Created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchantthe programme follows the day-to-day lives of office employees in the Slough branch of the fictional Wernham Hogg paper company. Gervais also stars in the series, playing the central character David Brent. Two six-episode series were made, along with a pair of minute Christmas specials. When it was first shown on BBC Two, ratings were relatively low, but British office men has since become one of the most successful of all British comedy exports.
The show was first shown in the United States on Cartoon Network 's late night programing block, Adult Swim on 18 September until The show centres on themes of social clumsiness, the trivialities of human behaviour, self-importance and conceit, frustration, desperation and fame.
The success of the show led to a number of localised adaptations based upon its basic story and themes being produced for the television markets of other nations, British office men in an international Office franchise.
The show is a mockumentary based in a branch of a large paper company called Wernham Hogg where "life is British office menin the Slough Trading Estate in Berkshire.
Much of the series' British office men success stems from Brent, who frequently makes attempts to win favour with his employees and peers with embarrassing or disastrous results. Brent's character flaws are used to comic effect, including numerous verbal gaffes, inadvertent racism and sexismand other social faux pas.
The other main plot line of the series, and many of the more human elements found therein, come from the unassuming Tim Canterbury Martin Freemanwhose relationship with bored receptionist Dawn Tinsley Lucy Davis is a major arc in the series.
Their flirtation soon builds to a mutual romantic attraction, despite her engagement to dour and laddish warehouse worker Lee Joel Beckett. The Office is essentially a character-based comedy, portraying the people who work in an office environment. While being more of an ensemble piece than star-driven, four characters are the primary focus of the show:.
David Brent is the general manager of the Slough branch of Wernham Hogg paper merchants. Insecure, and somewhat narcissistiche believes he is a successful maverick in the business world and a Renaissance mantalented in philosophy, music and comedy.
Although he thinks he is patient, funny and popular, others British office men him as annoying, rude and selfish. His immature behaviour comes across as he bumbles around the office — always hovering around the camera — telling unfunny jokes, performing hackneyed impressions, and generally British office men into trouble by talking before thinking. Brent thinks he is a kind, politically correct man, but his preoccupation with this position, and the discrepancy between it and his often patronising and at times offensive jokes, gets him into trouble.
Tim Canterbury is a sales representative at Wernham Hogg. Unlike David, Tim is witty and considerate. His humour and kindness make him one of the most likeable employees in the British office men, but at 30 he still lives with his parents and works at a job he believes to be completely pointless. He maintains his sanity by pursuing an improbable romance with receptionist Dawn Tinsley and by playing practical jokes on Gareth.
Although he wishes to leave Wernham Hogg to study psychology, his insecurity prevents him from taking any significant action.
During Series One and Two, he also fails to further pursue a relationship with Dawn. Chosen British office men David's successor at the end of series 2, he declines and lets Gareth take the position, which, however, does not keep him from playing pranks on Gareth.
Gareth Keenan is Tim's selfish deskmate and enemy. Gareth is a humourless British office men with few good personality traits. He is obsessed with his military service in the Territorial Army and annoys Tim with his pretentious comments. He takes pride in being " Team Leader ", not realising his title is mostly meaningless, and he imposes the little authority he has on his co-workers.
Tim and Dawn repeatedly insinuate homosexuality through questioning him about his military experience using double entendres. Apparently proud of his close connections with David and glossing over David's poor treatment of him, he later — during the Christmas special — gets back at David by patronising and humiliating him in front of the cameras.
Dawn Tinsley is the company receptionist and Brent's dogsbody. She frequently has to put up with his attempts at humour and social interaction. Several other recurring characters, although not central to the episodes, played an important role in the series. Keith Bishop Ewen MacIntosh: Keith works in the accounts department.
Heavy set, slow-talking and apparently emotionless, he is a man of few words. When he does speak, his comments can be eloquent and sometimes disturbing. His counterpart in the U. Chris Finch "Finchy" Ralph Ineson: A "bloody good" outside sales representative, he is the British office men character in the series who is genuinely and deliberately narcissistic.
He is brashly confident, openly sexist, rasping-voiced with a natural flair for bullying others with swift, humiliating putdowns, Brent being his usual target. He likes to dominate conversations and is successful with women, but shows a humourless violent attitude when he loses the staff quiz in Series One.
British office men describes him as his "best friend" but actually acts more like a lackey, laughing at his British office men and attempting to impress him to feel popular only to be repaid with verbal abuse. Finch is such a bad loser at the quiz, he exclaims he and Brent can beat the team who beat them at many other things, so decides he can beat them at British office men, and if he throws anything they choose over the building, they will win the quiz and the champagne instead which British office men eventually do, with Tim's shoe being the nominated object.
Jennifer Taylor-Clarke Stirling Gallacher: Brent's immediate superior in Series One, nicknamed Camilla Parker Bowles by him, is a serious-minded professional, British office men Brent's behaviour and comedy-driven style of management are shown to be puerile and ineffectual by contrast. At the end of Series One she is made a partner in the firm and, during series 2, repeatedly reprimands David for inappropriate behaviour.
She met him in school and they have been together ever since. Lee is humourless, dull, and controlling. He often undermines and embarrasses Dawn, and is dismissive of her ideas of being an illustrator. His idea of a romantic proposal was a four-word notice in the newspaper — "Lee love Dawn.
It is clear from an early stage that she stays with him out of a fear of loneliness rather than real love. Lee has a somewhat violent temper, which is shown when he holds Canterbury against a wall, simply for starting to dance with Dawn. Glynn aka Taffy David Schaal: The misogynisticsexist warehouse manager at the company and Lee's supervisor, who is seen as being very slack and has little respect for anyone who works outside the warehouse, particularly management.