Reggie Perrin Returns

I heard a while ago that there was going to be a remake of the classic 1970s sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, but I managed to put it out of my mind. But here it is, starring Martin Clunes in the role created by the late great Leonard Rossiter. The new version has been written by Simon Nye and the original writer David Nobbs, and even uses a new version of the original’s theme tune.

I’ve just watched the first episode, which was shown on Friday on BBC One. And well, it was sort of good in parts. There was a nice nod to the original when Reggie walked past Sunshine Deserts on his way to work, and things have been updated – the hideously tyrannical boss CJ has become the slimy “Chris”, the yes men are smaller and more inane, and Reggie’s wife has a job. And the object of Reggie’s affections isn’t his secretary, but a new employee…

The trains are still late, the excuses for the lateness are still absurd, and Reggie still daydreams. But somehow it didn’t really come together for me. Maybe it’s because I know the original so well that watching this was like hearing a slightly naff cover version of a favourite song. I’ll keep watching for now, but I can see myself giving up on it before long.

Whether it’s related to the new version or not, I don’t know, but there’s a new DVD set of the three series of the original coming out soon. Now that is worth watching.

If you’re going to watch one Reggie, watch the original.