The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976–1979): Season 1, Episode 1 - Hippopotamus - full transcript

Reginald Iolanthe Perrin is a 46-year old sales executive for Sunshine Desserts,run by the hearty but hectoring boss C.J. Reggie is clearly suffering a mid-life crisis. Though not unhappily married to Elizabeth,he calls her mother a hippopotamus and is finding no enthusiasm for marketing C.J.'s latest line - exotic ices. He wants something better for his life,but is not sure what.

- Letter from mother.
- Oh, yes?

She wants to know if we're going over
to see her on Sunday.


Well, I'll be off.
Time and motion wait for no man.

- There you are. Umbrella.
- Thank you, darling.

- Briefcase.
- Thank you, darling.

- Back at the usual time?
- Of course.

Oh, wait. There's a piece
of white cotton on your coat.

Oh, narrow escape. London Businessman
Saved From White Cotton Terror.

- Well, have a good day at the office.
- I won't.

Damn, wanted to have a look
at the roses on Sunday,

now I've got to go over
and see the hippopotamus.


No, not a hippopotamus, is it?
Only Elizabeth's mother.

Blasted hay fever.

Have you got a tissue, Reggie?
Ursula's forgotten mine.

I'm sorry, Peter, I haven't.

But you can use
my Venezuelan trade supplement.


Oh? And I'm stuck,
top left-hand corner.

I don't know any Bolivian poets.

- Morning, Joan.
- Morning, Mr Perrin.

Eleven minutes late.
Staff difficulties at Hampton Wick.

Leslie Woodcock from
the Trifle department phoned,

he wants to talk to you
about the farewell present

for Doris Coldblow from Crumbles.

- How long has she been here?
- Three years and she's a bitch.

Oh, we send 10p.

All right, let's start
last night's letter, shall we?

To Jeff Maynard, Randall's Farm,
Nether Somerby.

Thank you for your letter of the 17th.

I'm sorry
you're finding it inconvenient

to change over to the Metzinger scale.

Let me assure you
that many of our suppliers

are already finding the new scale
as the most realistic method

of graining plums and greengages.
And with the coming of metrication...

...I feel confident that the...

No, the advent, yes, advent
of metrication, I feel confident

that the bloody phone will ring all day.

Hello? Oh, I'll see if he's in.

- Are you in? It's CJ.
- Yes, yes, I'm in.

Yes, he's in.

Hello, CJ. Yes, CJ, yes. Certainly, CJ.

At any time this morning
would suit me best.

Certainly, CJ.

Seeing CJ 4:00 this afternoon.

Send them in, Marion.

Sit down, gentlemen.

Sorry, I think it's the chairs, CJ.

Most embarrassing.
I must complain to the makers.

Well, gentlemen.

It's all stations go
on this exotic ices project.

The Pigeon woman has put in
a pretty favourable report.

I didn't get where I am today

without knowing a favourable report
when I read one.

- Great!
- Super.

So the next thing to do is to make
a final decision about our flavours.

Yes, well, we're having a tasting
in my office tomorrow, CJ.

Joan is laying it all on.

- You've got a good woman there.
- Yes.

- I... I-I-I...
- What?

Nothing, CJ.

Ice creams based on exotic fruits.

This one's gonna be a real winner.
I didn't get where I am today

without knowing a real winner
when I see one.

- Great!
- Super.

That's about it, then.
Would you stay behind a minute, Reggie?

- Cigar?
- Oh, thank you, CJ.

Young Tony is a good lad.

- Yes, CJ.
- I'm grooming him.

Yes, CJ.

This exotic ices project. Very exciting.

Yes, CJ.

Do you mind if I ask you
a personal question?

Depends on the question.

This one's very personal indeed.

Are you losing your drive?

No, CJ, I'm not losing my drive.

I'm glad to hear it.
We're not one of those dreadful firms

that thinks a chap's no good
after he's 46. Goodbye, Reggie.

Goodbye, CJ.

Ah. Eleven minutes late.
Signal failure at Vauxhall.

Thank you, darling.

- Had a good day at the office?
- No.

- What's for supper?
- Liver and bacon.


Oh, Mother rang, she wants to know if
we're going over to see her on Sunday.


Are you listening, Reggie?

Yes, yes. Yes, of course
I'm listening. What?

I said, do you mind if we go over
and see Mother on Sunday?

Sorry, what?

I said, do you mind if we go over
and see Mother on Sunday?

- Yes, that's what I thought you said.
- Well?

- Well, what?
- Well, do you mind?

No, of course not.

We'll go and see the hippo
the first thing Sunday.

Go and see your mother.

Better be off.
Time and motion wait for no man.

- There you are. Umbrella.
- Thank you, darling.

- Briefcase.
- Thank you, darling.

- Back at the usual time?
- Of course.

- Wait, your zip's undone.
- Oh.

Oh, uh...

Quick-thinking Housewife Saves
Dormitory Town From Zip Horror.

You wouldn't want Mrs Milford
to see you with your zip undone.

No, no. I suppose not.

Goodbye, darling.

- Have a good day at the office.
- I won't.

Oh, God.

I don't suppose there's
a Venezuelan trade supplement today?

You can borrow my hanky,
if you don't mind one with RIP on it.


Oh? Well, I'm stuck
bottom right-hand corner.

I don't know any traditional headgear
worn by midwives on Baffin Island.

- Morning, Joan.
- Morning, Mr Perrin.

Eleven minutes late.
Staff shortages at Nine Elms.

Right. Let's get on
with last night's letter, shall we?

To LD...

To L... LD...

LD... Nice...

Nice dress, Joan. Is it new?

I've had it three years.

Right. I'm ready.

I said, I'm ready.

Ready for what?

- Well, the letters, of course.
- Oh, yes, yes, of course.

Yes. To...


To LD Mayhew, Mile End Farm,
Bumstead St Peter.

Thank you for your...

For your letter of the 18th,
but I'm sorry, we will not

be able to renew the contract
for your rhubarb.

Under the new Common Market agreement,

we have undertaken to buy Euro-rhubarb
from France

in exchange for Euro-plums,
which the French re-export to Italy

in exchange for Dutch greengages
from Austria.

In the circumstance...

Would you get me Doc Morrissey,
Extension 242?

- Oh, are you ill?
- I don't know.

Not that Doc Morrissey will help.
All he ever does

is to tell you he's got it worse
and gives you two aspirins.

I don't know, he was very thorough
with me that time I was chesty.

Hello, Mr Perrin for you.

Hello, Doc? Yes, Reggie Perrin, yes.
I'm coming down to see you.

This morning would be best for me.


Seeing Doc Morrissey, 2:30.

- Come in. Ah, Reggie.
- Hi, Doc.

That secretary of yours
got any more chest trouble?

- No.
- Ah, pity.

No, it's about me, actually.

You could always open the window
so she sits in a draft.

I've... Yes, yes.

No, I've been feeling rather odd, Doc.
You know, legs feel heavy,

I keep shivering.
I don't exactly feel ill.

- Do you find you can't concentrate?
- Sorry, what?

You can't concentrate?

- You having headaches at all?
- Yes, yes, been having...

Oh, don't take the thermometer
out of your mouth.

- Are you sleeping well?
- No...

Don't talk with the thermometer
in your mouth.

- Don't take it out the thermometer.
- I'm sorry.

How's that boy of yours?
How's his acting coming along?

Oh, he should stick to the amateur stuff
like his father.

Yours was the finest Othello
I've ever seen.

Definitive. Albert Finney
couldn't have done better.

The best Othello the Sunshine Desserts
Strollers ever had.

Pity Edna Meddes from Despatch made
such an adenoidal Desdemona.

What's your boy's name again?

Oh, it's...


Oh, Mark. That's right. Yes, of course.

How's your girl? What's her name?

Linda, isn't it? How is she?

- Oh, pregnant again?
- No, no.

Oh, running to fat? Yes, that's okay.

Are your bowel movements up to scratch?

Wetting the bed?

Oh, you go first thing in the morning.
Ah, yes, of course, that's right, yes.

Where are we going for our holidays
this year?

- Elephant hunting?
- No, Wales.

Could you just stand up
and open your shirt?


- Okay.
- Good.


That's it.

Had any dreams about naked sportswomen?

Yes, as a matter of fact I have.
But how on earth did you know it?

Only last night I dreamt I was watching
the Wightman Cup at Wimbledon, yes.

Everyone was stark naked.
Even the line judges.

Who won?

To be honest,
I didn't much bother with the scores.

I think it was the ones
with the very big...first serves.

I say, your ticker's racing
like the clappers.

It's not surprising, really.

Do you find you can't
finish the crossword like you used to?

Nasty taste in the mouth
in the mornings?

Can't stop thinking about sex?

Can't start doing anything about sex?
Wake up with a sweat in the mornings?

Keep falling asleep during
Play For Today?

Extraordinary, Doc.
It's exactly how I've been feeling.

So do I. I wonder what it is?

Here you are, two aspirin.

This mulberry and quince is super.

Write it all down.

This lime is bleeding diabolical.

Write it all down.

Yes, well, if you've all finished,
ladies and gentlemen,

Tony here will collect your cards
and we'll have the...

the verdict from the computer

before you can say
"prune and pumpkin Neapolitan".

It's almost as exciting
as the Eurovision Song Contest.

Yes, CJ?

You have left undone those things
that ought to have been done up.


- That's a nice dress, Joan. Is it new?
- You asked me that this morning.

Oh, yes.

Ah, well, ladies and gentlemen.
Ladies. Please. Ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you all for your efforts.
You have been helping to launch

a new sales campaign that can lift
Sunshine Desserts

- out of the bad times...
- What bad times?

Sorry CJ, slip of the tongue.

Uh, a sales campaign
that can help to lift Sunshine Desserts

out of the marvellous times
we've been having

into the even more
marvellous times to come.

- You feeling all right?
- Uh, just wonderful, CJ. I'm feeling...

I'm just not awfully keen on ice cream.


Yes, well, I've got the results
from the computer.

What? Two minutes! What about that, eh?

The Mira...

The miracles of modern technology.
Thank you, Tony, well...

We begin our sales campaign,

and the three most popular flavours
we'll start with

are Bookends, Pumice Stone
and West Germany.

- What?
- There's been an electrical fault.

- Oh, you amaze me.
- This is no good, Perrin.

I didn't get where I am today
selling ice creams tasting of bookends,

- pumice stone and West Germany.
- Of course you didn't, CJ.

What can I do? There's obviously been...
Excuse me, CJ.

Ah. Eleven minutes late.

Derailment of container truck,
Raynes Park. Thank you, darling.

- Had a good day at the office?
- No. What's for supper?

- Lamb cutlets.
- Ah.

Oh, by the way, are we going to go over
and see the hippopotamus on Sunday?

- What?
- I said, are we going to, uh,

go over and see the hippopotamus on...
Your mother.

What do you mean?

I thought I'd call her a hippopotamus
for a change.

That's a horrid thing to say.


Pretty horrid having a mother-in-law
who looks like a hippopotamus.

You'll miss the train.


You'll be late.


Well, let's see what the day
brings forth.

And not think of it any more.

- There you are. Umbrella.
- Thank you, darling.

- Briefcase.
- Thank you, darling.

Wait! There's a piece of yellow fluff
on your seat.

Oh, my God! It's lucky you noticed that.

I can see the headlines now,
New Scandal Rocks Jittery City.

Food Firm Executive Found
With Yellow Fluff On Backside.

Don't Panic, Urges Chancellor.

There's no need to be
so sarcastic about it.

Well, what does it matter, darling?
What does any of it matter?

I mean, why shouldn't I go to work
on roller skates

wearing a balaclava helmet,

a kilt and a pair of long johns,
if it comes to it?

- Reggie? Are you feeling all right?
- Never felt righter!

Well, have a good day at the office.

You know, I just very well might.

Pompous fool.

With horrible blackheads
all over his nose.

Does he really think
I'm doing the crossword properly?

Why should I, anyway?

From now on, I'm going to do
everything differently. I'll show them.

Rather easy today, hey?

Can't think what's kept him.

He's never more than 11 minutes late.

Morning, Joan. Ah.

I, uh...

I caught a later train
because the sun was shining.

It was 11 minutes late.

Seasonal manpower shortages,
Clapham Junction.

- I'll leave you all to it.
- Right, Joan, thank you.

What's this, fashion show?

- I'm Morris Coates, Crumley Advertising.
- Reginald Perrin. Where's David?

Oh, he's ill in bed with stomach
trouble from eating 36 ice creams.

Good. Now, this morning's meeting is,
as you know,

a meeting to discuss
the advertising and sales campaign

to promote our new exotic ices.

All of us, we had a tasting yesterday
and the computer, in its wisdom,

decided that the three
most popular flavours

were Bookends, Pumice Stone
and West Germany.

Yes, I heard.

Well, the correct result achieved
without the aid of the computer

was Mango Delight, Fig Surprise
and Strawberry and Lychee Ripple.


There will be two new sales areas.

David will be in charge of Hertfordshire

and Tony here will be in control
of East Lancashire.

- Great!
- Now...

Would you be kind enough to give us
your market report, Miss Pigeon?

Yes. 71% of housewives in
East Lancashire and 81% in Hertfordshire

expressed interest in the concept
of exotic ice cream.

Only 8% in Hertfordshire
and 14% in Lancashire

expressed positive hostility,
whilst 5% expressed latent hostility.

In Hertfordshire,
96% of the 50% who formed 20%

of consumer spending are in favour.

0.6% told us where we could put
our exotic ice cream.

I'm sorry, I missed that.
I was looking at the dust

in the rays of the sun. See?
Rather pretty.

Well, I don't know what kind of campaign
you wanted, of course,

but I was just thinking,
off the top of the head,

beautiful girl, yoga position,

which, let's face it,
can be a very sexy position.

Something like, off the top of the head,

"I find it much easier to meditate
with a Fig Surprise ice cream.

"One of the new range
of exotic ices from Sunshine."


Well, I'm just exploring angles.
I mean, we'll have a whole team on this.

I'm just sounding things out.
What about sex?

- It's great fun.
- No, I mean...

what sort of a sex angle
are we going for?

I don't know. How about something like,
just off the top of my head, of course,

"I like to stroke my nipple
with Strawberry and Lychee Ripple"?

All right. Fair enough.
Sex is a bum steer.

is the concept of a ripple,

in the ice cream sense of the word,
fully understood by the public?

Is it?

In the Forest of Dean in 1967,
97.3% of housewives

understood the concept of a ripple,
in the ice cream sense of the word.

I can't be bothered with all this,
life's too short.

We'll be in touch, then?

Yes. Well, goodbye.

This is a major breakthrough
in the field of quality desserts.

- Good.
- Oh.

I must say how much I admired
the way you handled Morris

and his third-rate ideas.


- See you in the pub for lunch as usual?
- Pub? Thursday? Cottage pie and beans?

Elbow jogged by that electronics crowd?
Warm beer all down my crotch?

No, Tony, no.

You will not see me in the pub
for lunch as usual.

I am fed up with lunch in the pub
as usual.

I shall dine today
very much not as usual.

- Finish your ravioli, signore?
- Yes, it was very good, thank you.

- Ravioli, signore.
- Thank you.

- Is right, signore?
- Yes, that's right, ravioli, yes.

Yes, I ordered ravioli,
followed by ravioli.

- Okay.
- I like ravioli.

- Any sweet, signore?
- Yes, thank you.

Yes, ravioli.

More ravioli, signore?

Yes, it's very good, quite superb.

But ravioli is not a sweet, signore.
Try zabaglione, is a sweet.

Look, I want ravioli. I came here for
a balanced three-course meal.

Ravioli, ravioli and ravioli.
Is that clear?

Si, signore.

- Ravioli, signore.
- Thank you.

Mmm, that looks delicious.

You all right? You all right, Mr Perrin?

- Yes. Yes, of course I am, why?
- Well, you said you had a letter for me

- and you haven't spoken for 10 minutes.
- No. I'm sorry, I'm just...

just rather full of ravioli.

Yes. Yes, to the Traffic Manager.
British Rail, Southern Region.

Dear sir, Every morning my train is
11 minutes late.

This is infuriating.
This morning I took a later train,

this also was 11 minutes late.
This also is infuriating.

Why don't you re-time all your trains
to arrive 11 minutes late,

then they would all be on time?

Yours faithfully,
Reginald Iolanthe Perrin.

- You're late.
- Yeah, missed the train.

You've been drinking.

Yes, and now I'm going to have
another drink.

I wouldn't mind,
but your supper's all dried up.

Oh, darling.

If you represented the time the world
has existed

by the height of this room,

mankind wouldn't even reach the top
of the underfelt.

And if mankind was represented
by London Zoo,

the whole population of Climthorpe
would be a sodden fag-end

in a plastic cup
in the reptile house dustbin.

Under the circumstances,
it doesn't seem very important

- if my supper's all dried up.
- Well, it's my supper, too.

- Reggie?
- Yes?

Why did you call mother...that thing?

I'm fed up doing things the same way...
Well, what could be more boring

than calling her your mother
all the time?

- What's wrong, Reggie?
- Nothing's wrong.

- Things have never been right.
- I do love you, Reggie.

Yes. Yes, of course and so do I. Yes.

Now, that's...

That's a nice dress, is it new?

I've had it five years.

Look, I'll tell you what.
First thing Sunday,

why don't we go over to see the hippo...

Go and see your mother, eh?

Everything's going to be all right,
I promise, darling.

I hope so.

- Now, come on, what is for supper?
- Oh, nothing much.

It's ravioli, followed by ice cream.