unlike co-writer Ricky Gervais, does not feature as one of
the major characters in BBC2's award-winning spoof documentary.
It is hard to ignore him though, as Stephen, from Hanham,
stands at 6' 7" tall.
"I had a go at stand-up comedy in Bristol," the
writer told BBC Bristol.
"I am quite tall and I wear glasses - for some reason
lots of people think that is funny. I may look like a gangly
fool but the joke is on them."
David Brent was inspired by colleagues Stephen and Ricky
encountered while working in offices
It was Stephen's decision not to feature in the hit comedy
which looks at life in a paper wholesaler's office and he's
sure it was the right choice.
"There was never really a role that I thought I could
do and directing and starring in it is very hard.
"One of us is needed to guide it all together and that
From quiet beginnings, The Office has become one of the most
popular comedies of recent years.
"People tell me that it can be painful to watch the show
and you start to wonder whether you have made a hideous error,"
"We populated The Office with the types of people that
Ricky and I had met in our working lives.
"I am much younger than him so I came from the point
of view of the office temp or office junior.
"He, for many years, had an office managerial role, but
says he managed to get away with doing nothing at all."
One of Stephen and Ricky's best tips about working in an office
is to always carry a piece of paper with you.
"When challenged he [Gervais] would say he was on his
way to the photocopier. He used this successfully for seven
to eight years to avoid work."
Many think Stephen Merchant's West Country links are the
inspiration behind Gareth's accent.
The idea for the show came about after Stephen was sent out
during a BBC training course to do a day's filming.
"I had worked with Ricky in the past and I suggested
that we go into an office and film him as the character of
only had the one day and the best way to film loads was to
film it 'in the can' like a documentary.
"People seem to give more of themselves when they are
talking to a camera - it mixes up how they want to come across
as and how they are actually seen."
Stephen has always been a fan of comedy and Monty Python or
Fawlty Towers would always feature on his Christmas wish-list.
"I did my first work in the media at BBC Radio Bristol
and kinda got the bug."
After working for a short time at Radio Caroline he met Ricky
Gervais at a radio station in London and the partnership that
would eventually create The Office was formed.
"Ricky needed an assistant who knew radio. I ended up
doing all the work and he got away with murder.
"After about a month I jumped ship and joined the BBC."
The Office has just completed its second series and everyone
is asking Stephen and Ricky what their next project will be.
"We want to do other projects but we're worried that
people will switch on expecting to see Ricky as David Brent.
"My gut instinct is that he should do a secondary character
of some kind.
"At the moment I am satisfied with what we have achieved
but I am not discounting a branch out into the film industry
- that would be a lot of fun."