no longer relevant to the modern audience. Nobody could make the same claim about Reginald Perrin. Read morePublished on 1 Dec. 2007 by Nick Hopkins
My review of this will be short and to the point. Nobbs is a beautiful writer, Rossiter was a comedic hreo, much missed, a 70s classic which, in most, hasn't aged....Great, super!Published on 5 May 2003 by carl iredale
Watching the DVD reissue of this series 25 years on, I was struck by how ahead of its time it must have been in the '70s. Read morePublished on 4 Dec. 2002 by Mr