Checking In With the Cast of the British Office

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Whatever happened to predictability, the milkman, the paperboy, evening TV…and the cast of one of the greatest comedies of all-time, The Office.

The original version of The Office, which ran on the BBC for 12 episodes over two series from 2001-2002, is one of the most influential comedies ever, spawning a number of remakes around the world and making series creator Ricky Gervais a very rich man. But what of the rest of that original cast? What have they been up to since leaving Wernham Hogg? Have they been able to match the success they had with that show? Let’s catch up with the original office drones and see where they’ve been.

David Brent, played by Ricky Gervais

If you don’t know what Gervais has been up to since The Office ended eight years ago, I don’t know what to tell you. There’s the Golden Globes hosting duties and Extras and Ghost Town and The Invention of Lying and An Idiot Abroad and producing (and dissing) NBC’s The Office and being called one of the world’s most influential people by TIME.

So, really, he’s not doing anything of note.

Tim Canterbury, played by Martin Freeman

Martin Freeman (whose Wikipedia describes him as “made of fish fingers, and is 0.01% custard exactly”) had a very nice 2003: he, of course, had the Christmas special finale of The Office, where Tim (finally!) got the girl of his dreams; memorably appeared in Love, Actually, along with every other British person ever; and was cast in the well-received miniseries, Charles II: The Power and the Passion. For the rest of the decade, however, he wasn’t as lucky. Outside of cameos in Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, where he played Bizarro Simon Pegg, and starring in the short-lived The Robinsons, he didn’t appear in anything particularly worthwhile (including 2009’s Boy Meets Girl). That changed in 2010, when he was picked by Steven Moffat to play Dr. John Watson in the BBC’s Sherlock (which you should totally check out) and, even better, Peter Jackson to star as Bilbo Baggins in the two-part Hobbit film adaptation. It’s just the kind of wide exposure someone as talented as Freeman deserves, and its years overdue.

Gareth Keenan, played by Mackenzie Cook

I’ll admit that I didn’t watch The Office until 2006, which means the world had already been subjected to two Pirates of the Caribbean films (Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man’s Chest). So, before I knew him as Gareth Keenan, who’s even more of a suck up than Dwight Schrute, I thought of Cook as Ragetti, the glass-eyed pirate. Those two films, as well as the third in the series, At World’s End (he doesn’t appear in the just-released On Stranger Tides), are Cook’s most well-known role, and with good reason: he hasn’t done much else, mass audience-wise. He appeared in The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino and The Brothers Grimm with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, but otherwise it’s been a lot of small roles for the actor, like playing John White on the original Skins and a postman in the music video for Paul McCartney’s “Dance Tonight,” alongside Natalie Portman. He’s also done a lot of theatre work, and in December, will play one-half of a smuggling duo in Peter Jackson (who must love The Office) and Steve Spielberg’s Adventures of Tin-Tin: Secret of the Unicorn.

Dawn Tinsley, played by Lucy Davis

Sigh, Lucy. You were so lovely on The Office, and equally as wonderful as daffy Dianne in Shaun of the Dead (although you did kind of kill Ed). From 2006-2008, David made a series of appearances on Reaper, Californication, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Ugly Betty, and starred in Married Single Other, which was cancelled after one series. She’s stayed in the news, though, or at least the tabloids, because of her wedding to Owain Yeoman (The Mentalist, a show Davis made a one-episode cameo in), which took place at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (the church is usually set aside for royalty but because Davis’s father, comedian Jasper Carrott, is a member of the Order of the British Empire, they were permitted to marry there), and their subsequent separation earlier this year. Hoping to steady her career, Davis will next appear, along with Kevin Corrigan, in the promising sounding (seriously!) Some Guy Who Kills People, an intentional B-movie about some guy who kills people, followed by 2012’s Nitrate, which IMDb describes as: “A young filmmaker seeks to reconstruct his hero’s unfinished masterpiece, but finds himself caught in a web of obsession, old lies and murder.”

Keith Bishop, played by Ewen MacIntosh

Like his American counterpart Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone), it’d be easy to assume that MacIntosh, who played the slightly, um, slow accountant Keith Bishop on The Office would be typecast as “The, Um, Slow Guy,” but he’s done relatively well for himself over these past eight years. Most notably: he’s a part of the four-man comedy group, Navelgazing, who have had viral video success with their pop opera group, 4Tissimo, including “HipHopera.” MacIntosh also has an amusing Twitter, which can be read here.

Ben, played by Ben Bradshaw

He was a mostly anonymous character on The Office (his most memorable moment occurred during Red Nose Day, when he was depantsed on camera) whose position at Wernham Hogg Paper Company I’m pretty sure we never actually knew, and his partial anonymity has continued into his post-Office roles, too. Since 2003, he has only four acting credits to his name, none of which are particularly impressive, unless you’re a big fan of the Holby City episode, “Something in the Air.” Thing is, “Ben Bradshaw” is just his stage name; his actual name is Brian Stewart, a playwright whose work for the theatre group Company of Ten includes Killing Castro and Marilyn Case #81128, about Marilyn Monroe.

Chris “Finchy” Finch, played by Ralph Ineson

“Give me half hour with her, I’d be up to me nuts in guts.” You can’t argue with the wisdom of the sexist, oafish, and downright cruel Finch, played by Ralph Ineson, who was lucky enough to be cast in the sixth and seventh Harry Potter films as Amycus Carrow, one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. In the past few years, he’s made TV appearances on the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street, Suburban Shootout, and in 2010, Paul the Masseuse on The IT Crowd. The well-respected character actor has had roles in dozens of other TV shows and films, including Merlin, Robin Hood, Another Year, and Magnolia (but not the Magnolia you’re thinking of!), and can next be seen in 2012’s Titanic, an ITV mini-series about the doomed boat.

The Ogg Monster, played by Stephen Merchant

Although not nearly as well known as Ricky Gervais, there wouldn’t be an Office or Extras or An Idiot Abroad or The Ricky Gervais Show without Stephen Merchant, who’s just as much as creative force as his long-time collaborator. The two co-wrote every episode of The Office and Extras, where Merchant appeared as The Ogg Monster and Andy Millman’s terrible agent, Darren Lamb. The “stick insect with glasses,” as Gervais once called him, has also had memorable roles in Hot Fuzz and Hall Pass; lent his voice to Gnomeo and Juliet, for some reason (also perplexing: The Tooth Fairy), and the amazing video game Portal 2; and will soon appear in Movie 43, a full-length film made up of comedy shorts, alongside Elizabeth Banks and Bob Odenkirk. Also upcoming: another Gervais and Merchant production, Life’s Too Short, about a fictionalized version of Warwick Davis, played by Warwick Davis, and a standup tour that will take him to New York’s Town Hall in December.

Glynn, played by David Schaal

The former warehouse manager was actually born in America (New Mexico, specifically) before moving to England at a young age. After The Office went off the air in 2003, he, like so many others in the cast, appeared on EastEnders, The IT Crowd, and Doctors, as well as a more recent role on The Inbetweeners. He’s done plenty of advertising work — according to Schaal’s website, he “sneezed a lot in a Kleenex commercial” and “appeared naked in the shower before being kidnapped by the Swedish mafia in an IKEA commercial” — and has a long history of working in the theatre, including co-writing the punk rock-aided Reality Chokes, about a man going through a midlife crisis, produced by the company he co-founded, The Real London Ensemble Theater Co. Schaal also runs a “dynamic, drama-based training company,” Playout, that specializes in staff and client communication skills, something Glynn would probably have said “fack off” to.

Rachel, played by Stacey Roca

Playing Rachel, the woman that temporarily got between Tim and Dawn (as well as the woman who encouraged David Brent to do his famous dance), was Roca’s first TV role, with her only other major credit coming from appearing in the Pet Shop Boys’ musical, Closer to Heaven. After The Office, she went through a lot of one-time TV roles, like playing “Ruby Robson” on Wild at Heart and “Mags Alderton” on Murder Investigation Team, before appearing in all six installments of ITV’s Strictly Confidential and eight episodes of Waking the Dead. She has no upcoming films or TV spots, says IMDB, but! The BBC says she’s a trained belly dancer.

Josh Kurp can next be seen in Free Love Freeway.