- Seasons: 2 + 2 Christmas Specials
- Episodes: 14
- Ran From: 2001-2003
The Office: UK was the original series, upon which The Office: An American Workplace was based. It ran from 2001-2003 and was hugely popular. It was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. It had twelve episodes with two Christmas specials.
The Office takes place in the dreary English town of Slough. The opening credits show Slough, cloudy, boring, and miserable. It is home to the Slough Trading Estate. It primarily covers the workers at the paper company, Wernham-Hogg.
This part of the article naturally contains spoilers. If you don't want to be spoiled do not read this part of the article or be careful.
The series was about an obnoxious, cruel, foolish boss named David Brent (the equivalent of Michael Scott in the American series), who is participating in a documentary about offices. Gareth Keenan (America's Dwight Schrute), an eccentric, creepy suck up is David's side kick, and after the season two finale, becomes the boss. A relationship takes place between Dawn Tinsley (America's Pam Beesly) and her fiancée for three years, Lee (America's Roy Anderson). Dawn is bored with her job and aspires to be an artist. Meanwhile, Dawn is really in love with Tim Canterbery (America's Jim Halpert), and they flirt a lot. In the Season Two finale, Dawn rejects Tim and, when David is fired, Gareth becomes the boss even though he begs for his job back. Dawn moves to Florida with Lee. However, in the Christmas Special, Dawn comes back to Slough when the documentary crew offers Dawn and Lee plane tickets. When Dawn leaves, she opens Tim's gift, with a note saying "never give up" (on being an artist). Dawn leaves Lee, returns to the office, and kisses Tim. Other characters include Jennifer Taylor-Clarke (America's Jan Levinson), Neil Godwin (Ryan Howard and Jan Levinson are both loosely based on Neil), Keith Bishop (Kevin Malone is based upon him), Rachel (Karen Filippelli is based on her), Chris Finch (Todd Packer is based on him), Glynn (Darryl Philbin may be based upon him), and Oliver (Ryan Howard is based on him). It has sold many DVD copies. The BBC has sold The Office to over 80 countries.
David Brent is the regional manager of the Slough branch of the Wernham-Hogg paper company for most of the show's run. Although he thinks himself an incredible, funny, and musically talented boss, he is cruel, obnoxious, and snide to everyone. Even when he strives to be politically correct, his behavior only becomes even more offensive. It is unclear how he achieved or manages to maintain his position, as he seems to have little understanding of Wernham-Hogg's inner workings. Driven by a need to always be the center of attention, he tells unfunny jokes to the camera crew. This may be to avoid the fact that has hardly any social life; at one point Dawn Tinsley calls him "a sad little man." He considers Chris Finch his best friend and always laughs at his crude and misogynistic jokes, ignoring the fact that the Finch is nasty and uncaring towards him; however, in the Christmas Special, David finally tells Finch to "fuck off," leaving Finch awestruck. In the series two finale, he is fired, causing him to melt down and start an unsuccessful music career. He finally finds love in the "Christmas Special."
Gareth Keenan is Tim's deskmate and nemesis for most of the show. He is boring, shamelessly lacking in a sense of humor, and has few if any redeeming qualities. He takes considerable pride in being "Team Leader" or "Assistant Regional Manager," refusing to realize that the position is just a title and constantly trying to throw his weight around, to no effect. Tim and Dawn amuse themselves by winding an oblivious Gareth up, frequently playing on his alleged service in the Territorial Army. He sucks up to David Brent throughout the series; however, this gets him nowhere as David treats Gareth, for the most part, like a dog. When David is fired in the series two finale and Gareth is chosen to replace him, Gareth humiliates and tortures David in retaliation for his years of mistreatment.
Tim Canterbury is a funny, unpretentious sales representative at Wernham-Hogg. He is witty, outgoing and friendly, the polar opposite of his boss, David. He frequently voices dissatisfaction with his life; he still lives with his parents at 30, and he hates his job. He stays at the company because of Dawn Tinsley, whom he loves. Dawn and Tim are good friends, especially in their shared love of playing pranks on Gareth. While Dawn is engaged to Lee, Tim starts going out with Rachel, although he doesn't really love her, and breaks up with her to get with Dawn; however, he is turned down. He is insecure, and thus doesn't go back to college to study psychology; when offered David Brent's position in the series two finale, he turns it down and gives it to Gareth. He attempts to ask Dawn out several times during the show, striking out each time. Three years later, during the "Christmas Special," he still works at the company, and gets a new deskmate, who is as annoying as Gareth and only likes to talk about her pregnancy. Although Dawn returns from living in Florida illegally, she is still hesitant to start a relationship with Tim, until she sees his Christmas gift encouraging her to never give up on her passion (art).
Dawn Tinsley is the receptionist, and is often the (forced) primary audience for David Brent's unsuccessful and sometimes offensive jokes. Like Tim Canterbury, she hates her job, and finds her life boring. Along with Tim, she finds ways to amuse herself during work hours, primarily by playing jokes on Gareth Keenan. She is in a rocky engagement with her fiancee of three years, Lee, and gave up illustrating children's books at his insistence so that she could be a receptionist. Although she is really in love with Tim, she turns him down to stay with Lee, despite his calling her a bad artist. In the Christmas special, she is living illegally in Florida with Lee, and decides to come back to Slough. She tries not to hurt Tim's feelings, but turns down his attempt to ask her out (again). However, when she opens her gift from Tim, which tells never to give up about her passion (art), she comes back and kisses Tim.
- The Office: UK won 2 Golden Globe awards, one for Ricky Gervais playing David Brent, and the other for the Christmas Special. It was the first British Comedy in 25 years to do so.
- The Christmas Special was nominated for 2 Emmy Awards.
- The show has won several BAFTA awards.
- The theme song is "Handbags and Gladrags", by Big George Webley.
- "Downsize"- A documentary about the Slough branch of paper company, Wernham-Hogg starts amidst downsizing rumors that heavily affect Wernham-Hogg and Jennifer Taylor-Clark brings the bad news. We meet suck up Gareth, unmotivated Tim, and engaged for three years, and also unmotivated Dawn.
- "Work Experience"- David welcomes Donna to Wernham-Hogg, and finds that he is not as popular as he seems. Meanwhile, Gareth tries to find out who made a photoshopped picture of David and Dawn and Tim wind Gareth up.
- "The Quiz"- It's quiz day at Wernham-Hogg and Gareth ultimately fails at hosting it, by asking too many questions about conflict and war. Meanwhile, it's Tim's 30th birthday, which everyone seems to forget except Dawn.
- "Training"- It's training day, and Dawn and her fiancee, Lee are fighting. The boring seminar leads David to sing a song that he created called "Free Love Freeway," and also causes Tim to say that he is quitting. Tim, assuming that Dawn and Lee had split up, asks Dawn out but gets a refusal from her.
- "New Girl"- Despite redundancies, David Brent feels that he needs a new secretary.
- "Judgement"- Tim Canterbury wants to get out of Wernham Hogg Paper Company, however, he is offered a job when David turns down the corporate job. Dawn Tinsley is conflicted, because Tim is contradicting himself by saying that he rather be on the bottom of a ladder that he wants to climb. Swindon will be merged into Slough, and everyone keeps their jobs.
- "Merger"- The Swindon and Slough branches of Wernham-Hogg are merged and David meets Neil Godwin, and successful and liked manager.
- "Appraisals" - David conducts appraisals and has a hard time getting to talk to Keith. Rachel and Tim start a relationship.
- "Party"- Trudy's party is full of sex toys and surprises including a Chris Finch appearance.
- "Motivation"- The documentary is going to be released and Dawn and David go to a motivational seminar, where David naturally embarrasses himself, and Dawn contemplates her unsatisfying life. Meanwhile, Dawn is jealous when Tim suggests that he may have had sex with Rachel.
- "Charity"- It's Red Nose Day and Dawn is selling kisses. David tries to be cool, however, like usual fails at the task. To make matters worse, David's enemy, Neil and Rachel get together to dance, and they are a huge success.
- "Interview"- David is fired, Tim turns down a job and gives it to Gareth, and Dawn prepares to leaves Wernham-Hogg to move with Lee to Florida.
- Christmas Special, Part 1 (45 min)
- Christmas Special, Part 2 (50 min)