LONDON: MBC Studios and its flagship streaming platform Shahid on Wednesday celebrated the launch of the Arabic version of hit series “The Office” among its stars and producers.
The ceremony, held at the Hilton Riyadh Hotel, began with a red-carpet showing, followed by the airing of the first two episodes of the sitcom and a press conference with the show’s cast and makers.
Called “Al-Maktab” in Arabic, the series has been produced by MBC Studios and will be shown on the VIP package Shahid from Friday.
Co-written by Nawaf Al-Shubaili, Fahd Al-Butairi, Louay Felimban, and Noha Saadi, and directed by Hisham Fathi, the cast includes Saleh Abu Amra, Saad Aziz, and several Saudi actors.
Writer and actor in the comedy series, Fahad Al-Butairi, said: “We had challenges, mainly because we admired British and American work, but we reinvented the idea in a Saudi way.
“We reviewed characters who are parallel to the main characters and not a copy of them. I mean, we tried to find the same character models but made them belong to Saudi society and come from different backgrounds in Saudi society.”
Cast member, Mariam Abdulrahman, told Arab News: “Because it is the first Arabic version, it is a great deal for us, and the original version contains a high degree of daring. But we were able to make the series in a beautiful and reconcilable way with the Saudi culture.”
And Nahed Nabah said: “My character is a bit serious, but I’m excited about the series. Everything about this journey of making this show was great and will be exciting until the last episode.”
The show follows the daily routines of the Saudi employees at the Postal Services Co., in Riyadh. The office is run by Malik Al-Tawfi, a rude, narcissistic manager who constantly lands himself and his staff in embarrassing situations.
Other characters include an ambitious salesman prepared to do anything to impress his manager, and a shy young worker dominated by her brother who works in reception.