More than 20 years after British comedian Ricky Gervais gave insufferable middle-manager David Brent global fame, an Australian version of the hit show “The Office” is being made, this time with a female lead.
Australian comedian Felicity Ward will play Hannah Howard, the managing director of packaging company Flinley Craddick, the Aussie version of Brent, known as Michael Scott in the hit US series, according to British broadcaster the BBC.
Since its debut in 2001, “The Office” has won multiple awards and inspired local versions in countries including Chile, Israel, India, and Poland. The Australian series is the 13th adaption and the first to cast a woman in the lead role.
According to a press release, the eight-part series follows Ward’s character as she goes into “survival mode” when the company’s head office shuts down her branch, forcing everyone to work from home.
Ward is best known for her appearances on Australian comedy programs and game shows, as well as TV mini series “Wakefield” and the film “The Inbetweeners 2.”
She has also performed at comedy festivals and tweeted Thursday that she’d been keeping her new role secret for four months.
The Australian edition is co-produced by BBC Studios Australia and New Zealand, Bunya Entertainment, and Amazon Studios.
Production begins in Sydney in June and filming is expected to take eight weeks.
In a statement, Gervais, who co-created “The Office” with Stephen Merchant said he was excited about the Australian version.
“Office politics have changed a bit in 20 years, so can’t wait to see how they navigate a modern-day David Brent,” he said.
After so many adaptations of the hit show worldwide, BBC Studios ANZ general manager and creative production director Kylie Washington said it’s now “Australia’s turn.”
“We figured the world is ready for a lovable, flawed, lady boss, ruling over her packaging empire in The Office Australia,” she said.
The new series is set to air in 240 countries from 2024.