The Office is heading to Australia in what will be the 13th international version of the BBC sitcom, it has emerged.
Since it first aired 20 years ago, producers around the world have strived to re-create the magic of the original season and its cringe-inducing lead David Brent – expertly played by the show’s co-creator Ricky Gervais.
The US remake is widely considered the most successful, winning multiple Emmy awards across nine seasons and starring Steve Carell as the American version of Brent, Michael Scott.
The mockumentary-style comedy has also been replicated around the world, including in Germany, France, India, Chile and Saudi Arabia.
But in a new twist, fans of the series Down Under will see the role of the bumbling boss played by a woman.
Felicity Ward (The Inbetweeners 2, Spicks and Specks) is the successful candidate for the role that made Steve Carell a household name in the Emmy award winning US remake
The original series (pictured) consisted of two six episode seasons, plus two Christmas specials
Instead of Brent, Aussies will get Hannah Howard, who will be portrayed by little known comedian Felicity Ward – of The Inbetweeners 2 and Spicks and Specks fame.
Howard is described as a ‘modern-day David Brent’ and the managing director of packaging company Flinley Craddick, Prime Video has revealed.
The plot of the series involves Howard receiving news from Head Office that her branch will be shutting down.
Howard then ‘goes into survival mode, 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.’
The mockumentary-style sitcom series will launch in 2024 on Prime Video globally.
In a statement, original co-creator 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.’
Production on the female-led eight-part Australian Amazon Original series will commence in Sydney in June, with filming will take place over eight weeks.
Joining Ward on screen will be local stars Edith Poor (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power), Steen Raskopoulos (The Duchess), Shari Sebbens (Thor: Love and Thunder) and Firass Dirani (Underbelly).
The original series consisted of two six episode seasons, plus two Christmas specials.
Since it first aired 20 years ago, producers around the world have strived to re-create the magic of the original season and its cringe-inducing lead David Brent (pictured second from right) – expertly played by the show’s co-creator Ricky Gervais
The US remake is widely considered the most successful, winning multiple Emmy awards across nine seasons and starring Steve Carell as the American version of Brent, Michael Scott (pictured)
Daily Mail Australia can exclusively reveal it’s actually a relatively unknown comedian set to claim the role of a cringe-inducing office boss in the Aussie remake of The Office. Pictured: star Felicity Ward
Germany was one of the first to re-create the office, however, airing its first episode of Stromberg (pictured) in October 2004
Another French spin-off, La Job (cast pictured), which aired in Canada, lasted for just one season
It featured Gervais as David Brent, an awkward office manager at a large paper company in Slough called Wernham Hogg.
The US remake was produced by NBC and saw Carell take on a version Gervais’ role, playing Michael Scott, regional manager of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch.
That widely popular version of the show ran for nine seasons and 201 episodes.
Germany was one of the first to re-create the office, however, airing its first episode of Stromberg in October 2004.
It followed workers in the fictional insurance company Capitol Versicherung AG and lasted for five seasons and 46 episodes, ending in January 2012.
Meanwhile France’s offering, Le Bureau, did not launch on Canal+ until 2006 and enjoyed much less success, lasting for just one season.
Another French spin-off, La Job, which aired in Canada, did not fare much better.
Also launched in 2006, it followed workers at Les Papiers Jennings, a multinational packaging company, and its bumbling boss David Gervais – an ode to the original co-creator. it was not picked up for a second season.
The Swedish, Chilean and Czech versions of the show, Kontoret, La Ofis and Kancl respectively, also lasted just one season.
The Chile version of David Brent sits beside a ‘Boss of the year’ mug
The Swedish, Chilean and Czech versions of the show, Kontoret (cast pictured), La Ofis and Kancl respectively, also lasted just one season
The David Brent character reimagined by the Czech version of the show
The mockumentary-style comedy has been replicated around the world, including in Germany, France, India (pictured), Chile and Saudi Arabia
Finland’s re-make Konttori proved more of a hit, however, lasting for three seasons between 2017 and 2019.
It was followed by the Polish version in 2021, which follows workers at a company that produces mineral water called Kropliczanka. It has so far produced two seasons.
The most recent remake in Saudi Arabia recently hit the headlines for bearing a striking resemblance to the US version of the show.
Al Maktab was first revealed to be in the works early last year, before clips began circulating online this February.
The 20-episode season was produced by MBC Studios and BBC Studios and began filming in June 2022.
Andre Renaud, the senior VP format sales for BBC Studios, told The Hollywood Reporter: ‘Although office working may look slightly different for many of us in 2022, the familiarity of these well-observed characters as they navigate petty rivalries, moments of friendship and humour, and a boss that sometimes makes a fool of themselves still rings just as true,
‘I’m sure audiences in the Middle East and the Gulf will take Malik and his team to their hearts as much as audiences did with David Brent in the UK over 20 years ago.’
One clip shared online showed the Arab version re-creating the famous fire drill scene from the American version of the show.
A Twitter user wrote: ‘Even though I don’t understand what’s being said, they did a phenomenal job at recreating the scene.’
The most recent remake in Saudi Arabia (pictured) recently hit the headlines for bearing a striking resemblance to the US version of the show
Finland’s re-make Konttori (cast pictured) proved more of a hit, however, lasting for three seasons between 2017 and 2019
The Office Poland has seen two seasons since being launched in 2021
Actor, Fahad Albutairi, who stars in the Arab version, replied to the tweet: ‘Thank you so much for sharing this. We actually had to shoot this episode last in the season, because we already knew we were gonna tear down the set doing it… which we did.’
He said the second half of the episodes would be ‘complete originals’.
The Office Australia is executive produced by Julie De Fina (Aftertaste), Jackie van Beek (The Breaker Upperers), and Kylie Washington.
‘We are thrilled to be bringing one of the biggest comedy franchises ever made to Prime Video customers in Australia and around the world,’ said Sarah Christie, senior development executive Prime Video Australia in a statement.
‘It is an honour to continue the international comedy legacy of The Office locally while introducing new, quintessentially Australian characters.’
‘We can’t wait for audiences to meet Hannah Howard, the first female boss The Office format has explored.’
The Office Australia is co-produced by BBC Studios ANZ, Bunya Entertainment, and Amazon Studios, and is based on a BBC Studios format.