The Office is getting a post-COVID remake – in Australia with a female lead

The Office is coming to Australia in a new adaptation for Prime Video, starring its first-ever female lead.

Australian comedian and actor Felicity Ward will be taking on the middle-manager role originated by Ricky Gervais.

The Australian rendition will star Ward as Hannah Howard, the managing director of packaging company Flinley Craddick.

Prime Video said the story follows Howard in a post-COVID plot twist when she gets news from head office that her branch will be shutting down and that staff will have to work from home.

The character, Howard, then goes into survival mode and launches outlandish plots in order to keep her “work family” together.

“The staff of Flinley Craddick indulge her and must endure Howard’s outlandish plots as they work toward the impossible targets that have been set for them,” Prime Video said in a press release.

The filming of the eight-part series will commence in Sydney in June. It will be co-produced by Amazon Studios, BBC Studios ANZ and Bunya Entertainment.

The series will also star Edith Poor, Steen Raskopoulos, Shari Sebbens and Josh Thomson.

‘A modern-day David Brent’

The new take on the show will be the 13th adaptation of The Office, as the comedy series has been remade in countries including India, Israel, Canada, Chile, France and Poland.

The best-known and most successful take on the original UK series starring Ricky Gervais is the US version of The Office, starring Steve Carell, which ran for nine seasons.

Gervais and Stephen Merchant created the original British show, which ran for two series to great acclaim from 2001 until 2003.

In a statement that accompanied the announcement of the Australian adaptation, Gervais said: “I’m very excited about Australia remaking my little show from the turn of the century.

“Office politics have changed a bit in 20 years, so can’t wait to see how they navigate a modern-day David Brent.”

Sarah Christie, senior development executive of Prime Video Australia, said: “We are thrilled to be bringing one of the biggest comedy franchises ever made to Prime Video customers in Australia and around the world.

“It is an honour to continue the international comedy legacy of The Office locally while introducing new, quintessentially Australian characters.

“We can’t wait for audiences to meet Hannah Howard, the first female boss The Office format has explored.”

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Who is Felicity Ward?

Felicity Ward was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1980 and is a comedian and writer.

She’s best known for her TV appearances on Thank God You’re Here, Good News Week and Spicks and Specks.

The comedian has also hosted The Comedy Hour on Radio ABC Melbourne.

At the 2008 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Ward performed her debut full-length solo stand-up show, “Felicity Ward’s Ugly as A Child Variety Show”.

The 42-year-old has also shared her excitement with fans in an Instagram post after The Office announcement.

She said: “ooft. here we go then. Yep, I’m playing the lead in the Australian version of #theoffice. OMFG. absolutely cannot believe it.”

Ward was met with support from fellow comics and fans.

One social media user said: “Genius casting. Genius Felicity. Can’t freaking wait.”

Another said: “Congrats! No better person for the job.”

The Office Australia will exclusively launch in 2024 on Prime Video globally in more than 240 countries (excluding the US).