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'The Office' to get Arabic remake, cameras will roll in June

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British mockumentary sitcom ‘The Office’ is set to get an Arabic language remake. Titled ‘Al Maktab’, the Arabic redo of the groundbreaking BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning comedy series will be set in Saudi Arabia, reports ‘Variety’.

As per ‘Variety’, Egypt’s Hisham Fathi (“Ending So Gently”) will direct with Italy’s Alessandro Martella serving as director of photography and Ryad-based AFLAM Productions’ Shadi Mcdad handling line producer duties. The series adaptation will go on floors in June on this MBC Studios original on which the BBC Studios international production team, who have licensed the format, will also have input.

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The plan is for the twenty-episode show to air on MBC’s linear TV channels, and stream on its Shahid VIP streaming platform later this year. The Saudi adaptation is set in a courier services company, with the main character played by Saleh Abuamrh, who plays Malik Al-Tuwaifi, the company’s self-absorbed yet lovable boss.

Also joining the cast are Fahad Albutairi, Nawaf Alshobaili, Saad Aziz, Adhwa Fahad, Razan Mansour, Reem Busati and Hisham Hawsawi among other local talents.

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Commenting on the development, Andre Renaud, SVP format sales for BBC Studios said in a statement accessed by ‘Variety’, “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 humour, and a boss that sometimes makes a fool of themselves, still rings just as true.”

“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.

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The original version of ‘The Office’ was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK over 20 years ago. The agreement between MBC and the BBC Studios marks the twelfth international adaptation of the ‘The Office’ format, following the US, Canada, Chile, France, India and, most recently, Poland.

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