DUBAI: BBC Studios and Dubai-based MBC Studios have partnered up for the first Arab adaptation of award-winning British comedy series “The Office.”
Titled “Al Maktab,” the Arabic edition of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant-directed series will be set in Saudi Arabia. The 20-episode show will be directed by Egyptian filmmaker Hisham Fathi alongside Alessandro Martella as the director of photography.
Set in a courier services company, “Al Maktab” follows the company’s self-absorbed boss, Malik Al-Tuwaifi, who is played by actor Saleh Abuamrh.
Also joining the cast are Fahad Albutairi, Nawaf Alshobaili, Saad Aziz, Adhwa Fahad, Razan Mansour, Reem Busati and Hisham Hawsawi, among other local talents.
Production on the MBC Studios original is set to begin in June as it is expected to air on MBC’s TV channels, and stream on its Shahid VIP streaming platform later this year.
“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,” said André Renaud, SVP Format Sales for BBC Studios in a released statement.
“I’m sure audiences in the Middle East and the Gulf will take Malik and his team to their hearts as much as audiences did with David Brent in the UK over twenty years ago,” he added.
“’Al Maktab’ features a very talented cast from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and beyond who will bring the stories of this eccentric group of colleagues and their boss to life, reimagined for Middle Eastern and Gulf audiences for the very first time. It’s definitely one for the history books,” said Zeinab Abul Alsamh, general manager of MBC Studios KSA.
“Al Maktab” marks the twelfth international adaptation of “The Office” format, following the US, Canada, Chile, France, India and, most recently, Poland.
The forthcoming show is the latest Arabic-language adaptation of a popular English television series.
An Arabic remake of smash-hit legal drama “Suits” launched in April.