Those words from The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin and, perhaps, the seven most recognizable associated with a British comedy in the late 70’s, other than “He’s from Barcelona” or “Don’t mention the war”, finally drove our favorite 9-5 commuter office worker to the brink daily when uttered by the tyrannical boss of Sunshine Desserts, C.J., who made David Brent look like Boss of the Year.
Leonard Rossiter, who brilliantly played Reginald Perrin, traveled the same train every morning, sat across from the same faces, walked down the same roads to the same corner to the same dreary office as millions of real-life workers in the late 70’s did making him a hero to many. Of course it didn’t hurt when Reggie faked his own suicide and opened up Grot, a hugely successful store that sold useless merchandise and inflated prices. Who couldn’t live without tins of melted snow, round dice or square footballs?
Originally, the Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin started out as a novel, written by David Nobbs under the title of The Death of Reginald Perrin. Originally pitched as a drama, the BBC wanted a sitcom and they wanted Leonard Rossiter, who was quite the success in Rising Damp on the competing ITV network. Needless to say, the series went on to be a big success for the BBC, in large part, due to the brilliant scripts by David Nobbs and the talents of Leonard Rossiter.
Interestingly, according to Nobbs, the series changed the face of British comedy from that point on in that it was the first “episodic” comedy whereby the storyline evolved from week to week to where viewers had to tune it each week to determine what happen. Most Britcoms at this time were self-contained scripts that resolved themselves each week.
North Texas programming alert: The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin returns to KERA Saturdays at 10:30pm beginning May 1, 2010.