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David Brent
"Some people are intimidated when talking to large numbers of people in an entertaining way. Not me."
Played By: Ricky Gervais

The incompetent General Manager of the Slough offices of Wernham-Hogg. He fancies himself a popular jack-of-all-trades, when in reality he is a needy, lonely and selfish man.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To his new secretary.
  • Accidental Hero: He becomes a hero when he saves a number of redundancies at the Slough branch by not taking a promotion. But it was only by accident. It turned out because he was never actually offered the job as he failed the medical due to high blood pressure. He takes the credit anyway.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Begs for his job.
  • The Alcoholic: Drinking seems to be his solution to everything. It's implied he's insecure about it when Dawn jokes that he drinks, "every lunchtime", as well.
  • Attention Whore: Watch him seethe whenever anyone is getting more attention than him.
  • Bad Boss: Despite trying to act like A Father to His Men, he's more than willing to sell his employees out to help himself get a promotion.
  • Benevolent Boss: He thinks he is, but he's really The Alleged Boss. He goes into Bad Boss territory when he accepts a promotion knowing it will mean most of the staff losing their jobs.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Until the finale. Although Life on the Road shows even that didn't last.
  • The Cameo: Appears in the cold opening for a Season 7 episode of the American Office where he briefly meets Michael Scott (and they naturally click).
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Not that it stops him trying. And trying.
  • Character Tics: Adjusting his tie.
  • Covert Pervert: Jennifer catches him checking out her legs just as Finchy makes a comment over the phone about his wandering eyes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments where he's actually witty when not performing for the camera.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: The bulk of the series paints him as a Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, yet the Series 2 finale and ensuing Christmas specials reveal that he's actually a very lonely and frustrated man.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Whenever he tries to get out of making an off-color comment, he just says something even more offensive.
  • Dreadful Musician: Zigzagged. His guitar playing is pretty good but his lyrics make the songs cringe-worthy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the Christmas Special, he's a bit wittier and actually funnier, at least whenever he's just being himself instead of performing for the camera.
  • Dirty Coward: Will sell employees out to save his arse financially. Not to mention his ass-kissing to Finch for fear of losing a friend. Although he subverts it in the Series Finale where his date is concerned.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: One of the reasons he fails so consistently at telling jokes is that when he notices nobody is laughing he feels the need to explain what the joke was about. Because obviously the joke was a gut-buster so they must just not understand it and it's totally nothing to do with being a bad joke or terrible delivery or attempting to joke at entirely inappropriate times or anything like that.
  • Everything Is Racist: Parodied, with a strong dose of Hypocritical Humour, in the very first episode. David introduces Ricky the temp to Sanj:
    David: This guy does the best Ali G impersonation. 'Ay!' (laughs) I can't do it . . . Do it.
    Sanj: I . . .
    David: Go on.
    Sanj: I don't, I . . .
    David: Oh, sorry, no, it's not you. It's the other one.
    Sanj: The other . . . the other what?
    David: Erm . . .
    Sanj: (smiling) "Paki"? (laughs slightly)
    David: Ah. —That's racist. (wags a disapproving finger at Sanj and walks off.)
  • Fat Bastard: He tries unconvincingly to suck in his beer gut when Jude walks in after the motivational speech when changing shirts.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
  • Friendless Background: He doesn't seem to have any friends. He considers Finchy his 'best friend' but Finchy sees him more as a lackey and a target for his jokes. Ironically, he treats Gareth very similarly to how Finch treats him.
  • Get Out!: Says so during his attempt at reverse pyschology during the motivational speech.
  • Humiliation Conga: In the final few episodes he loses his job, then finds out the motivational speakers won't be using his services again. He's reduced to begging Jennifer and Neil not to fire him. It gets even worse in the Christmas specials when he goes on a few disastrous blind dates and is reduced to degrading personal appearances in grubby night clubs. Finally he gets banned from the office and the Christmas dinner. He can't even persuade anyone except Tim to come out for a drink with him.
  • Hypocrite: He has no problem mocking Malcolm's bald-patch only to get heat up about the Mr. Toad comments.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: The reason he's an Attention Whore.
  • Jerkass: He qualifies despite the more sympathetic aspects of the character. This is the guy who tried to throw his staff under the bus for a promotion and then lied that he turned it down (when in fact he failed a medical) to make them think he was a hero.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lack of professionalism aside, he does have a point about Neil sort of 'marking his territory' when he plays games in the main Wernham Hogg office despite telling Dave not to. The Jerkass part is that Brent is even worse when it comes to this and that it altogether comes down to resenting the fact that Neil just so happens to be 'better' at showing off than David.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When Chris makes a disparaging wisecrack about David's date, David decides that he's having none of it.
  • Kick the Dog: He reduced Dawn to tears when he pretends to fire her in the first episode.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He thinks he's a brilliant manager, but it's clear that his colleagues have no respect for him.
  • Laughing Mad: He doesn't think it's a sign of insanity but when he laughs during his motivational speech in an attempt to get the audience to join in, it does come across as this trope especially as he starts with a fake laugh and the laughter completely takes him hostage as he continues.
  • Manchild: He has to be the centre of attention, has an immature sense of humour, and never takes responsibility for anything. He reacts to being reprimanded by Neil the way a petulant schoolboy would.
  • The Nicknamer: He has a habit of giving often insulting nicknames to people. He calls Malcolm, a bald older employee, Kojak. But he doesn't take it well when he finds out the staff have nicknamed him Bluto and Mr Toad.
  • No Social Skills: He's not nearly as witty as he thinks he is, and his attempts at being funny tend to be crushingly embarrassing. Elsewhere, he gives Dawn a serious dose of Too Much Information when he confides to her after a bathroom break that he'd just been checking his testicles for lumps.
  • Pet the Dog: He seems to feel genuinely bad when he makes Gareth (of all people) cry.
  • The Peter Principle: He embodies this. There are some hints that he was previously a good sales rep, which presumably led to his promotion to a job for which he was wholly unsuitable.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Forgets to pay his staff.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Is deluded about his banter, managerial skills and how young he looks.
  • Sucks at Dancing: David, with his cringe-makingly memorable attempt at sexy dance moves at an office party, which boil down to spasmodic and random windmill arm movements, grunting his own tune, and gyrating.
  • Unreliable Narrator: He considers himself a victim of this in the Christmas Special, in a drunken rant with his date where he claims the documentary makers "stitched him up" by editing together a cut of the show that deliberately emphasised the bits of his personality and life that make him look like a complete tool and downplaying his redeeming qualities. Interestingly, the Christmas Special ended up making him look a bit better.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Until the finale.
  • Verbal Tic: Especially during interviews, "....yeah?". He also says "fact", a lot to emphasis a point. He also says, "guilty", and "just a bit", when responding to questions.
  • White Man's Burden: Sees himself as more enlightened than the average Englishman and makes sure everyone notices how politically correct he is.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: He thinks he's in a TV show about an effortlessly cool boss who everyone loves, and that he's the boss in question. He's right about the "being in a TV show" bit at least.

In Life on the Road

  • Afraid of Blood: He faints at the sight of it.
  • Afraid of Needles: He ends up getting very squeamish when he tries to get a tattoo.
  • Black Best Friend: Dom is reluctantly this for Brent, to the point where his first appearance is so that Brent can convince his HR manager that he's not racist.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Zigzagged. While Brent is comfortable around a few of his female co-workers, he gets very anxious around women he's attempting to pick up.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Tries to pick up two average looking middle-aged women who are only after his minibar, not the man himself.
  • Cerebus Retcon: In Life On The Road, Brent admits that he had a nervous breakdown when he was made redundant, went into rehab and has been in therapy ever since. It's also implied that he may suffer from bipolar disorder.
  • Character Development: Even more so than in the Christmas Special. Brent learns to accept that he may never be famous and manages to find contentment with his lot in life.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Due to backing out of a tattoo halfway through getting one, Brent now has "Berk" tattooed on his arm.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: His new band barely tolerate his presence, with their only interactions being rehearsals and performances. It gets to the point where Brent has to bribe them to come out for a drink with him.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Brent's attempts to show his social consciousness only come off as even more offensive.
  • The Gambling Addict: His solution to any setbacks in his tour is to spend more money.
  • Never Grew Up: Lampshaded. He revived his old band, but due to his bandmates all moving on with their lives, Brent has recruited a bunch of 20-somethings. The age difference is glaring.
  • N-Word Privileges: He drunkenly called Dom "his nigger" when walking to his hotel room, which Dom tried several times in vain to discourage him from saying.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: When the band's tour doesn't profit as well as he'd hoped, Brent just takes more and more money from his pension to cover it. His sound engineer finally tells him to just cut his losses and keep things simple.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Keeps spending money on the tour and calls Dom the N word.
  • The Team Benefactor: Funds his own band and tour, at great expense to himself.


Tim Canterbury
"I don't talk about my love life for a very good reason, and that reason is I don't have one."

Played By: Martin Freeman

A witty sales rep at Wernham-Hogg. He's in love with Dawn and, like her, feels he's wasting his life at Wernham-Hogg.

  • Anguished Declaration of Love: In the Series 2 finale, he admits his feelings to Dawn, although it is silent due to him turning off his mike. She seems to turn him down but gives a consoling hug.
  • Audience Surrogate: His role is partly this. He's not quite the Only Sane Man, but he is the one we're supposed to identify with.
  • Berserk Button: Downplayed, but disrepecting Dawn seems to be his. He looks visibly angry when Lee makes crude remarks about her to the warehouse lads and he begins being more snarky towards Finchy when he does the same, when previously he was ignoring him.
  • Blatant Lies: "If there's one thing I'm not, it's immature."
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Well, not so much lazy as just too pessimistic to push himself.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Dawn ultimately chooses to be with him and break up with Lee, and is on his way to finding a more fulfilling career.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
  • Nice Guy: Although immature, he's more laid back and genuinely friendly than Gareth or David Brent. Probably why Dawn and Tim end up hooking up in the finale.
  • The Gadfly: Mainly to Gareth.
  • The Prankster
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Dawn comes around to Tim after he seems to have given up at the end of the Christmas special.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Dawn. They do.


Gareth Keenan
"I'm not homophobic, all right? Come round, look at my CDs. You'll see Queen, George Michael, Pet Shop Boys. They're all bummers."
Played By: Mackenzie Crook

The power-hungry 'team leader' and ambitious Number Two to Brent. Delusional and pretentious, he often acts as Tim's nemesis.

  • Asshole Victim: No one can say he doesn't deserve to be on the wrong end of Tim's pranks.
  • Butt-Monkey: The butt of Tim, Dawn and Rachel's pranks. Not that he doesn't deserve it due to his attitude.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Brags about having loads of office romances. Any time we see him flirt with a female co-worker, this statement becomes a little less convincing. Although he's quite the Kavorka Man in clubs due to the different environment.
  • Control Freak: Regularly tries to maintain order in the office, but just comes across as a buzzkill.
  • Did I Mention I Am Heterosexual Today: He keeps insisting he has had sex with plenty of women, but doesn't get together with anyone in-series because he doesn't like "sloppy seconds". Needless to say, women don't seem to find this attitude likeable.
  • Does Not Like Spam: He hates jelly, because he "doesn't trust the way it moves".
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first thing we see him do is whack Tim across the back of the head with a newspaper and shout "Wazzup!" right in his ear. Gareth then follows this up with a series of unfunny jokes, establishing himself as the most annoying person in the office.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
  • Hopeless Suitor: To Rachel. It's a mark of his self delusion that he can't understand why a girl like her would prefer Tim.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Gareth's reaction when Tim compares his "team leader" title to a school kid being made milk monitor.
  • Insistent Terminology: He constantly refers to himself as the Assistant Regional Manager, in spite of David making it clear that he's actually the "assistant to the Regional Manager" (making him effectively a glorified secretary)
  • Kavorka Man: Despite his goofy looks and awkward personality Gareth does get with women, albeit the kind he meets at clubs.
  • Pet the Dog: He tries to get David a date in the Christmas Special by introducing him to online dating.
  • The Starscream: To David. Made more explicit in a deleted scene in which Gareth comes in to commiserate with David for being made redundant, but it's clear he just wants to know if he has a chance of getting David's job. He quickly loses respect for David once he becomes manager and purposely embarrasses him in the Christmas special.
  • You Are in Command Now: Becomes the new manager under Neil and relishes it.


Dawn Tinsley
"I'd be lying if I said my life had turned out exactly as I'd expected."
Played By: Lucy Davis

The Wernham-Hogg receptionist, she's in love with Tim but is trapped in an unhappy engagement.

  • Betty and Veronica: Tim is Archie, she's the Betty and Rachel's the Veronica. She herself is the Archie to Lee's Veronica and Tim's Betty.
  • Broken Bird: She feels incredibly unsatisfied with her life, but has resigned herself to it.




Keith 'Big Keith' Bishop

Played By: Ewan Macintosh

A large, stoical accounts rep.


Chris 'Finchy' Finch

Played By: Ralph Ineson

A "bloody good" outside sales representative, he is probably the only character in the series who is genuinely mean. He is brashly confident, openly sexist, rasping-voiced with a natural flair for bullying others with swift, humiliating putdowns, Brent being his usual target. David describes him as his "best friend" but actually acts more like a lackey, laughing at his jokes and attempting to impress him to feel popular.

  • The Alcoholic: Not as much as David but he does go to Chasers an awful lot.
  • The Bully: He insults anyone he can. Frequent targets are women, the educated and David.
  • The Big Guy: At 6'3", he towers over almost anyone.
  • Competition Freak: He's very competitive and a bad loser if his actions at the pub quiz are anything to go by.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Deconstructed Character Archetype: His snarkiness earns him no friends except David who laughs with his jokes even though he doesn't get them.
  • Evil Is Petty: Losing a pub quiz is a big deal to him.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Everyone, maybe even Lee, probably dislikes him but he doesn't seem too bothered unlike David.
  • Hate Sink: The single most detestable character in the whole series. Gervais has said that he's one of two characters we're not meant to like:
    Finch is a bully, he's one of those people who comes into a room and takes the piss out of someone else, and you laugh, but really you know it's your turn next.
  • Informed Ability: Brent builds him up as a wonderfully charming wag who is constantly coming up with terribly witty remarks and rapid-fire repartee. He's really a nasty, bullying, sexist wanker.
  • Jerkass: Is rude to pretty much anyone who isn't Neil.
  • Jerk Jock: Brags about his ability to throw things after getting beat at Trivia Night and is a tall, confident bully.
  • Kavorka Man: More repulsive in the personality sense but on-screen he's scored with Lorna and Trudy, possibly due to the confidence thing and being 6'3". Although his other conquests are implied to be exaggerated.
  • Oop North: He's from Yorkshire and supports Leeds F.C.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Very sexist and makes some homophobic jabs too, particularly at David's expense.
  • Shutting Up Now: Usually an unstoppable snark machine, Chris goes too far when he makes an unpleasant remark in the Christmas special about David's date, and David's response causes Chris to resort to this.
  • Sore Loser: He is filled with indignant fury when he and David Brent come in second place to Tim and Ricky at the annual company Quiz Night since they have previously been winners for several years running. After the quiz ends and everyone is gathered around the pub, Finch says he can beat Tim and Ricky at 'loads of things'. He suggests a throwing contest, in which the winning team must pick something for Finch to throw over the Wernham Hogg building. If Finch does so successfully, Finch and Brent will be declared the "real winners" of the quiz. Tim and Ricky do not agree to the challenge however this doesn't seem to matter to Finch as he successfully throws one of Tim's shoes over the building, at which point he and Brent relish their victory obnoxiously and take the bottle of champagne that Tim and Ricky were awarded for winning the quiz. Finch tells Tim and his quiz partner Ricky to "respect [their] elders," and "do not fuck with the big boys."
  • Villainous Breakdown: After losing the pub quiz, he loses his sense of humour and becomes outright nasty.


Jennifer Taylor-Clarke

Played By: Stirling Gallacher

Brent's immediate supervisor in Series One, nicknamed Camilla Parker Bowles by him, is a serious-minded professional, and Brent's behaviour and comedy-driven style of management are shown to be puerile and ineffectual by contrast.

  • Benevolent Boss: Surprisingly inhumanly patient with Dave and his incompetence and she and Neil only fire him when he dares them to.
  • Closer to Earth: When it comes to racial and social issues when she tells off David for telling racist jokes about a black man's cock.
  • Consummate Professional: A serious minded boss compared to Dave's shenanigans.
  • She's Got Legs: Finchy doesn't even need to be in the same room to know when Brent's checking them out.
  • Straight Man: Devoid of any quirks.


Neil Godwin

Played By: Patrick Baladi

Brent's counterpart at the Swindon branch, his immediate superior. He is young, charming, professional and energetic, a more competent manager than Brent, and has a better relationship with staff. Brent is hugely resentful and jealous of him, and makes occasional, often childish attempts to either undermine or rival him. He grows increasingly exasperated with Brent's incompetence, poor judgement, and failure to do his job properly.

  • The Ace: Neil is successful at everything he puts his hand to.
  • Always Someone Better: To David. Although the latter would never admit it, Neil enjoys the social and professional success that Brent craves.
  • Benevolent Boss: Downplayed Trope, he is harsher than Jennifer but he does try to look out for employees well being when he's surprised that David Brent forgot to pay his staff. He also displays little pleasure in sacking David, trying to spin it as a, "generous redundancy package", rather than, "You're fired because you suck as manager". There's also the recognising Tim's potential as manager as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gets in a few good jabs at David's incompetence when he says, "You'd rather be popular, than steer the ship in the right direction".
  • Decon-Recon Switch:
    • Starts out as a deconstruction of the rival archetype who is usually portrayed as more successful than the protagonist, but also happens to be smug and unlikable. Not only is Neil a success, but he has much better people skills than Brent.
    • Then in the Christmas Special we find out that Neil enjoys making crude jokes with Finch, showing that he does have a nasty side, just not a particularly big one.
  • Evil Counterpart: Maybe not 'evil' so much as 'successful'.
  • Foil: Unlike David; Neil puts his job first, doesn't force anyone to be his friend or listen to his personal issues and he doesn't chase the spotlight.
  • Hate Sink: According to Gervais, along with Chris Finch, he's the other character the audience is meant to dislike.
    Neil you shouldn't like, because he doesn't care. He was better than David Brent at his job, but it meant less to him than it did to David Brent.
  • Bitch In Sheeps Clothing Has A Point: Although we as the audience are expected to side with David, most of Neil's points against David are valid and it is his job to make sure David is running the place correctly.
  • Hero Antagonist: It's hard not to see Neil's point of view; he might be an 'enemy' to David, but he doesn't want to be and only wants to keep the workplace running which he can't do when Brent is being so blatantly incompetent.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Kick the Son of a Bitch when they're down more like. He subtly does this to David a few times in the Christmas episodes. He keeps reminding David that he said he'd be bringing a woman to the party, knowing how slim David's chances are of actually finding a date. Note the Stunned Silence from Neil and Finch when David does bring along an attractive woman.
  • Meaningful Name: 'God' and 'Win' to emphasize his superiority over David.
  • Not So Different: Really, he isn't much different from David Brent. They both put a great deal of effort into being liked, but Neil is just much more savvy and successful.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the Christmas Special, he is much more openly disdainful of David than he ever was before. However, it's worth keeping in mind that a former employee has been dropping in to disrupt the working day for three years. Less understandably, he's friends with Chris Finch. On the DVD commentary Stephen Merchant suggests that Finch's nastiness rubbed off on Neil, while Ricky Gervais believes that Neil was never all that nice to begin with. Though this nastiness may also be to do with David Brent not doing his job properly and making life difficult for Neil consequently.




Played By: Joel Beckett

Dawn Tinsley's fiancé who works in the company's warehouse. She met him in school and they have been together ever since. Whilst not mean, Lee is somewhat dull, humourless and casually critical of her ideas of being an illustrator. His idea of an amorous proposal was a four-word notice in the newspaper — "Lee love Dawn. Marriage?". It is clear from an early stage that she stays with him out of a fear of loneliness rather than real love. Lee is laid-back, loyal, and also more physically imposing than Canterbury, that is the reason Tim finds him intimidating. Lee has a somewhat violent temper, which is shown when he holds Canterbury against a wall, simply for starting to dance with Dawn.

  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Very possessive of Dawn.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Finally (and mercifully).
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He spots Tim getting a bit too close to Dawn and immediately shoves him against the wall. In another scene Lee threatens him for asking Dawn out. It takes Tim a while to realise he's just joking this time.
  • Hate Sink: He's a terrible boyfriend.
  • Jerk Jock: More understated than Finch however.
  • Kick the Dog: The second series confirms that he's not a good person by showing him manhandle Tim in a moment of paranoia, then grope Dawn in front of his mates.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Not so much 'wacky' as 'coldly pragmatic'. He placed an advert in the newspaper for Dawn, but as he was paying by the word, the proposal was phrased as "Lee love Dawn. Marriage?"
    • Not to mention 'thrifty'.



Played By: David Schaal

The misogynistic, sexist warehouse manager at the Slough Trading Merchant and Lee's supervisor, who is seen as being very slack and has little respect for any one who works outside of the warehouse, particularly management.

  • Bald of Evil: Is bald and not very nice.
  • Jerkass: Is Conservative about women and disrespectful towards management.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: He delivers a brutal putdown towards an insufferable pregnant woman.


    Ricky Howard 


Played By: Oliver Chris

A temp worker in Series 1.



Played By: Sally Bretton

An intern in Series 1.



Played By: Stacey Roca

A Swindon transfer that Tim and Gareth both take interest in.



Played By: Sandy Hendrickse

David Brent's blind date.

  • False Soulmate: David Brent reveals in the English version that he's currently single, so they clearly didn't last.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name's Carol and she appears in the Christmas Special
  • Opposites Attract: Carol's attractive, sensitive and an all-round pleasant person to be with. David Brent, well...
  • Satellite Love Interest: Her character isn't explored fully, due to appearing in the final episode.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She gets to see the more likeable side to David and quickly warms up to him.
    • David's "good" quality is justified when he stands up to Finch for her.



Played By: Elizabeth Berrington

Self-absorbed and obnoxious pregnant woman who shares Tim's desk after Gareth becomes manager.

  • Everyone Loves Blondes: She claims she often gets unwanted attention from male coworkers, but can't understand why. Nor can Tim.
  • Hate Sink: She's rude and self-obsorbed.
  • It's All About Me: She annoys Tim as she speaks continuously about herself and other topics no-one else is interested in.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: At the Christmas party she's on the receiving end of one, delivered by Glynn of all people.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Anne pretended that her son was seriously ill in order to jump the queue at Disneyland.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: A variant of this. She hectors the warehouse guys for smoking near her at the party, which leads to the above.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Gareth. She was specifically introduced to be someone even more annoying than Gareth to sit near Tim.

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