Ricky Gervais, co-creator/co-writer of The Office, has a new job. It’s been eight years since David Brent left the drudgery and unglamorous world of selling paper in Slough. Gervais is now involved as script editor on PhoneShop, created, written and produced by Phil Bowker. Head of comedy at Talkback Thames, Bowker gave Gervais his first job in television back in 1999 when he hired a young scriptwriter, Stephen Merchant to help develop a new series for Channel Five. Merchant asked if he could bring along his “hilarious” friend, Gervais, who had just left radio station, Xfm. Not long after, Merchant and Gervais co-wrote The Office and changed British comedy forever.
Set in a mobile phone shop, PhoneShop, starring Tom Bennett and Martin Trenaman and follows the daily battles of pressure selling in a “high street UK” shopping mall. The special premiered this past weekend on Channel 4 in England as part of the experimental Comedy Showcase series. So highly regarded internally, especially given the involvement of Gervais, the show has already been commissioned for 6 episodes slated for production in the new year. If it’s half as good as The Office, I can’t wait.