Ricky Gervais: The Office couldn’t have been made the same way today

12 July 2020, 17:30 | Updated: 12 July 2020, 17:31

Ricky Gervais Portraits Ricky Gervais at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association press conference for "After Life" at The One Aldwych on March 01, 2020
Ricky Gervais says The Office couldn't be made today. Picture: Shooting Star/SIPA USA/PA Images

The creator of the hit series has explained why he doesn't think his hit workplace mockumentary would be able to have the same jokes today.

Ricky Gervais doubts The Office would be made if he wrote it today.

The 59-year-old comedian, writer and actor - who created, penned and directed the popular BBC sitcom, which ran for two series between 2001 and 2002 - insisted broadcasters are too scared to take risks in case they offend "outrage mobs".

Speaking to Times Radio, he said: "Now it would suffer because people would take things literally.

"There are these outrage mobs who take things out of context.

"This was a show about everything - it was about difference, it was about sex, race, all the things that people fear to even be discussed or talked about now, in case they say the wrong thing and they are cancelled."

Gervais famously played hapless, ignorant and deluded boss David Brent in both series - as well as Christmas specials in 2003 - and he has insisted people need to understand the real subject and target of the jokes.

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He added: "The BBC have got more and more careful, people want to keep their jobs, so would worry about some of the subjects and jokes, even though they were clearly ironic and we were laughing at this buffoon being uncomfortable around difference.

"I think if this was put out now, some people have lost their sense of irony and context."

In recent weeks, classic comedies such as Fawlty Towers, Little Britain, League of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh have been removed from streaming services or had some of their episodes edited over concerns about some of their content.

However, the After Life creator isn't too worried about the potential impact of his own projects coming under the same criticism.

Asked whether he was “cancel-proof”, Gervais said: “I’m not cancel-proof, I just don’t care.

"I’m cancel-proof in the sense that I’ve got enough money [already]. If they started taking things back, then I’d worry."

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