The Office (UK): Season 1 (2001)


Season 1
The Office (UK)

Critics Consensus

With a first season that altered the TV comedy landscape, the original British version of The Office proves the most mundane parts of daily life can be as hilarious as they are cringeworthy.



Critic Ratings: 22

Audience Score

User Ratings: 0

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Air date: Jul 9, 2001
Air date: Jul 16, 2001
Air date: Jul 23, 2001
Air date: Jul 30, 2001
Air date: Aug 13, 2001
Air date: Aug 20, 2001

The Office (UK): Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Wickedly funny mockumentary tracking the monotonous doings at a paper-product firm in the dreary London suburb of Slough.


Ricky Gervais
as David Brent
MacKenzie Crook
as Gareth Keenan
Ralph Ineson
as Chris Finch
Oliver Chris
as Ricky Howard
Robin Hooper
as Malcolm
Stirling Gallacher
as Jennifer Taylor Clark
Lucy Davis
as Dawn Tinsley
Nicola Cotter
as Karen Roper
Sterling Gallacher
as Jennifer Taylor Clark
Robin Ince
as Stuart Foot
Tiffany Stevenson-Oake
as Girl in Nightclub 1
Ellen Collier
as Girl in Nightclub 2
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Critic Reviews for The Office (UK) Season 1

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (13)

Gervais is also goofily spot-on in what he doesn't say; the show, shot in documentary style, has him continually directing self-consciously insecure sideways glances at the camera, always to amusing effect.

Jun 28, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A half-hour of the first season still works like an anti-emetic after the all-you-can-eat binge-fest of the recent sweeps week. After the full 40 minutes, I'm as good as new.

Jan 30, 2018 | Full Review…

But the British office was mean where the American office is nice. And that's better.

Nov 8, 2017 | Full Review…

"The Office" isn't a place anyone in his or her right mind would want to work, but shadowing these characters for a half-hour is entertainment at its most brilliantly nuanced.

May 3, 2019 | Full Review…

The brilliance of the series lies in this juxtaposition of the seemingly boring with the outrageous.

Sep 7, 2018 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Even though some thought it wasn't funny at all, due to its cringe-worthy humour and awkward characters, it's certainly an achievement to take all of these terribly unlikeable people and make us fall in love with them.

Aug 14, 2018 | Full Review…

There is no laugh track, no frenetic action, no too-clever sex jokes, no cute daydreams, no outsize office kooks... The Office is perfect as it is, a sharp, ill-tempered slice of life.

Jul 2, 2018 | Full Review…

It's a wonderful, subversive concept, and by failing to romanticize the players, Office remains true to its ghastly, funny self.

Feb 4, 2019 | Full Review…

The first time you watch the show, you really don't believe what you're seeing.

Sep 7, 2018 | Full Review…

Ricky Gervais, who writes the series with its director, Stephen Merchant, brilliantly plays the office boss, David Brent, as a self-deluded loser...

Jun 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Office (UK): Season 1

  • Dec 17, 2018
    So, sooooo damn brilliant, on so many levels. Original levals, at that as well. S2 has a senselessly overarching depressive theme, but even so, it is MILES better than Steve Carrell & the US version.
  • Nov 23, 2018
    Absolutely legend. A giant's head s & shoulders better than the US version. SO damn genius.
  • Oct 06, 2018
    this is a ripoff the american version is like the barak obama and the uk is donald trump, they should take the office uk and throw it into the trash light it on fire and then die ok bye
  • Sep 04, 2018
    (all seasons) The mockumentary style and everyone's acting convey an authenticity that's very rare, and that's the case with the array of awkward moments taking up most of the show's time to the extent where it can be hard to watch due to the high levels of pure cringe. That's how well-made this is. Gervais tackles Brent in an excellent way and Freeman absolutely shines in one of the most likable roles. Brent is a one-of-a-kind creation but it's the subtle characterization of the others that makes this fly.
  • Jan 18, 2018
    The office (U.K) follows the lives of several middle-class people employed in Wernham Hogg, a paper company in Slough, a dull town that breeds high amounts of both disgust, and boredom. In order to maintain sanity, the workers resort to a never-ending series of pranks, usually at the expense of the dreary Gareth, a frightening looking young man who never tires of reminding viewers of his service in the Army. The most relentless prankster is Tim, a 33-year-old loser who still lives at home with his parents, and is one of the few who knows that he’s throwing his life away. And then we have Dawn, the receptionist who flirts with Tim, but maintains her engagement with the incredibly dull Lee, who works in the warehouse in the lower quartile of the office building. Other memorable characters include Chris Finch (a typically dickish sales rep), Keith (an overweight middle-aged man who does little but stare at his computer), and Jennifer, the manager of the company who sees through every member of staff and their immature ways. Memorable TV characters come and go, but none as simultaneously loveable and loathsome as David Brent, played by the brilliant Ricky Gervais. Gervais inhabits this character so fully and with such complexity it’s truly magnificent— he’s incredibly offensive, endearing, cheeky, hilarious, and absolutely clueless, often all in the same scene. During my first watch, I was truly perplexed at his talent. Although never personally working in an office environment he’s entirely believable; creating the sort of boss that exists throughout the world as an example of how even the smallest amount of authority will turn any man into a bit of an arrogant asshole. He’s demeaning and patronising towards his employees, almost always asinine, and easily the laziest man ever to rise through the ranks of a major corporation, but that’s what makes him so entertaining to watch. What makes these characters so memorable is that they are in a sense so much themselves. For example, I love Gervais’ character because, despite his obvious insecurities, he believes the crap he peddles, and would be genuinely shocked to know how much his fellow employees hate him. Or perhaps hate is too strong a word, although they certainly find him a source of unintentional amusement. The show also manages to rise above the clutter of Television stereotypes completely rejecting the idea that plots must move in a linear, predictable way with clear starts and finishes. With the Office, each episode just sort of begins, and as the show is shot as a ‘documentary’, we are enabled to watch a level of self-awareness on the part of the characters that would be doomed to failure in a thousand other programs. When David utters a remark that shocks the office with its insensitivity and explicit nature, Tim will sort of glance at the camera in disbelief and for some reason, it seems the most natural response. He seems to be saying, “Did you catch that? Am I crazy, or did he really just say that?” The stories are also occasionally interrupted by character ‘interviews,’ where we learn more information about each person, or hear ‘confidential’ commentary that might not be acceptable to the rest of the staff. And then there’s the background action, one of the funniest examples of this is when Tim is explaining the professionalism of the office, the camera pans quickly to a hyena-like David as he stands over a man who is having his pants pulled off by a cheering crowd. The struggling man is stripped clean, right down to his genitals. Because the scene develops out of literally nowhere, you can’t help, but laugh at its absurdity, but we never question it. Yes, this could very well happen at a place like Wernham Hogg… it’s just that random. As for critical success, This gut-busting comedy won a Golden Globe award for best comedy series and was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant, it’s honestly one of, if not the most hysterical sit-coms I can ever recall watching and would be hard to top.

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