The Office

Photograph: BBC
Rating 8.9
Streamer Netflix
Seasons 2
Episodes 14 x 30 mins

Anyone who has ever worked in an office has encountered at least one David Brent-type in their lives. Which is what makes this classic mockumentary so funny, obviously.

For those rare few that haven’t yet got around to devouring this sitcom, David Brent is the boss in the titular Office of a paper supply company based in Slough. But he’s hardly going to have people reaching for their phones and looking for jobs in the office supplies industry. He’s your boss from hell, on steroids – he speaks over all his employees, and is absurdly confident for someone who hasn’t got a clue what’s going on. He puts his feet up on his desk whilst making misogynistic remarks to his receptionist, and will do anything – but work – to get people to like him. And thanks to the talents of his creator and actor Ricky Gervais, he’s hilarious.

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The Office follows Brent and his co-workers, including regional manager and office weirdo Gareth (Mackenzie Crook) who is always bickering with sarky prankster Tim (Martin Freeman), and receptionist Dawn (Lucy Davis) as they essentially do nothing whilst we laugh at them. Prone to every social faux pas and constantly embarrassing themselves, this show makes you cringe and cackle at the same time.

The success of The Office was so great that it made its way stateside, getting a US version headed up by Steve Carell who’s joined by John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson and Mindy Kaling. And, though we’re not going to start a huge debate over which is better, the American version got nine seasons compared to the UK’s measly two.

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But we’re not complaining really – by keeping it to just 14, brilliant episodes, the series never became one of those shows that went bad, that dragged it out slightly too long or made the mistake of veering into sentimentality. Instead we get to watch and rewatch these two seasons, and savour every moment of David Brent madness.

First shown July 2001. You can watch a clip by pressing the play button on the show image or by clicking here.

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