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A Night At The Office

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Ricky Gervais | 17:00 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009

The Office - David BrentI was very pleased when I heard that the BBC were planning a retrospective of The Office. Usually they make those things when the creator dies. This way I can watch it myself. Perfect.

The success of the show seems more surreal now than it did at the time. I think that's because it has never quite gone away. I feel like I manage "The Estate" of The Office every day. "So and so want to use a clip"..."no". "Russia want to do a remake".."yes." I wouldn't have it any other way though. Ownership is paramount.

The biggest thrill for me, (and Steve), was that we were making something purely to please us. We made our own little pilot in the real office that I worked in for 7 or 8 years, and we made it on our terms. There was absolutely no interference from anyone, which to this day, is unheard of. I think if we'd have just sent the script off it would still be in a big pile on someone's desk. "David Brent says something unfunny then looks awkwardly at the camera and touches his tie" doesn't jump off the page does it. We had to show them what we meant. Not just for them to get it it but also to show them we were the right people to write, direct and star in it. If they didn't want it on those terms they couldn't have it at all. I said as much at the first meeting we had at the BBC. After the meeting Steve said "Rick, can I do the talking in future". He was sure we'd blown it. We hadn't.

I remind him of this anecdote now and again, smug in the knowledge that we never compromised. He points out that if it had gone differently we might be sleeping in a car now. Such is life. You never know what you're going to get - unlike a box of chocolates, in which the different centres are clearly described. (even Forrest Gump's mum was an idiot).

Join Ricky and friends for A Night At The Office: this Sunday from 9pm on BBC Two and watch exclusive videos about the show right now on Comedy Extra.



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