Reggie Perrin star Martin Clunes talks about BBC1’s update on the classic Leonard Rossiter comedy…

Did you have any doubts about remaking Perrin?
“No, not really. It’s such a long time ago since the original and even the people who claim to remember it really well say, ‘That was my favourite programme’ and then go, ‘My God, Miss Jones’ and you go, ‘That was Rising Damp, you idiot!'”

Did you enjoy watching Leonard Rossiter’s Reggie?
“He was funny and he just looked like an animal. Lots of my favourite actors are slightly animalistic and he was so high energy, which I’m not. But, there were times doing our version that called on the spirit of Rossiter.”

Does your Reggie suffer the same frustrations?
“There’s a lot of similarities, like the commuting and bosses being intolerable. Reggie was always complaining in the 1970s about people not talking on the trains – well nothing’s changed there!”

What do you mean?
“Now, they’ve got headphones in or they’re all on laptops, that drives you a bit mad. They’re quite eternal issues I think. People still get fed up with their jobs and with going into the same office environment every day.”

But the female characters are more modern (Reggie’s wife Nicola is played by Fay Ripley)?
“In the 1970s you could have a wife in a sitcom who’s just a ‘Darling, I’m home character’ and nowadays we need to know all about everyone, don’t we? We need to know a back story and it’s much better for that. I think we have a more plausible marriage in a way.”

Do you have any Reggie moments yourself?
“I’m very lucky in my life. I live on a lovely farm in a lovely part of the world. I don’t have a great many frustrations except people taking the mickey and builders building things that are larger than they ought to be.”

What about if the critics don’t like it?
“I guess there’s a slight risk of turning up in a turkey, but that’s not really for me to decide.”