The first Arabic language version of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s British cult comedy classic The Office will air in the Middle East later this year, following a deal struck between licence holder BBC Studios and local producer-broadcaster MBC.
Airing on the network’s TV channels and via streamer Shahid VIP, the 20-part series will be renamed Al Maktab and produced by MBC Studios, with Egyptian filmmaker Hisham Fathi directing.
Unlike the original, the Middle Eastern version will be set in a courier services company, helmed by Malik Al-Tuwaif, the self-absorbed yet lovable boss played by Saleh Abuamrh.
Created by and starring Gervais and Merchant, the British cult classic ran for two seasons on the BBC two decades ago before being remade to acclaim in the U.S. by NBC, led by Steve Carell.
Local versions have been produced in 10 other territories including France, Germany, Canada, Israel, India and, most recently Poland, but the MBC version is the first in the Arabic language.
André Renaud, BBC Studios’ SVP Format Sales, said: “Although office working may look slightly different for many of us in 2022, the familiarity of these well-observed characters as they navigate petty rivalries, moments of friendship and humour, and a boss that sometimes makes a fool of themselves still rings just as true