The Legacy Of Reginald Perrin (BBC1, 1996)
I have decided to review this one as it does have a rather curious idea for a sitcom. In the early-90s, BBC1 repeated some classic sitcoms, including The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin, and this is when I saw this one for the first time. By the mid-90s, it was decided to revive a few sitcoms from this era, including The Liver Birds, along with this one too. But there was one big problem with doing this of course.
Leonard Rossiter, who played the lead role, had long gone, so it was wondered how they would get around this. It was decided to kill off Reggie in this series too, although the majority of the original cast members did return. But as it always seems to be in sitcoms, it is rather strange to think that all of these people would know each other all these years on, and still talk the same, as if they’d been switched on for the first time since 1979.
The idea of The Legacy Of Reginald Perrin was that Reggie (as they knew him) has left £1m in his will, but his family and friends will only receive this money if they do something rather absurd. And cue the catchphrases, but apparently that this was amusing enough. I didn’t get where I am today by having a cup of tea! “I remember when he used to say that on TV 20 years ago, how amusing”, the viewers probably didn’t think.
After they try out a few things individually, they decide that it would be a better idea to unite, and they form an organisation that plans to march on parliament to try and make a difference for the elderly. By the end of the series though, it is determined they weren’t absurd enough, so nobody gets any money, making the seven episodes something of a waste of time (this is how some critics felt about this show too).
However, anything that features Geoffrey Palmer doing his thing can’t be all bad, and there was a guest appearance in an episode from Otis The Aardvark, so maybe this was all worthwhile. This was always going to come off second-best to what is considered to be one of the best sitcoms of its era. You could say that it was a bit of a cock-up on the comedy front, oh no, I’m at it now.
This still wasn’t the end though, as another decade on from this, it was decided to do a remake, now with Martin Clunes in the lead role, as it was argued by writer David Nobbs that the struggles that Reggie faced in the original version were still relevant in the present day, but again, it was determined by viewers that it had all been done before, and done much better.