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Played By: Ricky GervaisThe lead character of Extras. Andy's dream to become an actor – he left his steady day job at Natwest in Wokingham in order to pursue it - is endlessly frustrated by the fact that his agent Darren Lamb is incompetent, circumstances seem to conspire against him, and the only work he can get is as a film extra. His best friend is fellow extra Maggie Jacobs, but her fervent desire to help, coupled with a lack of tact and subtlety, means that she more often than not causes him just as much trouble. Millman successfully managed to sell a sitcom called When the Whistle Blows, which proves to be a commercial but not a critical success. Andy's nemesis throughout the programme is Greg Lindley-Jones, who also started out as an extra before finding success in a number of productions and becoming a well-respected actor, much to Andy's annoyance.
- Author Avatar: Up to a certain point. Andy's personality, style of humour and views on comedy are note-for-note those of Ricky Gervais. The big difference is that Andy is readily willing to compromise his principles in pursuit of fame and money, whereas the real-life Gervais is content sticking with his more polarizing brand of comedy.
- Break the Haughty
- Butt Monkey
- The Cynic
- Deadpan Snarker
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Lost his virginity at 28 to a woman who looked like Ronnie Corbett.
- Only Sane Man
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
Played By: Ashley JensenMaggie Jacobs is characterized as a genuinely kind and supportive individual who only wants to help out. Unfortunately for her and those around her, she is also portrayed as being rather socially inept and lacking in any sort of internal censor or sense of tact, which means that she's more likely to say precisely the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person, and thus create more trouble for herself and those around her (especially Andy, whom she frequently embarrasses by inadvertently puncturing his pretensions towards being an actor). Although the character possesses no malicious intent, she also appears to be rather naive and poorly educated when it comes to matters of race and political correctness - which, when coupled with her general tactlessness, frequently results in her causing genuine offense through inadvertent insults and stereotypes. In series two her earthy ways are shown to contrast greatly with the pretensions of Andy's new friends.Maggie is rather man-hungry, and throughout the series she is constantly on the lookout for 'Mr. Right.' However, owing to circumstance and her aforementioned tendency to commit social faux-pas, the relationships she starts with men throughout the series rarely last long. However, there have been instances in which the men she is interested in turn out to be very much less than desirable, through no fault of her own.
- Break the Cutie: There are signs of this starting to take hold throughout the second series, but it really comes to a head in the Christmas Special, thanks to Andy shutting her out of his life, and her own career really falling apart.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Goes way beyond this, and has to blurt out absolutely anything that crosses her mind, no matter how offensive it might be.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Of the Adult Child variety, which Andy calls her out on during the first series finale.
- Despair Event Horizon: Clive Owen's atrocious treatment of her on a film set during the Christmas Special drive her to this. The director tells her that she can either put up with it, or be fired and blacklisted from ever working as an extra again. She chooses the latter, and officially gives up her dream of becoming an actress.
- The Ditz
- Dumb Blonde
- The Heart
- Negative Continuity: Handwaved. In the first series finale, she seems to re-evaluate her life, rids her apartment of soft toys and adopts a more mature look and personality following Andy calling her out on her attitude toward things when she nearly ruins his chance of getting a BBC sitcom; realising she was only trying to help him, Andy recruits Patrick Stewart to apologise on his behalf, and the relationship between the two returns to normal.
- Nice Girl
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: To the point where late in the second series she has to resort to dating Darren. Their date goes surprisingly well, until Darren's antics when dealing with a toilet emergency drive her away.
Shaun Williamson (Barry from Eastenders)
Played By: Shaun WilliamsonShaun Williamson plays himself as one of Darren's clients. He used to play Barry Evans on the British soap opera EastEnders, but left to pursue a multi-million pound contract elsewhere and failed. Darren Lamb doesn't use his real name, but instead calls him "Barry off EastEnders" or just "Barry" and occasionally "Barr".
- Adam Westing
- Butt Monkey: A once successful soap actor whose incompetent agent held out for too much money, he's now the only client of said agent who only gets him non-acting work such as cleaning the toilets. Nobody calls him by his real name (except for Andy) and his tendency to steal food indicates he lives in near-poverty.
- Hidden Depths: He offers genuinely good advice to Andy.
- I Am Not Spock: Everyone calls him 'Barry from Eastenders'. Even the credits lists him as playing Barry.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: It's Barry-from-Eastenders!
- Those Two Guys: With Darren.
Played By: Stephen MerchantAndy Millman's agent. He is utterly incapable of breaking an act, and his usual negotiating tactic is to simply agree with whatever anyone else says, or suggest someone other than his client for the part. He's very good at deducting his 12.5% commission ("15% for adverts") despite frequently having done nothing to contribute to his act's success.
- Ascended Extra
- Completely Missing the Point
- A Date with Rosie Palms: The final straw comes for Andy when Darren comes in his office.
- Dumb Blonde
- The Millstone: For both Andy and Shaun.
- Mythology Gag: In the Christmas Special, Tre Cooper says that he's never heard of Darren before. In fact, prior to that episode Darren's full name had never been spoken on-screen, and he was only ever credited as "Agent."
Played By: Shaun Pye
- Classically Trained Extra
- Deadpan Snarker
- Meaningful Name: His surname Jones may be a reference to Keeping up With the Joneses, due to Andy's sense of achievement being dictated by whatever Greg has.
- Pet the Dog: When he tells Maggie about supplementary performance fee. He's generally quite nice to her.
- Smug Smiler
- Smug Snake: His casting call was, ‘a smug cunt with a punchable face’. It was accurate.
Played By: Guy Henry
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Jerkass: He tells Andy rather flatly and harshly that, screw his creative vision, they're going for the lowest common denominator...
- Shout-Out: He shares his name with one of the co-creators of The Inbetweeners.
- Straight Gay: Something he keeps to himself until after Andy makes a remark about how over-sensitive gay people can be.
Played By: Martin Savage
- Camp Gay: Andy finds his stereotypically over-the-top mannerisms to be annoying, which lands him in hot water when Maggie repeats this out loud to Damon.
- Insult to Rocks: Despite having an awful sense of humour and virtually destroying Andy's vision for When the Whistle Blows, even he apparently doesn't think that Lenny Henry is funny.
- Shout-Out: He shares his name with the other co-creator of The Inbetweeners.
Played By: Gerard Kelly
- Abusive Parent: He’s overly-controlling and quite a bully.
- Camp Gay
- Closeted Gay: For his first appearance. He's fooling absolutely no one except his daughter.
- Rule of Three: He appears in three episodes.
- Stage Dad
Played By: Adam James
When the Whistle Blows
Played By: Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman
- Catchphrase: "Are you having a laugh? Is (s)he having a laugh?"
- Large Ham
- Pointy-Haired Boss
- Stupid Boss
Played By: Liza Tarbuck
- Deadpan Snarker
- Nice Girl
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: And in the final episode she gets engaged.
- Team Mom
Played By: Andrew Buckley
Played By: Jamie Chapman
- Camp Gay: Turns out to be this in the series finale.
- Catchphrase: Becomes Ooh, bugger me!
- The Smart Guy
Played By: Sarah Moyle
Played By: Keith Chegwin
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Thanks to his actor never quite being able to get the mood of a scene down correctly.
- The Danza: Got turned into this after Chegwin couldn't understand why people were referring to him by his original character name, Alfie.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: Keith the fictional character is apparently mostly a nice guy. As soon as the cameras stop rolling, Keith Chegwin starts complaining about how the BBC is "still being run by Jews and queers," and claiming that black people aren't funny.
- Put on a Bus: A possibly unintended implication of the Christmas Special is that he never made it past the first series (and possibly not even the first episode) of When the Whistle Blows, since the character doesn't appear and isn't referenced. Considering his actor's behind-the-scenes behaviour, it wouldn't be surprising if he said the wrong thing and got fired.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Break the Haughty
- Compensating for Something: Heavily implied for his final gag. The only big romantic scores he can brag about are fictional ones from the films he acted in.Stiller: It still counts!!!!........It still counts....It does...
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Bullies his staff mercilessly, but has his ego broken down ridiculously easily by Andy.
- Playing Against Type: In-universe.
- Prima Donna Director
- Villainous Breakdown: Corners himself into one after Andy insults him, bragging indignantly until eventually he just walks off sheepishly, realising he's humiliated himself in front of his entire crew.
- Evil Counterpart: To Ross Kemp.
- Butt Monkey
- Despair Event Horizon
- Hidden Depths
- May-December Romance: He has a sexy fiance in her early 20s, although she's quite obviously a Golddigger.
- Bald of Awesome
- Cowboy Cop: His character in the fictional movie he's filming.
- Fish out of Water: Again, his character in the fictional movie.
- Bald of Awesome
- Cool Old Guy
- Dirty Old Man: He's trying to his his own self-penned movie made, which can basically be described as a James Bond movie if Bond had the power to spontaneously make people's clothes fall off.
- Nice Guy: Despite his eccentricities, he's probably the celebrity who Andy has the most positive encounter with, and helps get the BBC to make When the Whistle Blows.
- Casanova Wannabe
- Green-Eyed Monster: He's bitterly jealous of Johnny Depp.
- Handsome Lech
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: He becomes fascinated by Maggie when she tells him that she doesn't find him attractive.
- Affably Evil: He brutally tears Andy apart via song, but does so in a jovial way while speaking pleasantly to his friends.
- The Bully
- Jerkass: Constructs an entire song to destroy a man who idolizes him.
- Casanova Wannabe: Tries chatting up just about every woman on the set, which comes back to bite him big-style when he makes moves on Warwick Davis's wife...
- Karma Houdini: ...but fortunately for Daniel, Andy unwittingly provides the mother of all distractions by accidentally knocking Warwick out.
- Hypocrite: Despite being a vegetarian, he off-handedly mentions that, "Gwyneth's making drumsticks"
- Only in It for the Money: He wears a promotional shirt for his band's new album while doing a charity advert.
- Worthy Opponent: One of his comedy shows easily defeats When The Whistle Blows in the BAFTAs, and it's obvious that deep down, Andy admires Stephen's brand of comedy far more than he does his own show. Despite this, Andy still has to defend the show to Stephen, if only to keep up appearances.
- Precision F-Strike: While Richard is giving a dignified, heartfelt speech about a recently-deceased producer, Darren gets out a box of Ray Stokes dolls and inadvertently causes one of them to repeat Ray's catchphrase endlessly. Richard takes this about as well as you'd expect, destroys the doll and openly calls it "tacky shit," getting a round of applause from the BAFTA attendees.
- Karma Houdini: Thanks to being in the presence of Ronnie and a bag of cocaine for just the wrong few seconds, Andy (and technically Darren, though it'd be less of a problem for him even if he were a competent agent) ends up with a lifetime ban from the BAFTA awards, made permanently ineligible for BAFTA consideration, and threatened with being shopped to the police if he ever tries to protest his ban. Ronnie gets off much lighter in comparison.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: A variation. While he initially gets handed the same blanket BAFTA ban as Andy, he's able to negotiate it down to only being allowed to attend the Welsh BAFTAs for a few years.
Sir Ian McKellen
- Captain Obvious: Up to Eleven. Ian would have you know that acting involves pretending to be someone else. Also, you have to learn your lines because carrying scripts around would ruin the illusion.
- Cool Old Guy: Well, he's Sir Ian McKellen.
- Nice Guy: Despite his Captain Obvious tendencies, he's a pretty genial fellow.
- Straight Gay
- The Cameo: His role is tiny, and simply involves being inordinately amused by a pen (with a naked lady on it).
- The Quiet One: He has little-to-no dialogue.
- The Stoic
- Elmer Fudd Syndrome: Just like in real life, Ross pronounces Rs as Ws.
- Man Child: Like in real life, Ross is a toy collector. He also has super-soaker fights with Andy.
- Jerkass: A strong contender for the biggest Jerkass in the entire series, as his behaviour toward Maggie is enough to finally call it quits on her acting career.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Not that he's some obscure small-time actor by any means, but he's way too full of himself.
- Money, Dear Boy: Admits that this is about the only thing which keeps him going in life.
- Only Sane Man: He's the only other Celebrity Big Brother housemate that Andy feels even deserves the title of "celebrity," let alone has any respect for.