The Office

Written by and starring comedian Ricky Gervais, spoof fly-on-the-wall documentary The Office is one of the cult series of the 21st century. When the comedy first appeared on our television screens in 2001, some viewers wondered if David Brent - the truly awful general manager of the Slough branch of Wernham Hogg paper merchants - was a real person!

In fact, he's the horrendous creation of stand-up comic Gervais and series co-writer Stephen Merchant. Gervais plays Brent, the boss who's a legend in his own imagination. He thinks he's witty, loveable and popular with the staff, so when Wernham Hogg becomes the subject of a TV documentary, naturally, he's at the forefront of the action.

However, his antics couldn't possibly be more cringeworthy, as he bumbles his way through a host of embarrassing scenarios, when his interactions with the staff make viewers physically shudder! He doesn't realise his colleagues think he's immature, rude, extremely irritating and insensitive.

The sitcom follows the day-to-day life of the staff, who live under the permanent cloud of Brent's dreadful management skills - or lack of them. Many of the staff are quirky in their own way, with traits that lead viewers to recognise they've worked with someone like that at some point in their life.

Sales rep Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman) is well-liked at the office, despite his personal belief that his job is pointless but his private life leaves much to be desired, as he's around 30 years old and still living with his parents.

Tim's desk mate Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook) is a creepy, pretentious little man, who's totally lacking in humour and always bragging about serving in the Territorial Army. He thinks his military prowess makes him a great team leader at Wernham Hogg but in reality, none of his colleagues respect him in the slightest, making his title meaningless as they take no notice of him.

Long-suffering receptionist Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis) shoulders the brunt of her boss's attempts at humour, pretending to be amused while screaming inside.

Brent has many legendary quotes but he genuinely believes them. He tells his colleagues he's a "chilled-out entertainer" and "rock and roll through and through". When he wants colleagues to vacate his office, he tells them, "Can you leave now, please? I've got stuff to do. I've got laughter to give."

One thing David Brent thinks he can do is dance - sadly, not many people would agree with him. His famous impromptu dance to MC Hammer is wrong on every level. He gyrates and waves his arms about like a windmill, while his staff try to look impressed - definitely one of the highlights of the series.

The Office was broadcast on BBC2 from 2001 until 2003, later returning for Christmas and Comic Relief specials. The series won several awards including the British Comedy Awards' Best New TV Comedy in 2001, Best TV Comedy in 2002 and the Best TV Comedy Actor award for Gervais. It was the first ever British comedy to win the Golden Globe Award for Best TV series in 2003, when Gervais also won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series.

Starring Steve Carell as manager Michael Stott and Pam Beesly as receptionist Jenna Fischer, an American version of The Office was made that ran for nine series from 2005 to 2013. The British series was sold to more than 80 countries, including the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

Although David Brent and The Office make for great comedy, in the real world, working in a crazy office environment like Wernham Hogg would be disastrous for business! Running a tight ship is crucial to the success of any professional establishment - and that's where ISGUS UK comes in. Our Time and Attendance, Access Control, Plant Data Collection and Staff Scheduling Solutions will keep your business on the right track, providing individually tailored packages to achieve maximum efficiency and cost savings.