BBC Studios and MBC Studios have signed a scripted format agreement that will see the BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winning comedy series The Office remade in Arabic.
Titled Al Maktab, the Saudi-led version of the comedy will be produced by MBC Studios, with support from the BBC Studios international production team. The Saudi adaptation is set in a courier services company, with the main character of the self-absorbed yet loveable boss played by Saleh Abuamrh.
The cast will also feature Fahad Albutairi, Nawaf Alshobaili, Saad Aziz, Adhwa Fahad, Razan Mansour, Reem Busati and Hisham Hawsawi.
The 20-episode series will air on MBC’s TV channels and stream via Shahid VIP later this year.
The local version is set to be directed by Egyptian filmmaker Hisham Fathi, with Alessandro Martella as director of photography and AFLAM Productions’ Shadi Mcdad as producer.
The agreement with MBC Studios and BBC Studios will mark the 12th international sale of the format, alongside other territories, including the U.S., Canada, Chile, France, India and, most recently, Poland.
André Renaud, senior VP of format sales for BBC Studios, said: “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. 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.”
“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. “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!”