Gervais’s Office to open branch in India

Image caption Ricky Gervais (centre) with the original cast of The Office

It’s conquered Europe, crossed the Atlantic and spawned a big-screen movie spin-off. Now The Office is to have another new branch – in India.

Wernham Hogg will become Wilkins Chawla in the latest international version of Ricky Gervais‘s mockumentary sitcom.

Gervais, who co-wrote and starred in the original BBC television version, said he was “hoping for big ratings” for the show’s first Asian incarnation.

“I’m always excited and flattered to see remakes of my work,” he commented.

India’s version of The Office will revolve around Jagdeep Chaddha, manager of a paper company in a suburb of New Delhi.

It will also mirror its UK inspiration by featuring a romantic subplot involving a junior sales officer and the office’s receptionist.

Here are the 10 different incarnations of “friend first, boss second” David Brent from around the world:


Image caption Chilled-out entertainer: Ricky Gervais as David Brent

Gervais played David Brent in The Office, a hapless middle manager at a Slough-based paper company whose attempts to motivate his workforce invariably came to nought.

The show, which also starred Martin Freeman and Mackenzie Crook, ran for two series in 2001 and 2002 before culminating with two Christmas specials in 2003.

Gervais has resurrected his signature character on a number of occasions since, most notably in the 2016 film David Brent: Life on the Road.


Image copyright Ici ARTV

David Brent became David Gervais in the Quebecois version of The Office, which ran for one series in 2006 under the title La Job.

Set in the Montreal suburbs in the offices of Les Papiers Jennings, the French-language programme saw Antoine Vezina play the lead role.


Image copyright Canal 13

The Office became La Ofis in the first South American version of the show, which ran for one series in 2008.

Luis Gnecco, star of the Oscar-nominated A Fantastic Woman, played the David Brent character – here named Manuel Cerda – while Wernham Hogg was rechristened Papeles Lozano.

Czech Republic

Gervais joked about receiving “another fat cheque” when it was announced that Czech Television was producing its own version of The Office in 2013.

The result, called Kancl, ran for one season in 2014 and saw Vaclav Kopta play Marek Chvala, the local version of David Brent.

Image copyright Getty Images

Kancl was based in Brno, a city whose love for British comedy is demonstrated each year by a Monty Python-inspired Silly Walk Day.


Image copyright Solar Republic

Before this week’s announcement, the most recent international version of The Office was Finland’s Konttori, which began airing last March.

Set in Riihimaki – home to Finland’s highest flagpole – the show stars local comic Sami Hedberg as Pentti Markkanen, office manager at Leskisen Paperi.


Image copyright Canal Plus

The first official non-English version of The Office to reach the small screen was Le Bureau, which ran for one season in 2006.

Set in Villepinte, a business park north of Paris, the show had Francois Berleand play Gilles Triquet, office manager at paper merchant Cogirep.


Image copyright ProSieben

Stromberg, which began airing in 2004, wasn’t an official version of The Office. But the German show was thought similar enough for the BBC to threaten legal action.

A compromise was reached that saw Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant get an “inspired by” credit, allowing the show to continue until 2012.

“I must say I was very surprised,” joked Gervais in 2006. “It’s not like the Germans to just march in and take something that isn’t theirs.”

Christoph Maria Herbst played the show’s title character, the incompetent manager of an insurance company.


Image copyright Yes Comedy

“Who ever heard of Jewish entertainers?” joked Gervais when the Israeli version of The Office was announced in 2010.

HaMisrad ran for two seasons and starred Dvir Benedek as Avi Meshulam, regional manager at the Yehud branch of a company whose Hebrew name translates into English as Paper Office.


Image copyright TV4 Sweden

Kontoret, the Swedish version of The Office, ran for two seasons between 2012 and 2013 and starred Henrik Dorsin as the show’s David Brent equivalent.

Dorsin’s character, Ove Sundberg, was ingeniously lifted from a previous show called Solsidan, in which he played a supporting role.

“It feels good to contribute with something of my own… when you’re working with a proven show like The Office,” said the Scandinavian actor.

United States

Image copyright NBC

By far the most successful international version of The Office was its award-winning US adaptation, which ran for nine seasons between 2005 and 2013.

Steve Carell played Brent equivalent Michael Scott in the NBC production, which continued beyond his departure in 2011.

John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer played Michael’s co-workers at Dunder Mifflin in Scranton, a Pennsylvania city that now regards its association with the show as a badge of honour.

Gervais made two appearances in the show as David Brent. Here he is meeting Steve Carell’s character in 2011 episode The Seminar.

A Russian version of The Office was announced in 2008 but has yet to reach production stage.

It is also unclear whether the Chinese version Gervais said he was developing in 2010 will make it off the drawing board.

The latest Office development was one of several announcements made this week at BBC Worldwide’s 2018 Showcase, a four-day event in Liverpool for international TV buyers.

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