Thursday, February 23, 2006


For the first time, 'The Office' franchise is being translated into a foreign language. 'Le Bureau', as the show will be called, will take the same approach that NBC did in translating the scripts for an American audience.

"This is the first time that the scripts have been translated into a foreign language but we are confident it will work," says a BBC spokesperson.

"We're not talking about a literal translation - we had a team who went over to France to work with the French scriptwriters to produce something that will work with a French audience. Ricky Gervais has also been involved.

"The scripts have been Gallicised for a French audience - but the beauty of the original was that it played on universal values, the workplace and what happens around the coffee machine."

The BBC said it was confident that the remake of such a quintessentially British comedy will strike a chord in France and still maintain the spirit of the original when it appears on the pay-TV channel Canal Plus in May.

The "mockumentary", which exploits the comic divide between an over-zealous boss and a monotonous workplace in the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, has already spawned an American version, which looks to be headed for a third season (one more than the British original).

The French version also locates its cast at a paper merchants in a less-than-dynamic provincial town. Instead of Slough, 'Le Bureau' will be set in Villepinte, a town north of Paris once known for producing beetroot and home to one of France's largest business parks.

The David Brent character becomes Gilles Triquet, played by the veteran film and television actor François Berléand.

Although it might be interesting to see how the show would work if it was translated for a Chinese audience (How long before the young lovers in the office are run over by tanks?), I'm thinking the next step should be to set the show in the far future. Have it be about some jerk functionary in a dull bureaucratic cubbyhole of Starfleet. Let the focus of the show be someone who thinks his paper-pushing (an antiquated term by then, of course) has some grand effect on the galaxy.

I'll bet there was a David Brent type of character on board 'Babylon 5'!

But whether he was Centauri or Minbari.....?


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