Saudi Arabian Edition of ‘The Office’ in the Works – Hollywood Reporter

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MBC Studios is behind ‘Al Maktab,’ the first Arabic-language version of the BBC hit comedy series, starring Saleh Abuamrh and directed by Egypt’s Hisham Fathi.
By Alex Ritman
U.K. Correspondent
It may be almost a decade since its doors shuttered in the U.S. and nearly 20 years since it drew to a close in the U.K., but Saudi Arabia will soon be getting its own remake of The Office.
BBC Studios, which owns the format rights, and MBC Studios, the production arm of Saudi-owned Middle East satellite giant MBC, have unveiled Al Maktab, the first Arabic-language version of the long-running and award-winning comedy series.

Set to begin filming later this month, the series will star Saleh Abuamrh as Malik Al-Tumaifi, the comically self-absorbed David Brent/Michael Scott character at the center of the show, with the comedy shifting from a paper merchant to a courier services company. Also joining the cast of Al Maktab are Fahad Albutairi, Nawaf Alshobaili, Saad Aziz, Adhwa Fahad, Razan Mansour, Reem Busati, Hisham Hawsawi and others. The series will be directed by renowned Egyptian filmmaker Hisham Fathi, with Alessandro Martella as director of photography and Aflam Productions’ Shadi Mcdad as producer.

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“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 humor, and a boss that sometimes makes a fool of themselves still rings just as true,” said André Renaud, senior vp format sales for BBC Studios. “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 UK over 20 years ago.”
The 20-part series will broadcast on MBC’s TV channels, and via its streaming platform Shahid VIP, later this year.
“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 Abu 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.”
Since it was first devised by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, The Office has been adapted into Canadian, Chilean, French, Indian and Polish editions. The MBC deal marks the 12th international sale of the format.

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