I didn’t get where I am today by remaking classic 70s sitcoms

Posted by Dom

Aaaargh! I read with horror yesterday in the Guardian that Martin Clunes is being lined up to play Reggie Perrin in a new remake of the classic 70s sitcom, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

 

Now I have nothing against Mr Clunes, who has been in some of the most successful and watchable comedies and comedy-dramas over the last decade. No, I just don’t understand how anyone, anyone could think that Leonard Rossiter’s memorable performance as the man on the verge of a nervous breakdown could possibly be bettered.

I have the DVD boxset of the 70s show, and standing out amongst David Nobbs’ brilliant writing, the watchable ensemble cast, the incessant catchphrases and the sly social commentary, is an absolutely titanic performance from Rossiter. He makes the show his own, and turns what could have been merely a so-so sitcom into something truly epic.

I have no doubt Clunes will battle manfully and skillfully to try and make the role his own, but it’s just such a pointless task. Surely all that most people will notice, like they did in the AWFUL updating of the show in 1996 (The Legacy of Reginald Perrin), is that Rossiter isn’t there.

This is one sitcom that should be laid to rest, with memories unsullied. If the state of our comedy industry is so bad that we have to desperately turn to remaking classic shows that are nigh-on impossible to better, things are looking very depressing indeed.

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