Is this a particularly British form of suicide?
A BBC executive died in mysterious circumstances after stripping off her clothes and walking into the sea. Kari Boto, 53, was plucked from the water by a helicopter crew and taken to the hospital where her husband works as a doctor.
But staff there were unable to save her. Witnesses had earlier seen the mother-of-three sitting on the beach at Old Felixstowe, Suffolk, with her head in her hands.A pile of clothes and set of car keys were found nearby. Police suspect she might have committed suicide.
The plot hinges on the mid-life crisis experienced by Perrin as he becomes desperate to escape his dreary life. He lives in a suburb of south London called Climthorpe on the “Poets Estate”, a suburban development differentiated from those around it only by having all the streets named for famous poets. He commutes each workday to Sunshine Desserts where he works as a sales executive. Each morning he is reliably and invariably 11 then 17 then 22 minutes late (as the series progress), yet each morning he gives a different excuse for his lateness. These excuses become increasingly bizarre throughout the first two series (“defective junction box, New Malden”) reflecting the decline of both British Rail and his own mental health. His arrival at the office is illustrated with a sequence of him walking into the entrance under the company logo, which, again as the series progresses, loses more and letters from the name.
But here’s the real hook…
At the end of the first series he fakes his own suicide by leaving his clothes on a beach in Dorset and running into the sea. (While this was coincidentally similar to a stunt pulled at around the same time by maverick MP John Stonehouse, neither was inspired by the other: the novel was written before Stonehouse’s faked suicide in June 1974 but not published until 1975. The phrase “do a Reggie Perrin” did enter the vernacular, however, no doubt assisted by the media circus that surrounded the Stonehouse affair.)
Thanks to YouTube…watch the opening…