‘The Office’ gets a Saudi adaptation
Office hasn’t aired for years, but it remains one of the most popular television shows of all time. The comedy is loved around the world, including in Saudi Arabia, where the series is getting an Arabic-language reboot.
“The Office” has been adapted in several countries after its original broadcast on the BBC
English comedian Ricky Gervais created Office, a mockumentary-style sitcom. In the original version, which premiered on the BBC in 2001, Gervais portrayed paper company boss David Brent.
The show only lasted two seasons on the BBC and received fair ratings. But the American version, which debuted on NBC in 2005, was much more successful. It ran for nine seasons and won numerous accolades, including five Emmys and a Golden Globe for series lead Steve Carell.
Since his debut at the BBC, Office has gone through several international iterations. Germany was the first to adapt the series in 2004. And after the success of the American show, Canada released its version in 2006.
In the years that followed, many other countries restarted Office in their mother tongue, notably in France, Chile, the Czech Republic, India, Finland, Sweden, Israel and Poland.
The Saudi version of ‘The Office’ is ‘Al-Maktab’
The Middle East is now getting its own version of Office. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saudi media company MBC is collaborating with the BBC to launch an Arabic-language adaptation.
Title Al Maktab (which translates to “The Office”), the comedy will center on a courier service company run by a self-centered boss, Malik Al-Tumaifi (played by Saleh Abuamrh). The show will be directed by Egyptian director Hisham Fathi and will air across most of the Middle East and parts of North Africa.
“It’s incredibly exciting for us to bring the first-ever Arabic version of the comedy to MBC screens very soon,” enthused MBC Studios KSA Managing Director Zeinab Abu Alsamh.
“Al Maktab features a highly talented cast from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and beyond who will bring to life the stories of this eccentric group of colleagues and their boss, reimagined for audiences in the Middle East and the Gulf for the very first time,” said she added. “It’s definitely one for the history books.”
The BBC can’t wait to see the Middle Eastern version of the comedy
MBC works closely with the BBC (it still owns all format rights for Office) produce Al Maktab. And BBC Studios’ senior vice-president of format sales, André Renaud, suggested the studio is looking forward to seeing a new Modern Arabic adaptation.
“While office work may feel slightly different for many of us in 2022, the familiarity of these well-watched characters as they navigate petty rivalries, moments of friendship and humor, and a boss who sometimes makes a fool of himself always rings so true,” he said in a statement via The Hollywood Reporter.
Renaud added: “I’m sure audiences in the Middle East and the Gulf will take Malik and his team to heart as much as audiences did with David Brent in the UK over 20 years ago.”
The 20 parts Al Maktab will air on various MBC stations across the Middle East and North Africa in late 2022. The TV show will also air on Shahid VIP.
RELATED: ‘The Office’ Reboot: Cast Members Who Would Join & 1 Who Wouldn’t