Original The Office title card.
|Genre||Comedy (sitcom and mockumentary)|
|Running time||28 mins.|
|Creator(s)||Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant|
|Writer(s)||Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant|
|Starring||Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Lucy Davis, Mackenzie Crook|
|Original runs||9 July 2001 – 27 December 2003|
|No. of episodes||14|
The Office is a British television comedy series, created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK on BBC2 on July 9, 2001. Widely acclaimed as the most successful BBC comedy in this decade, two six-episode series have been made, along with a pair of 45-minute Christmas specials. The show has been sold in over 60 countries worldwide including ABC in Australia, TVNZ in New Zealand, and the pan-Asian satellite channel STAR World, based in Hong Kong. The American versionis Emmy award winning
The Office shares some themes in common with the 1999 movie Office Space, mainly the banal and dissatisfying nature of office jobs . The show also shares themes with another social satire created by Gervais and Merchant, Extras, namely social clumsiness, the trivialities of human behavior, self-importance and conceit, frustration and desperation, and fame..
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
The show is set in Slough, a satellite town of London, in a small branch of the fictitious paper company Wernham-Hogg (where "life is stationery"). The show has no laugh track and is in the mockumentary style, devised at a time when documentaries such as Airport and A Life of Grime (which follow people performing their jobs) were popular.
The office is managed by David Brent (Gervais) along with his assistant, Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook), a lieutenant in the Territorial Army. Much of the series' comedic success stems from David, who frequently makes attempts to win favour with his employees and peers with embarrassing or disastrous results. David's character flaws are used to comic effect, including numerous verbal gaffes, unconscious racism, sexism and other social faux-pas.
Other characters include the unassuming Tim Canterbury, whose relationship with bored receptionist Dawn Tinsley is a major arc in the series. Their flirtation soon builds to a mutual romantic attraction, despite her engagement to the dour and laddish warehouse worker,
The theme song for the show is "Handbags and Gladrags", written in the 1960s by Mike D’Abo. The version used in the title sequence was specially recorded for the show by session musicians.
Cast and Characters
- Main article: List of The Office Characters
While being more of an ensemble piece than star-driven, four characters in particular are the primary focus of the show:
- Ricky Gervais ... David Brent
- Martin Freeman ... Tim Canterbury
- Mackenzie Crook ... Gareth Keenan
- Lucy Davis ... Dawn Tinsley
- Tax Specialist
- Tax Advisor
- Small Business Tax
Series One & Two
- Joel Beckett ... Lee
- Ben Bradshaw ... Ben
- Stirling Gallacher ... Jennifer Taylor Clarke
- Ralph Ineson ... Chris Finch
- Nicola Cotter ... Karen Roper
- Jamie Deeks ... Jamie
- Vincent Franklin ... Rowan (training facilitator)
- Jane Lucas ... Sheila
- Ewen Macintosh ... Keith Bishop
- Emma Manton ... Emma
- Ron Merchant ... Gordon
- Alexander Perkins ... Ralph
- Phillip Pickard ... Philip
- Peter Purves ... Himself
- David Schaal ... Glynn
- Neil Fitzmaurice... Alex
Series One only
- Sally Bretton ... Donna
- Oliver Chris ... Ricky Howard
- Angela Clerkin ... Jackie
- Yvonne D'Alpra ... Joan
- Robin Hooper ... Malcolm
- Paul Sharma... Sanj
Series Two only
- Patrick Baladi ... Neil Godwin
- Julie Fernandez ... Brenda
- Tom Goodman-Hill ... Ray
- Jennifer Hennessy ... Jude
- Matthew Holness ... Simon
- Rachel Isaac ... Trudy
- Stephen Merchant ... Oggy
- Tony MacMurray ... Tony
- Stacey Roca ... Rachel
- Howard Saddler ... Oliver
- Bruce Mackinnon... Jimmy the Perv
The first series of The Office was first broadcast in the UK between 9 July and 20 August 2001. The series ran for six episodes with a story arc about the downsizing of Wernham Hogg and impending redundancies.
|Downsize||Series 1||09 July 2001 (BBC 2)||Amazon||1|
|David shows Ricky, the new temp, around the office. Jennifer reveals that there might be redundancies. Tim puts Gareth's stapler in jelly. David makes Dawn cry with a poorly judged practical joke.|
|Work Experience||Series 1||16 July 2001 (BBC 2)||Amazon||2|
|David hires Donna, his lodger and the daughter of his best friend. While showing her round the office he discovers a doctored pornographic image of himself. Gareth, due to his covert operations skills, is told to catch the culprit.|
|The Quiz||Series 1||23 July 2001 (BBC 2)||Amazon||3|
|It is Tim 30th birthday - he receives a card from Dawn and an unusual inflatable gift from Lee. More importantly, however, it's Quiz Night and there are reputations to be made or lost.|
|Training||Series 1||30 July 2001 (BBC 2)||Amazon||4|
|To fend off the increasing staff disillusionment a Training Day has been scheduled. Dawn's engagement to Lee is on the rocks and Tim begins to think that he may at last have a chance with her.|
|New Girl||Series 1||13 August 2001 (BBC 2)||Amazon||5|
|David interviews for a new secretary and chooses blonde Karen. His efforts to impress end spectacularly badly when he accidentally head butts her. Meanwhile Donna's late arrival at work inevitably sparks the rumor that she is sleeping with a colleague.|
|Judgement||Series 1||20 August 2001 (BBC 2)||Amazon||6|
|It is redundancies judgement day and David is told by Head Office that he will be promoted if he sacrifices the branch. True to his innate sense of self-preservation and greed David leaps at the chance for betterment.|
The second series of The Office was originally broadcast in the UK on BBC 2 between 30 September and 4 November 2002. Again, there were six episodes. The outcome of series one's downsizing sees an influx of new staff to the Slough branch from the Swindon branch. Brent has to deal with a new boss, while Dawn is not the only one vying for Tim's attention.
|Merger||Series 2||30 September 2002 (BBC 2)||Amazon||7|
|Two weeks after the announcement that Slough has been saved from the chop it is merger day and six new employees arrive from Swindon along with Neil - David's dynamic new boss. New girl Rachel immediately catches the interest of Tim and Gareth.|
|Appraisals||Series 2||07 October 2002 (BBC 2)||Amazon||8|
|Staff appraisals cue secret confessions - Tim still harbors dreams of returning to university to study Psychology, while Dawn reveals she always wanted to be a children's illustrator. Keith on the other hand reveals only the immense vacuity of his mind.|
|Party||Series 2||14 October 2002 (BBC 2)||Amazon||9|
|It's Trudy's birthday and in traditional highbrow office style she receives some sex toys - namely a leather basque and a neon pink dildo with an inspired sense of movement. Meanwhile David's radical new made-up business strategy of "team individuality" fails to impress Neil.|
|Motivation||Series 2||21 October 2002 (BBC 2)||Amazon||10|
|Tim and Rachel finally appear to have 'done the deed' and are confronted by a horrified Gareth, who is perhaps most upset by the realization that he'd still like to 'do' Rachel even though she is now, as he so charmingly puts it, sloppy seconds.|
|Charity||Series 2||28 October 2002 (BBC 2)||Amazon||11|
|It's Comic Relief Day and the office is awash with wackiness. All 19 stone of Keith is squeezed into a bright yellow Ali G costume, Sheila has become Wonder Woman and Gareth is hopping on one leg. The hilarity peaks when Neil and Rachel stage a dance sequence from Saturday Night Fever in the reception area. David, desperate to outdo them, embarks on his own spontaneous dance.|
|Interview||Series 2||04 November 2002 (BBC 2)||Amazon||12|
|The news of David's redundancy is not having the devastating effect on the office that he would have liked but brighter things are on the horizon as Inside Paper are writing a feature on him. However his life is about to go from low to lower. Ray and Jude from Cooper and Webb arrive and inform him, in front of Helena the Inside Paper journalist, that they won't be requiring his services anymore.|
Although Ricky and Steve said there would be no further series, they did write two additional 45-minute episodes, which first aired in the UK on BBC One on Boxing Day and 27 December 2003. The episodes focused more on the mock-documentary format than in previous series and used it to catch up with the characters and frame their lives after the reality TV show "The Office". Having been sacked Brent is now a traveling salesman looking for love, but still has time to pop back to his old workplace.
|Christmas Special Part 1||Special||26 December 2003 (BBC 1)||Amazon||13|
|David attempts to milk his slight fame for all it's worth, signing autographs and making appearances at night clubs while working as a traveling salesman. Gareth is now in charge of the branch yet Tim continues to wind him up. Dawn and Lee now live in Florida but are flying back for the Christmas party.|
|Christmas Special Part 2||Special||27 December 2003 (BBC 1)||Amazon||14|
|David joins an online dating service to try and get a date for the Christmas party. After a couple of failed attempts, he ends up taking a blind date to the party. Dawn reunites with Tim and they wind up Gareth together and she draws a sketch of Tim. Everyone enjoys themselves at the party, and many surprises take place.|
"The Office Values" and "Realising Potential"
In 2004, Microsoft UK commissioned two 20-minute corporate videos featuring David Brent being interviewed by Jeff (Stephen Merchant), a Microsoft employee who becomes increasingly exasperated by Brent's antics. The ongoing theme is Brent's obvious resentment at the company's success. Brent also appears to believe he has what it takes to become the next managing director of Microsoft and continually drops hints to that effect. While not on general release, the videos emerged on the internet in 2006. They were posted on both YouTube (from which they were later removed) and Google Video. The clips also appeared on certain peer-to-peer networks. Microsoft were unhappy with the leak, stating that the videos "were never intended to be viewed by the public" (BBC News: Microsoft unhappy at Gervais leak).
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. It was the only British comedy to be nominated for a Golden Globe in 25 years, and the first to ever win one. Ricky Gervais was also awarded the Golden Globe for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series: Musical or Comedy" for his role.
The series won the Best TV Comedy award, and Gervais the Best TV Comedy Actor award, at the British Comedy Awards 2002.
In 2005, the series' concluding two-part special was nominated for two Emmys in the categories of "Outstanding Made for Television Movie" and "Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special" .
- In a nod to the show, a minor character featured in the TV series Lost mentions during one of the flashback scenes in the season one episode "Homecoming" that her father is "buying some paper company up in Slough".
- Ricky Gervais' Website
- Official BBC Website
- British Sitcom Guide
- British Film Institute Screen Online
- The World of The Office Unofficial fan site covering pretty much everything.
- Free Love on the Free Love Freeway
|Series 1 Episodes:|
|Series 2 Episodes:|
Lee | Malcolm | "Oggy" | Rachel | Karen Roper |
Glynn | Gobbler | Jamie | Jeff | Jimmy the Perv | Joan | Oliver | Rowan | Sanj | Simon | Sheila |
Paul Shepherd | Tony | Trudy