Russia buys the right to have a laugh at Moscow's David Brentski

Russia has become the latest country to buy the rights to produce a version of the cult British comedy The Office, in a sign that where comedy is concerned today, Slough is not so far from Siberia. The Russian version will initially feature 24 half-hour episodes, to be aired on the Kremlin-backed First Channel.

The Slough office of Wernham Hogg paper company, headed by Ricky Gervais's obnoxious creation David Brent, hit British screens in 2001 and rapidly became a hit. The BBC announced that the production company Red Square would make 24 episodes of the Russian version, likely to be called Ofis, with the concept remaining the same but scope for changing characters and plotlines to cater to regional specifics.

So far, no details of the cast or location of the Russian version have been released. "We are obviously very eager to hear about the cast members, including who will be the David Brentski of Russia," said Ben Donald, the Russia sales chief for BBC Worldwide.

The Russian version "probably won't air till next year", wrote Gervais on his blog, and confirmed that the hunt was on for his Russian alter-ego. "We are looking for a middle-aged, slightly overweight unknown actor with a funny face. Do you think that could work? Good."

It's not the first time that a popular British series has been adapted for the Russian market. Later this year, Name of Russia will be broadcast, which will explore 12 historical personalities, and ask the audience to select the greatest Russian figure. The series is based on the BBC's Great Britons, which was won by Winston Churchill, and is already causing controversy as Joseph Stalin has received a huge amount of support and at one stage was leading the preliminary voting.

Where comedy is concerned, Nasha Russia (Our Russia) has put a Slavic twist on Little Britain, and includes familiar characters in a new guise, such as Ivan Dulin, the "only gay in the factory". There are also new characters, such as Ravshan and Dzhamshud, illegal immigrants from Central Asia, where the recurring gag is their stupidity and poor Russian language skills.

It's likely that sweeping changes will also need to be made to turn The Office to Ofis and make the satire of office life in a capitalist society relevant to viewers in a country that just two decades ago was living under Communism.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn