British cult classic comedy The Office is getting its first Arabic-language remake, Deadline has reported. Titled Al Maktab the series results from a partnership between BBC, which owns the format rights, and MBC Studios, the production arm of Saudi-owned Middle East satellite giant MBC.
The British and American sitcoms were set around the chaotic everyday lives of employees of a paper company recorded by a camera crew for a documentary. The company is helmed by a self-absorbed yet lovable boss played by Rick Gervais and Steve Carell respectively. However, the Arabic show comes with its own updates, and it will be set in a courier company helmed by Malik Al-Tumaifi. Actor Saleh Abuamrh (the Fates Hotel) has been cast in the lead role and Egyptian filmmaker Hisham Fathi (The Franks) is set to direct. Shadi Mcdad will serve as the producer and Alessandro Martella as director of photography.
The 20-part series will air on MBC’s TV channels and via its streaming service Shahid VIP. The original British mockumentary drama created by and starring Gervais, and Stephen Merchant ran for two seasons. The show’s popularity led to an American adaption by NBC with Carell in the lead and had a successful 9 season-long run.
Arguably two of the most-watched comedies, these adaptations have bagged various BAFTA and Golden Globes over the years. BBC Studios’ André Renaud, 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 humor, and a boss that sometimes makes a fool of themselves still rings just as true.”
Over the years, the show has been remade in 10 different territories like Canada, Germany, France, India, Chile, and Poland among others. Nonetheless, the mockumentary is a first for the Middle East region. “Audiences around the world, including in the MENA region, are no strangers to The Office, and given its huge success over the past two decades, it’s incredibly exciting for us to now be bringing the very first Arabic version of the comedy to MBC’s screens very soon,” said Zeinab Abul Alsamh, general manager of MBC Studios KSA.
Along with Abuamrh bringing the iconic characters to life are actors like Fahad Albutairi, Nawaf Alshobaili, Saad Aziz, Adhwa Fahad, Razan Mansour, Reem Busati, and Hisham Hawsawi among others.
The filming of Al Maktab is set to begin later this month and will come out later this year.