The Office Downunder

Felicity Ward

First was the UK’s David Brent, then came the US’s Michael Scott. Now, middle management has a new archetype in Aussie Hannah Howard. Prime Video, BBC Studios Australia and New Zealand, and Bunya Entertainment today announced The Office Australia, a new Australian comedy series from the global hit juggernaut franchise The Office, with its first-ever female lead in the iconic role, comedian and actor Felicity Ward (Wakefield, The Inbetweeners 2).

The Office Australia will exclusively launch in 2024 on Prime Video globally (excluding the US) in more than 240 countries and territories and will be available with Prime membership. Prime members across the globe enjoy savings, convenience, and entertainment, all in a single membership.

In The Office Australia, Hannah Howard is the managing director of the packaging company Flinley Craddick. When she gets news from Head Office that they will be shutting down her branch and making everyone work from home, she goes into survival mode, making promises she can’t keep to keep her “work family” together. The staff of Flinley Craddick indulge her and must endure Hannah’s outlandish plots as they work toward the impossible targets set for them.

Over 20 years ago, the world was introduced to the wonderfully bleak mockumentary world of The Office, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. While many aspects of the workplace have changed since then, especially post-2020, the physical office is a timeless precinct for comedy that will never tire an audience as long as the characters are authentic, familiar, faced with relatable dilemmas, and, most importantly, entertaining and hilarious.

This universal appeal has seen the BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winning cult comedy remade for audiences worldwide, including France, Canada, Chile, Israel, India, the Middle East, and Poland, where a third series has just been announced. This Australian version will be its 13th adaptation.

Ricky Gervais, co-creator, co-writer, and star of The Office, shared that he was excited about the Australian remake.

“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 I can’t wait to see how they navigate a modern-day David Brent,” commented Gervais. 

Production on the eight-part Australian Amazon Original series will commence in Sydney, Australia, in June, with filming to take place over eight weeks. In addition to Felicity Ward’s Hannah Howard, The Office Australia stars Edith Poor (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Power of the Dog), Steen Raskopoulos (The Duchess, Feel Good), Shari Sebbens (The Sapphires, Thor: Love and Thunder), Josh Thomson (How to Please a Woman, Young Rock), Jonny Brugh (Thor: Love and Thunder, What We Do in the Shadows), Pallavi Sharda (The Twelve), Susan Ling Young  (Reckoning, Hungry Ghosts), Raj Labade, Lucy Schmit, and  Firass Dirani (Underbelly, House Husbands).

The Office Australia continues Prime Video’s investment in distinctive and bold local comedy series production, following the recent launch of Class of ’07 and with Deadloch launching on Prime Video this Friday, June 2.

Sarah Christie, senior development executive of Prime Video Australia, shared that the company was thrilled to be bringing one of the biggest comedy franchises ever made to Prime Video customers in Australia and around the world. 

Christie continued that it was 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,” Christie added. 

Kylie Washington, general manager and creative production director at BBC Studios ANZ, said The Office has connected with audiences worldwide because everyone recognises their own David Brent. Now it’s Australia’s turn. 

“We figured the world is ready for a lovable, flawed lady boss, ruling over her packaging empire in The Office Australia. I’m excited to partner with Bunya Entertainment and Prime Video to reimagine an iconic show with some very Aussie characters,” said Washington. This is the first scripted project from BBC Studios ANZ. 

Sophia Zachariou, producer and co-managing director of Bunya Entertainment, said that Wernham Hogg’s David Brent was a leading light in comedy. 

“The Office UK made the mockumentary form available to a broad 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,” stated Zachariou. 

The Office Australia is co-produced by BBC Studios ANZ, Bunya Entertainment, and Amazon Studios and is based on a BBC Studios format. The Office Australia is executive produced by Julie De Fina (Aftertaste), Jackie van Beek (The Breaker Upperers, What We Do in the Shadows, Wellington Paranormal), and Kylie Washington, with lead producers Sophia Zachariou (The Moth Effect, The Chaser’s War on Everything, Gruen, The Checkout), Linda Micsko (The Letdown, Laid), and Greer Simpkin (Mystery Road, In Limbo). Van Beek serves as lead set-up director, with De Fina as head writer. Christiaan Van Vuuren (Bondi Hipsters, A Sunburnt Christmas, Dom and Adrian) and Jesse Griffin (Educators) will also direct the series.

BBC Studios Production ANZ is part of BBC Studios International Production and Formats division.