Can it really be ten years? Amazingly, the comedy that propelled former X-FM DJ Ricky Gervais and co-writer Stephen Merchant to international stardom made its debut on BBC 2 on July 9, 2001. A decade on and its still one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time.
But back then it was truly revolutionary with many people thinking initially that David Brent was a real person in a real documentary, rather than a fictional character in an inventive sitcom.
With the inevitable Office 10th Anniversary Edition released on DVD in October, we mark the landmark birthday with 10 facts you may or may not know about the hit series:
1) The Office started life in 1997 as a sketch Ricky Gervais wrote called ‘Seedy Boss’. He named that boss David Brent.
2) The first scene ever written was the one where Brent interviews Karen Roper for the job of PA in episode 5.
3) The first demo tape of the office was shot in the real office where Ricky used to work. Many of the people in the background actually worked there.
4) The demo was shot in one day.
5) Originally Martin Freeman auditioned for the part of Gareth. Ricky first met Martin when he helped write the series Bruiser, which Martin starred in. He met Mackenzie Crook when they worked together on The 11 O’clock Show.
6) In the French version (Le Bureau) the stapler in jelly becomes a stapler in Fromage.
7) The record number of takes for one scene is 74. It’s the one where Brent gives Tim an appraisal.
8) Due to overseas sales, DVDs and now syndication The Office, has grossed an estimated £370 million worldwide.
9) It is shown in 170 territories, in 88 countries. It has been remade in 8: US, France, Canada, Germany, Israel, Chile, Sweden and Russia.
10) It was the first British Sitcom to win a Golden Globe. The second was Ricky Gervais’ Extras. They are still the only two.