Titled “Al Maktab,” the Arabic redo of the groundbreaking BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning British comedy series will be set in Saudi Arabia.
Egypt’s Hisham Fathi (“Ending So Gently”) will direct with Italy’s Alessandro Martella serving a director of photography and Ryad-based AFLAM Productions’ Shadi Mcdad handling line producer duties.
Cameras are set to roll in June on this MBC Studios original on which the BBC Studios international production team, who have licensed the format, will also have input.
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.
In the Saudi adaptation, “Al Maktab” is set in a courier services company, with the protagonist played by Saleh Abuamrh (“The Fates Hotel”) as 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.
“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,” said André Renaud, SVP format sales for BBC Studios in a 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 U.K. over twenty years ago,” he added.
“Audiences around the world, including in the MENA region, are no strangers to ‘The Office’, and given its huge success over the past two decades, it’s incredibly exciting for us to now be bringing the very first Arabic version of the comedy to MBC’s screens very soon,” said Zeinab Abul Alsamh, general manager of MBC Studios KSA.
“’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!,” she added.
The original version of “The Office” was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the U.K. over 20 years ago.
The agreement between MBC and the BBC Studios marks the twelfth international adaptation of “The Office” format, following the U.S., Canada, Chile, France, India and, most recently, Poland.