Writer Simon Nye and Martin Clunes have teamed up again to present this remake of the much revered Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin starring Leonard Rossiter.
If you listen carefully you might just be able to hear him turning in his grave, assuming he wasn’t cremated of course. Who knows.
We actually really wanted to like this, the original writer David Nobbs was involved to co-write with Simon Nye, many of the original concepts remained including the theme tune, and they paid homage to the 1976 series by featuring Sunshine Desserts, Perrin’s place of work when Rossiter filled his shoes.
Maybe the problem is that light entertainment is difficult to enjoy per se, but any chance one might have had to enjoy a moment is ripped away by the laughter track. Here is a dramatised but not overly inaccurate reconstruction: “Hel-*titter*-lo dear, *chortle* I’m *snigger* home from *giggle* work *HA HA HA raucous laughter HA*.”
It would be unfair to say it is completely devoid of moments of adequacy though. His despair at his fellow commuters denying anyone else’s’ existence is commendable and would be worth a few extra minutes of screen time at least. Also the general isolation and alienation Reggie feels from his fellow man could be a great area for exploration, alas; they decided not to go down that road.
There are a couple of vaguely recognisable faces which might help numb the pain, most notably Fay Ripley from Cold Feet, Neil Stuke from Game On, and Jim Howick from some other things.
Removing the laughter track would improve Reggie Perrin by a factor of 40 at least, though with that removed it may be easier to spot the two dimensional characters and life sapping shallowness that is light entertainment TV.