The Office is a British mockumentary sitcom, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 9 July 2001. Created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the programme is about the day-to-day lives of office employees in the Slough branch of the fictitious Wernham Hogg Paper Company. Gervais also stars in the series, playing the central character, David Brent.
Two six-episode series were made, along with a pair of 45-minute Christmas specials. When it was first shown on BBC Two, it was nearly cancelled due to low ratings, but it has since become one of the most successful of all British comedy exports. As well as being shown internationally on BBC Worldwide, channels such as BBC Prime, BBC America and BBC Canada, the series has been sold to broadcasters in over 80 countries, including ABC1 in Australia, The Comedy Network in Canada, TVNZ in New Zealand and the pan-Asian satellite channel STAR World, based in Hong Kong. The show began airing in The United States on Cartoon Network's late night programing block, Adult Swim on 18 September 2009 until 2012.
The show centres on themes of social clumsiness, the trivialities of human behaviour, self-importance and conceit, frustration, desperation and fame.
The success of the show led to a number of localised adaptations (based upon its basic story and themes) being produced for the television markets of other nations, resulting in an international Office franchise.