Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office
The Office is a British television comedy series written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. It first aired on BBC Two in the United Kingdom on July 9, 2001.
The series is set in Slough, England in a small branch office of the fictitious firm Wernham Hogg, a paper merchant run by David Brent (Gervais). Together with his assistant, lieutenant in the Territorial Army and Top Trumps expert, Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook), Brent manages the office in a manner intended to be familiar to corporate workers. While Brent tries to emulate his friend and mentor, salesman Chris "Finchy" Finch (Ralph Ineson ), Brent tries to be his employees' best friend and tyrant to equal degrees.
Other denizens of the office include the unassuming Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman), whose relationship with bored receptionist Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis) forms a major sub-focus of the series, in spite of her engagement to warehouse worker Lee (Joel Beckett ).
The series also concentrates upon David Brent's character flaws: numerous verbal gaffes, unconscious racism, sexism, and most other forms of discrimination, and those of his minion, Gareth. There is no laugh track, and it is designed to resemble a fly-on-the-wall documentary, largely because of the originally low budget. Documentary features include talking-head pieces, often of Brent displaying a varying degree of his ineptitude, but also of other characters expressing their thoughts; angles that suggest a crew trying to keep out of everyone's way whilst capturing the goings-on; and a tendency towards still shots with little thought for background audio ambience. Widely acclaimed as the most successful BBC comedy in the last decade, two six-episode series of The Office have been made, along with a pair of 45 minute Christmas specials.
David Brent oversees a turbulent spell at the Slough office of Wernham Hogg, when a downsize is enforced upon one of either the Slough or Swindon branches. Jobs are being axed and the staff need a boss who can speak out on their behalf.
David also has a personal dilemma when he discovers that Donna, his best friends' daughter, who is staying at his house temporarily, is dating Ricky, a fellow collegue, without his permission.
The Swindon branch is downsized, and those workers who remain are transferred to the Slough branch. David Brent ensures the new intake of workers that he is an excellent boss and that good times lie ahead. Brent battles with his new boss and supposed nemesis, the genuinely charismatic and popular Neil Godwin .
The second series of The Office was originally broadcast in the UK between September 30 and November 4, 2002.
While Gervais and Merchant stated that there will be no further series of the show, they did write two final 45-minute episodes, which first aired in the United Kingdom on BBC One on Boxing Day and December 27, 2003. The BBC documentary crew return to the office to see what has happened to the workplace in the two years since they last filmed; the result being two extended episodes. David Brent sells cleaning products and makes somewhat lowbrow celebrity appearances at nightclubs, Dawn and Lee are living in Tampa, Florida with Lee's sister, Gareth has taken David's role at Wernham Hogg and Tim is still in the same job, now sharing desk space with an outspoken and noticeably pregnant woman from accounting. The impending Christmas party, however, holds hope for Tim when he discovers that Dawn will be returning for the event.
In January, 2004 The Office won the Golden Globe award for "Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy", beating nominees Arrested Development, Monk, Sex And The City and Will & Grace. This is the first time that a British TV series has won this award. Ricky Gervais was also awarded the Golden Globe for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy" for his role in The Office.
Minor cast (incomplete)
- Alexander Perkins ... Ralph
- Angela Clerkin ... Jackie
- Emma Manton ... Emma
- Ewen Macintosh ... Keith
- Howard Saddler ... Oliver
- Jamie Deeks ... Jamie
- Jane Lucas ... Sheila
- Joel Beckett ... Lee
- Julie Fernandez ... Brenda
- Oliver Chris ... Ricky Howard
- Patrick Baladi ... Neil Godwin
- Phillip Pickard ... Phillip
- Rachel Isaac ... Trudy
- Robin Hooper ... Malcolm
- Sally Bretton ... Donna
- Stacey Roca ... Rachel
- Yvonne D'Alpra ... Joan
The Office (US version)
After the original British series won two Golden Globes, an American version of The Office was produced by NBC Universal. It premiered on NBC on March 24, 2005. This version is also titled The Office and is set in Scranton, Pennsylvania. NBC has described it as a faster-paced version of the original; Gervais said before the premiere that it would probably have actors with better teeth. Creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have production credits on the new show, but they aren't otherwise involved.
All of the characters have been renamed and cast with relatively unknown American actors.
- Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell (from Comedy Central's The Daily Show), is the new David Brent.
- Jim, played by John Kasinski , is the new Tim Canterbury.
- Pam, played by Jenna Fischer , is the new Dawn Tinsley.
- Dwight, played by Rainn Wilson , is the new Gareth Keenan.
- Ryan, played by B.J. Novak , is the new Ricky Howard.
- Diversity Day
- Health Care
- The Alliance
See the NBC.com link below for additional information.