Leonard Rossiter.com
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Three official web sites in one
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His Life & Career - Reginald Perrin - Rising Damp

Reggie Online: The Official Reginald Perrin web site

Biographies - Main Cast

Biographies, credits and appearances of all the main characters in the series
Note: All series had seven episodes, and "The Legacy..." is here referred to as Series Four.

ACTOR:
ROLE:
BASIC PROFILE:
Leonard Rossiter
Reginald Iolanthe Perrin
Bored, stressed, middle-aged sales
executive, sexually-frustrated, tired
and weary of the rat race.
Pauline Yates
Elizabeth Perrin
Reggie's wife
John Barron
C. J. (Charles Jefferson) / F. J.
Reggie's boss/employee
Sue Nicholls
Joan Greengross/Webster/Millbeck
Reggie's secretary
Geoffrey Palmer
Jimmy (Major James Anderson)
Reggie's brother-in-law
Sally-Jane Spencer
Linda Patterson/Perrin
Reggie's daughter
Tim Preece
Tom Patterson
Reggie's son-in-law (Ser. 1,2,4)
Leslie Schofield
Tom Patterson
Reggie's son-in-law (Ser.3)
John Horsley
Dr. Gerald 'Doc' Morrissey
Sunshine Desserts doctor
Trevor Adams
Tony Webster
Sunshine Desserts employee
Bruce Bould
David Harris-Jones
Sunshine Desserts employee

 
Actor:
LEONARD ROSSITER

Character: Reginald Perrin, including various pseudonyms while in disguise (e.g.. Donald Potts, Martin Wellbourne, Lord Amherst, Sir Wensley Amherst, and Signor Antonio Stifado, an Italian tourist). Bored, stressed, middle-aged sales executive, sexually-frustrated, tired and weary of the rat race. Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "Eleven minutes late..."

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 1 to 7; Series Two - Episodes 1 to 7; Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7; Christmas Special

Biography: Leonard Rossiter was born on October 21st, 1926 in Liverpool. Unable to afford to go to university, he worked in an insurance office until he was 27, when he joined Preston repertory company and made his professional stage debut in The Gay Dog. After Preston, he starred in productions at Wolverhampton, Salisbury and The Old Vic Company at Bristol's Theatre Royal. In 1962 he made his first big-screen appearance in A Kind of Loving, followed by other films throughout the 1960s, including Billy Liar and TV appearances such as Z Cars, The Avengers and Steptoe and Son. His portrayal of Adolf Hitler in the 1969 play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui made him a West End star. His roles as Rigsby in Rising Damp and the title role in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin made him a household name, and his Cinzano commercials with Joan Collins were comic masterpieces. A keen sportsman, he excelled in squash, tennis and football. He was also a connoisseur of fine wines. His busy career came to a tragically premature end on October 5th 1984, just sixteen days short of his 58th birthday. During a performance of Joe Orton's play Loot, Leonard suffered a heart attack in his dressing room. He was married to actress Gillian Raine and had a daughter, Camilla. Visit sister web site Leonard Rossiter.com for much more information. Notable Credits:Theatre: Semi-Detached (Fred Midway), The Banana Box (Rupert Rigsby), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Arturo Ui), The Immortal Haydon (Haydon), The Strange Case of Martin Richter (Martin Richter), The Rules of the Game (Leone Gala). TV: Rising Damp (Rupert Rigsby), BBC3, I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds (Leonard), The Losers (Sydney Foskett), Z Cars (Det. Insp. Bamber), Tripper's Day (Norman Tripper), Play For Today, Pygmalion Smith (Smithy). Film: A Kind Of Loving (Whymper), Billy Liar (Mr. Shadrack), This Sporting Life (Phillips), Oliver! (Mr. Sowerberry), King Rat (Col. McCoy), 2001:A Space Odyssey (Andre Smyslov), Water (Sir Malcolm Leveridge), Barry Lyndon (Capt. Quin), Le Petomane (Monsieur Pujol).

Remembering Reggie: "He lived the life that a lot of commuter office workers would have liked to have lived."

Links: IMDB - Leonard Rossiter: His Life and Career - TV Comedy Index



 
Actor:
PAULINE YATES

Character: Elizabeth Perrin, Reggie's ever-faithful, if increasingly worried, wife. Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "Oh, Reggie!"

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 1 to 7; Series Two - Episodes 1 to 7; Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7; Christmas Special; The Legacy of Reginald Perrin - Episodes 1 to 7.

Biography: Born in St. Helens, Merseyside, Pauline Yates knew she wanted to be an actress from an early age. After leaving school, she went straight into Oldham Rep., making her stage debut aged 17 as Grace Poole in Jane Eyre  In the late 1960s she landed her first TV role and was starting to become a familiar face on programmes such as Crown Court and Armchair Theatre. She is married to actor/writer Donald Churchill with two daughters, Jemma and Polly.

Notable Credits: Play For Today, Armchair Theatre, Crown Court, Keep It In The Family (Muriel Rush), Bachelor Father (Mrs. Moore), My Honorable Mrs. (Jane Prendergast), Rumpole of the Bailey, commercial for Abbey National. Film: She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas.

Remembering Reggie: "Reggie Perrin seemed to hit a chord with so many people - particularly older men who, perhaps, saw Reggie's situation as very close to their own. I'm pleased to be associated with it and it's one of my career highlights."

Links:  IMDB - Keep It In The Family



 
Actor:
JOHN BARRON

Character: Charles Jefferson (C.J.), F.J. Reggie's boss/employee. A tyrannical ruler of his desserts empire. Does not suffer fools gladly, if at all. Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "I didn't get where I am today...", mixed proverbs.

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 1, 2 and 4 to 7; Series Two - Episode 1 to 7; Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7; Christmas Special; The Legacy of Reginald Perrin - Episodes 1 to 7.

Biography: John Barron was born on Christmas Eve, 1920. A kind godfather paid his training fees at RADA in 1938. During the war, he served in the Navy, then returned to acting after demob, mostly in rep. productions. He soon became a theatre director, and directed Leonard Rossiter in numerous productions throughout the 1950s. His first regular TV role was in Emergency Ward 10, which was quickly followed by many sitcoms, listed below. Since recording the third series, John has lost two wives: Joan Peart (who played Mrs. E. Blythe-Erpingham in Series Three, Episode Five) died in 1989, after 40 years marriage. His second wife, actress Helen Christie, died in 1995. John died on 3rd July 2004.

Notable Credits: Emergency Ward 10 (Harold De La Roux), Doomwatch (The Minister), Potter (The Vicar), All Gas and Gaiters (The Dean), Dial Rix (Sir William Pardon), To The Manor Born, Whoops Apocalypse (The Deacon), Glencannon (John Cannon), No Place Like Home, Shelley, Don't Wait Up. Film: The Day The Earth Caught Fire (Sub-Editor), The Great Question (Iraqi propaganda film - see link below).

Remembering Reggie: "I came into it because I was up in Granada-land, working for Granada Television doing ‘Crown Court’…suddenly a parcel arrived from the BBC…it was a hardback novel of "...Reginald Perrin". John Howard–Davies [the producer of the pilot episode] had attached a note saying “Read this. Would you like to play ‘C.J.’?” So I started to read it, and it got better…and better…and better…and better. And I closed the last page and reached for the phone almost before I’d put the book down, and said ‘YES!’"
"I like to think I helped [Leonard] through the early days of his career. People used to ask me how it was we worked so well together - what they didn't know was that we'd known each other for twenty years before "...Perrin"."
"Middle-aged parents kept coming up to me saying: "You ruined my life because my child wouldn't stop saying 'I didn't get where I am today without...'"
"I think my affection for C J was for a rather cruel reason: he was the most intolerant man I'd ever met!"
"Playing CJ has been the highlight of my television career."

Links:  IMDB - Article on Iraqi film - Obituary



 
Actor:
SUE NICHOLLS

Character: Joan Greengross/Webster/Millbeck, Reggie's secretary. Secretly in love with Reggie, and respects him greatly. Read Character Study

Appearances: Series One - Episode 1 to 5, and 7; Series Two - Episodes 1 to 7; Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7; Christmas Special; The Legacy of Reginald Perrin - Episodes 1, 3, 5 and 7.

Biography: The daughter of former Conservative MP the late Lord Harmar-Nicholls, The Honourable Susan Frances Harmar Nicholls was born in Walsall, West Midlands on November 23rd, 1943. She trained at RADA for two years before becoming assistant stage manager at a repertory company. In 1964 she landed her first big TV role as Marilyn Gates in the soap Crossroads. In 1968 Sue released a record called Where Will you Be? which peaked at a satisfying no.17 in the UK charts. She now plays the major character of Audrey Roberts in Coronation Street.

Notable Credits: Dixon of Dock Green, The Professionals, Not On Your Nellie (Big Brenda), Rentaghost (Mrs. Nadia Popov), Up The Elephant and Round The Castle (Wanda Pickles), Pipkins (Mrs. Muddle), Crossroads (Marilyn Gates), Coronation Street (Audrey Roberts).

Remembering Reggie: "I can see that first show even now. I was thrown in at the deep end because it was a case of being ravished on an office desk in the middle of a field, and running slowly towards Len with my hair down – and I’d met him only about forty minutes before that!"
"I loved the fact that she didn’t notice that he came in and did silly things, missed the umbrella stand, and so on. She just picked up his umbrella – it was all par for the course. And she loved him."
"Leonard’s comedy made me laugh. He is the master of delayed reaction – I don’t know anybody better."
"I loved working with Len. I admired him and learned a lot from him...His timing and delayed timing were superb...Often when we were filming a scene which didn't include me, I had to leave the set because I couldn't stop laughing!"

Links: IMDB - Coronation Street - Corrie Visual UpdatesOfficial Pipkins Pages

Actor:
GEOFFREY PALMER

Character: Jimmy (Major James Gordonstoun Anderson), Reggie's bungling, military-speakng, accident-prone brother-in-law. Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "Bit of a cock-up on the ... front."

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 2, 3 and 7; Series Two - Episodes 1, 3, 6 and 7; Series Three - Episodes 2 to 7; Christmas Special; The Legacy of Reginald Perrin - Episodes 1 to 7.

Biography: Born in London on June 4th, 1927, Geoffrey Palmer worked in an imports office and then as an accountant before his girlfriend persuaded him to join the local amateur dramatics society. Eventually he became assistant stage manager at Croydon's Grand Theatre, and then spent several years touring with rep. His first roles on TV came in comedy series such as those of Harry Worth and Arthur Askey. He is now a familiar face on British television. He is married to Sally, with one son Tom and one daughter Harriet.

Notable Credits: Butterflies (Ben Parkinson), Bulldog Breed (Mr. Meadows), Executive Stress (Donald Fairchild), Hot Metal (Harry Stringer), The Last Song (Leo Bannister), Whoops Apocalypse (Foreign Secretary), Fawlty Towers (Dr. Price), Fairly Secret Army (Harry Truscott), As Time Goes By (Lionel Hardcastle).

Remembering Reggie: "It was a great pleasure to be in Reggie Perrin. You had one enormous central character surrounded by a group of wonderful, diverse supporting characters and it worked very well...It was one of the happiest projects I've worked on...you always hoped that you'd get the added bonus of the programme being a quality product and enjoyable - and I got that with Reggie."

Links:  IMDB  - TV Comedy Index



 
Actor:
SALLY-JANE SPENCER

Character: Linda Patterson / Perrin, Reggie's buxom, beautiful daughter. Married to "that dreadful arse" Tom. Read Character Study

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 2, 6 and 7; Series Two - Episodes 1 to 4, 6 and 7; Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7; The Legacy of Reginald Perrin - Episodes 1 to 7.

Biography: Sally-Jane was born in Buckinghamshire. After training at drama school she took the unusual step of making her debut performance on the West End stage in ‘The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie’. She then continued in theatre roles, including four seasons at Chichester Theatre, before leaving the industry to raise a family. She has a son and a daughter.

Notable Credits: Theatre: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; TV: The Newcomers

Remembering Reggie: "The three years spent working on the original three series turned out to be the happiest of my career - we had lots of fun, lots of laughs and everyone was delightful to work with."

Links:  IMDB



 
Actor:
TIM PREECE

Character: Tom Patterson, Reggie's son-in-law, brewer of less-than-fine home-made wines. Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "I'm a ... person."

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 2, 3 and 7; Series Two - Episodes 1 to 4, 6 and 7; The Legacy of Reginald Perrin - Episodes 1 to 7.

Biography: Tim Preece was born in Shropshire, and started acting while at school. He entered theatre professionally playing Whitby, Bristol, Salisbury and Farnham repertory theatres, before bit-parts in comedy shows. He is also a playwright with two plays to his credit.

Notable Credits: Waiting For God (Rev. Dennis Sparrow), Just William, The Bagthorpe Saga (Uncle Parker), Making Faces (Stuart), Pull The Other One (Terry), Porterhouse Blue (Dr. Messmer), Landshapes (documentary, presenter), Dulux paint commercial.

Remembering Reggie: "On the first day, down in Dorset, we filmed what became a fairly famous scene in the safari park. I remember filming this thing – in the heat on the first day. None of us thought “…Perrin” would do anything, really. It was just another job. And it felt awful, with us couped up in the car with two kiddies in the back feeling sick, and Leonard doing his thing. And yet it turned into one of the funniest scenes in “…Perrin”."
"It'll take a lot to beat Reggie because it was just a joy to do. In my opinion the second series improved on what was already a brilliant first series...[all series] have been repeated so regularly it's become famous."

Links:  IMDB



 
Actor:
LESLIE SCHOFIELD

Character: Tom Patterson (in Series Three only). Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "I'm a ... person."

Appearances: Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7

Biography: Leslie Schofield was born in Oldham, Lancashire. After his parents divorced, he became a wayward, rebellious teenager. Deciding he should instill himself with some discipline, he joined a naval training ship for two years. His first taste of acting came during ten years subsequent service in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. He continued acting in civvy street, including a year at Eastbourne. Until summer 2000, he played Jeff Healy, a central character in the BBC soap Eastenders.

Notable Credits: The Gentle Touch, Spoils Of War, Johnny Briggs, Tricky Business (Derek Yates), Rentaghost, Eastenders (Jeff Healy).

Remembering Reggie: "I was very worried. Taking over a character who's already been created is much more difficult than creating something from new, even if you have plenty of material to work with. The cast members made me welcome from the start, especially Sue Nicholls, who I'd worked with previously in Rentaghost. "Reggie..." was a very funny series and stupendously written, there's nothing around to touch it as far as I'm concerned. Although many of the characters in Reggie Perrin were odd, you could at least say: "I've met nutters like that!""

Links: IMDB



 
Actor:
JOHN HORSLEY

Character: Gerald 'Doc' Morrissey, "the wizard of the medicine chest". In reality, a complete idiot, struck off in Series Three for "gross professional incompetence". Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "Take two aspirins."

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 1,2,4 and 5; Series Two - Episodes 1, 6 and 7; Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7; Christmas Special; The Legacy of Reginald Perrin - Episode 1 to 7.

Biography: John was born in Westcliff-On-Sea, Essex in 1920, the son of a doctor (!). He made his acting debut at the Theatre Royal, Bournemouth. After spending a year in various reps. including Hastings, Watford and Eastbourne, he was conscripted into the Devon Yeomanry during the war and served in Italy and Sicily, but contracted hepatitis. He then became a member of the Army Bureau For Current Affairs - Play Unit, touring England, France and Germany. He then spent many years in theatre, before branching out into films and starring alongside David Niven and John Mills. He has also appeared in many TV roles. John died on January 12th 2014, aged 93.

Notable Credits:Films: Ben Hur, Sink The Bismarck! (Capt. Sheffield), and Dunkirk (Padre). TV: Dempsey & Makepeace (Judge Hackett), Z Cars, Don't Rock The Boat (Wally), Hot Metal (Fr. Teasdale), Leave It To Charlie (Mr. Ffolliott), My Husband And I (Mr. Mundy), Oh Happy Band! (Mr. Braithwaite), Softly, Softly and You Rang M’Lord (Sir Ralph Shawcross).

Remembering Reggie: "[On recording "The Legacy Of..."] From day one everything slotted into place, so much so that it was hard to believe we hadn't worked together as a group for nearly twenty years."

Links:  IMDB



 
Actor:
TREVOR ADAMS

Character: Tony Webster, one of C.J.'s "yes" men. A wide-boy, full of himself, fancies himself as a God with the ladies. Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "Great!" "Knockout!" "... City, Arizona!"

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 1,2, and 4 to 7; Series Two - Episodes 1 to 7; Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7; Christmas Special

Biography: Trevor trained with RADA and was a member of the National Youth Theatre. He spent a year at Stratford-Upon-Avon before turning to television, where he was often cast as a criminal. In 1982 he quit acting for a career in law, which lasted twelve years. Trevor died on December 15th, 2000.

Notable Credits: Fawlty Towers (Alan), Dixon Of Dock Green, The Professionals (Benny), What Are You Doing After The Show?.

Remembering Reggie: "It was a great cast and an excellent script...every character, however minor, had much to offer. Everyone had a purpose, even if it was only working as a foil for Leonard, sparking off a different reaction from him."
"I never thought I'd become involved with a series that used catchphrases, but then Reggie Perrin came along!"

Links:  IMDB - Fawlty Towers - The Professionals



 
Actor:
BRUCE BOULD

Character: David Harris-Jones. C.J.'s other "yes" man. Unbearably shy and lacking in confidence, but manages to get married and raise a family in Series Three and Four. Read Character Study

Catchphrases: "Super!"

Appearances: Series One - Episodes 1,2 and 4 to 7; Series Two - Episodes 1 to 7; Series Three - Episodes 1 to 7; Christmas Special; The Legacy of Reginald Perrin - Episodes 1 to 7.

Biography: Born in Bradford to actor parents, Bruce began his own acting career aged seventeen at the Birmingham Repertory, before joining RADA. In 1972 he met and married Theresa Watson who plays David's wife Prue in Series Three and Four. After many bit-parts on TV, including Z Cars, he returned to the stage in two plays Clever Soldiers, and A Family And A Fortune, with Alec Guinness.

Notable Credits: The Good Life (Guy), To The Manor Born, Shelley, Drop The Dead Donkey (Simpson), Howard's Way.

Remembering Reggie: "The first series was pretty terrible to do. It was full of technical things which the BBC wasn’t terribly good at at that time. There was all that thing with the hippopotamus. Len had to think, and as he thought, the hippopotamus had to come into his head. Len knew what his timing was, but the vision mixer had no idea what was going on. Len would think, and then – eventually – the hippopotamus would appear, and Len would blow up. We’d rehearse and rehearse and rehearse until they got it right. And it was the same with the farting armchairs – a sort of delayed raspberry. All that was done live in the studio."
"David Harris-Jones has always been marvellous to play. He's a sympathetic character but infuriating, which is nice. I like playing comedy. I found for a while after Reggie I ws constantly being asked to play berks, which I hated in some ways. I always made sure I played the other roles differently from the way I played David because to me he wasn't a berk."

Links:  IMDB

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