Prime Video has commissioned a new Australian version of The Office with Felicity Ward taking the role of Hannah Howard, the new show’s version of David Brent.
BBC Studios Australia and New Zealand and Bunya Entertainment are jointly producing the new 8-part sitcom that will be aired globally on Prime Video outside the US. Production is due to start soon in Sydney.
Alongside the US version of The Office starring Steve Carell, the format has been remade in territories including France, Canada, Chile, Israel, India, the Middle East and Poland. The new Australian version will be the first with a woman taking the lead role.
In the Australian remake, Ward’s Hannah Howard is the md of a packaging company called Flinley Craddick. Also starring are Edith Poor, Steen Raskopoulos, Shari Sebbens, Josh Thomson, Jonny Brugh, Pallavi Sharda, Susan Ling Young, Raj Labade, Lucy Schmit, and Firass Dirani.
The lead writer is Julie De Fina. Lead director is Jackie van Beek director. Both De Fina and van Beek are also execs alongside BBC Studios ANZ general manager and creative director Kylie Washington. Producers are Sophia Zachariou, Linda Micsko and Greer Simpkin. Christiaan Van Vuuren and Jesse Griffin have also been lined up to direct.
Ricky 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.”
Sophia Zachariou, producer and co-managing director of Bunya Entertainment, said: “To me, Wernham Hogg’s David Brent was a leading light in comedy. The Office UK made the mockumentary form available to a wide audience, and that was its sheer brilliance. I can only hope that global audiences find our Aussie take on The Office as funny, self-deprecating, and believable as those that have gone before it.”
“We are thrilled to be bringing one of the biggest comedy franchises ever made to Prime Video customers in Australia and around the world,” said Sarah Christie senior development executive Prime Video Australia.
“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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