After smash hit runs in the UK and the US, the global juggernaut TV series The Office is coming to Australia in a new adaptation for Prime Video – and it will star the series’ first ever female lead.
The Australian comedian and actor Felicity Ward will be starring in the hapless middle-manager role originated by Ricky Gervais, who co-created and co-wrote the original UK mockumentary series with Stephen Merchant.
That critically acclaimed cringe-comedy series ran across two seasons in 2001 and 2002; in 2005 the US launched its own adaptation, starring Steve Carell as Michael Scott in a hit show that ran until 2013.
Launching in 2024, and co-produced by Amazon Studios, BBC Studios ANZ and Bunya Entertainment, Australia’s version of The Office will be the 13th adaptation of the original.
Set in a post-Covid present day, the Australian iteration will star Ward as Hannah Howard, the managing director of packaging company Flinley Craddick.
When Howard’s managers tell her they are shutting down her branch and making all staff work from home, “she goes into survival mode”, the announcement from Prime Video says, “making promises she can’t keep in order to keep her ‘work family’ together”.
“The staff of Flinley Craddick indulge her and must endure Hannah’s outlandish plots as they work toward the impossible targets that have been set for them.”
In a statement that accompanied the announcement, Ricky Gervais said: “I’m very excited about Australia remaking my little show from the turn of the century. Office politics have changed a bit in 20 years, so can’t wait to see how they navigate a modern-day David Brent.”
Sophia Zachariou, producer and co-managing director of Bunya Entertainment, said: “To me, Wernham Hogg’s David Brent was a leading light in comedy. The Office UK made the mockumentary form available to a wide audience, and that was its sheer brilliance. I can only hope that global audiences find our Aussie take on The Office as funny, self-deprecating, and believable as those that have gone before it.”
The show will be the first scripted project from BBC Studios ANZ, whose general manager Kylie Washington said: “We figured the world is ready for a lovable, flawed, lady boss, ruling over her packaging empire.”
The eight-episode series will also star Edith Poor, Steen Raskopoulos, Shari Sebbens and Josh Thomson, with production commencing in Sydney in June.
Ward is best known for her appearances on Spicks and Specks, Thank God You’re Here and Good News Week; she has also starred in Wakefield and the Inbetweeners 2.