IT has been 20 years since cult classic The Office hit TV screens following the tribulations of office employees at the Slough branch of the Wernham Hogg paper company.
The comedy, penned and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who met while working at radio station XFM, became one of Britain’s most successful exports.
While the show’s creators were behind some of the noughties most successful comedies, like Extras and An Idiot Abroad, they haven’t worked together since 2013.
Here, we reveal what happened to them and their most memorable work colleagues.
Ricky Gervais (David Brent)
As well as co-creating the show, Ricky Gervais, 60, starred as the cringe-worthy office manager – a role that catapulted him to global fame and netted him a slew of awards.
When the series became a success he said: “I didn’t expect it. I thought it might be a cult hit and accepted on a small level.”
He went onto be a successful stand-up comedian and appeared in Hollywood blockbusters.
In 2016 he resumed his role for the movie David Brent: Life on the Road, but it failed to impress fans and critics.
He created and appeared in award-winning comedies Extras, Derek and After Life.
When he and Stephen stopped working together they cited creative differences for their split.
Ricky caused controversy during his stint as Golden Globes host in 2020 with an obscene monologue that included jokes about actors being hypocrites and awards voters being racist.
He is a huge advocate for animal rights and lives in London with his partner of almost 40 years, TV producer Jane Fallon, 60.
Ricky has vowed not to bring The Office back saying that seeing David at 60 would be “just sad”.
Stephen Merchant (Oggy)
When the series launched, Stephen Merchant, 46, said it was the “best thing I have ever done” but later said: “The Office didn’t seem like any great revolution to us; it was just in retrospect, there wasn’t anything like it at the time.”
Stephen appeared in one episode as a character named Nathan ‘Oggy’ aka The Oggmonster.
His dad Ron also appeared in several episodes as Gordon, the Office’s handyman.
He continued to work with Ricky on TV comedies Extras and Life’s Too Short.
Afterwards he co-created the TV show Lip Sync battle and US sitcom Hello Ladies and appeared in movies Jojo Rabbit and Logan.
He is about to play serial killer Stephen Port in BBC One’s The Barking Murders has created and directed film The Offenders.
He lives in LA with American actress Mircea Monroe in a LA home previously owned by Ellen DeGeneres.
Martin Freeman (Tim Canterbury)
Martin Freeman, 49, portrayed hapless romantic sales rep Tim, who had a long-standing crush on receptionist Dawn (Lucy Davis).
He said: “It was the show that made the difference between people knowing who I was and not – people on buses, people on the street, and people in the industry. It meant that I had to audition a lot less.”
He went onto appear in Sherlock, The Hobbit film trilogy, Fargo, Love Actually and Marvel films Black Panther and Captain America.
He’s back in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever next year.
He’s won rave reviews for his latest role as angry dad Paul Worsley in dark comedy Breeders, a show he created.
It was rumoured that a feud with his Sherlock co-star led to the end of Sherlock after Benedict Cumberbatch labelled him “pathetic”.
The dad of two split from actress Amanda Abbington in 2016, after 16 years.
Martin lives in London and is believed to be dating actress Rachel Mariam who is 22 years his junior.
Lucy Davis (Dawn Tinsley)
Lucy Davis, 48, played bored receptionist Dawn; she fancied sales rep Tim, despite being engaged to childhood sweetheart Lee.
She said about the show: “If I ever saw any of the cast, I’d be delighted, but naturally, we fell apart.”
Lucy, who is the daughter of Brummie comedian Jasper Carrott moved to LA after the show ended, picking up a string of supporting acting roles in the likes of Ugly Betty and the Shaun of the Dead movie.
Her big break came in 2017 as Etta Candy in Wonder Woman then starred in the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
She wed actor Owain Yeoman in 2006 but divorced in 2018. She recently posted to her Instagram #freeandsingle.
Lucy’s had a tough time healthwise; she battled bulimia, suffered kidney failure for the second time in 2005 (she underwent a kidney transplant in 1997).
Then, last year she was rushed to hospital with Covid-19 type symptoms, only to be admitted with another virus.
Mackenzie Crook (Gareth Keenan)
Mackenzie Crook, 49, played irritating salesman Gareth who was proud of his TA status and often the victim of Tim’s pranks.
He said: “I’m happy to call The Office my incredibly lucky break…I don’t mind if people point and laugh at me.”
He has enjoyed a varied career; in the Pirates of the Caribbean blockbusters and wrote and directed BBC Four comedy Detectorists, winning a BAFTA.
Last year, he wrote, directed and starred in Worzel Gummidge.
He has previously admitted to feeling uncomfortable with fame, saying, “I had a neck injury, and the doctor reckoned it was a ten-year-old injury, and I couldn’t think of anything specific that I had done.
“I wondered whether it could be ten years of hiding under a baseball cap.”
Mackenzie lives in London with his wife Lindsay and their two children.
He recently said: “A reunion would spoil The Office; I don’t think Ricky and Stephen would revive the characters.”
Ralph Ineson (Chris Finch)
Ralph Ineson, 51, played Wernham Hogg’s most unlikable staff member Finchy – a misogynist loud-mouth who was rude to everyone.
But he recently admitted: “To say I’m tired of every part I’ve played for the last 20 years being cross-referenced with Finchy would be an understatement.”
He has picked up roles in Coronation Street, Spooks, Playing the Field and drama Chernobyl.
He has appeared in three Harry Potter movies and critically acclaimed film The Witch, and this year alone he stars in five new films.
He lives in London with his wife Ali and two children.
Ewen MacIntosh (Keith Bishop)
Accountant Keith was a man of few words who enjoyed munching on Scotch eggs and could make a top Ali G impression.
Ewen MacIntosh, 47, has struggled to secure roles since the show ended and was even snubbed for a job that wanted ‘a Keith from The Office’.
He’s had bit parts in EastEnders, Miranda, Little Britain, Casualty and The Lobster movie and appeared on Pointless and Come Dine With Me.
In 2016, he was declared bankrupt, owing thousands to the taxman.
During lockdown, he started charging £45 to give fans a video shout out.
This week he told the Sun on Sunday: “I’m incredibly proud of the show – it changed my life.
“Twenty years later, I’m still acting, and I’m still mates with Ricky. We’ve kept in touch over the years. And, I will be appearing with him in series 3 of After Life.”
Stirling Gallacher (Jennifer Taylor-Clarke)
General manager Jennifer Taylor-Clarke was the posh office totty who Brent nicknamed Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Afterwards Stirling Gallacher, 50, spent six years in Doctors and married on-screen hubby, Seán Gleeson.
She played Sophie Webster’s love interest, Paula Martin in Coronation Street and police officer Ffion Morgan in Casualty.
Away from acting, she is also an upholster.
Stirling, who lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire. said: “I had an IT job at the BBC when I got the job in The Office, and after a day filming, I’d go back to my real job.”
Joel Beckett (Lee)
Joel played Dawn’s working-class fiancé Lee, who often mistreated her.
In 2004 he hot-footed over to EastEnders to play ladies’ man Jake Moon for two years then had a brief appearance in Coronation Street.
His last known acting role was in the 2018 Brit Horror flick The Snarling; he currently resides in Norfolk.
He said: “One of the most amazing things about The Office was no one knew what they were doing.
“Ricky and Stephen had just been given the reins, and we didn’t know if it would be any good – there was a lot of improvisation.”
Patrick Baladi (Neil Godwin)
Patrick Baladi, 49, played Swindon branch manager Neil, who, after a company merger, became David Brent’s boss.
He has portrayed Dodi Al-Fayed in the TV movie Diana: Last Days of a Princess and appeared in comedy Stella, Line of Duty and Marcella.
He has turned down Strictly Come Dancing twice.
He currently plays recording studio boss Darren in Breeders, the comedy created by Martin Freeman.
Patrick is in the band Grow Up with best pal Keith Allen and has played Glastonbury.
He also runs an antique store in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
He said Ricky was a “force who deliberately makes the cast laugh, so we have to do 40 retakes.”