Saudi Arabia’s MBC to open ‘The Office’ after striking BBCS format deal

The Office UK

Saudi Arabia-based MBC has ordered a local version of BBC comedy The Office.

The 20-episode show – titled Al Maktab – will be produced by Shahid VIP’s production sibling MBC Studios, with support from the BBC Studios, which sell the format’s rights.

The Arabic-language series has started filming and is being directed by Egyptian filmmaker Hisham Fathi, with Alessandro Martella as director of photography and AFLAM Productions’ Shadi Mcdad as producer.

It will air on MBC’s TV channels later this year, and also be available via its streaming service, Shahid VIP.

The original version of the mockumentary was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, airing on the UK’s BBC over 20 years ago. It has since spawned 12 remakes, most notably in the US where the show ran on NBC for nine seasons.

The Saudi adaptation will be set in a courier services company, The twenty-part series will broadcast on MBC’s TV channels, and stream via Shahid VIP – the world’s leading Arabic streaming platform – later this year.

André Renaud, SVP of format sales for BBCS, 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 humour, and a boss that sometimes makes a fool of themselves still rings just as true.”

“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, GM of MBC Studios.

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