Czech TV to make local version of The Office

'Kancl', photo: Czech Television

The hit BBC series The Office has been remade in many countries including the US, France Germany and even Chile. Last year, the first ever stage version of the comedy was produced in Prague, and now, Czechs can look forward to their very own TV version of The Office after Czech TV said it would air the fist six episodes next spring. I spoke to David Ondrůj, a co-author of the Czech version called Kancl.

'Kancl',  photo: Czech Television
“The head of Czech TV’s Brno programming department, David Ziegelbauer was looking for ideas for TV series, and as he is a big fan of Ricky Gervais’ work, he chose The Office.

“I think you can use The Office, the script, at any time because the humour is pretty much timeless; you can enjoy it regardless of whether it’s 10 or 20 years old.”

How closely will the Czech version follow the original BBC series?

“The plot is the same. We put more characters in it, and we adapted it to the Czech office environment. And we of course modernized it a little – people will not be using faxes, for instance, but computers, and so on. But the basic plot of the first series is the same – laying off people in the office.”

Václav Kopta,  photo: Czech Television
So how will it be Czechified – what Czech elements will the series have?

“We were trying to put in more laziness; some of the characters avoid work more, are a bit lazier and care more about where to go have lunch than about selling paper.

“The main character is the funny guy who takes care of the jokes in the office but there is also a bit of evil in him. He can be very hard on people when he gets cornered.”

The actor Václav Kopta will play David Brent in Kancl. Is he a similar type to Ricky Gervais or does he have a different approach?

“That’s difficult to say but I think he’ll have a slightly different approach, he will not be copying Ricky Gervais. He’s more He’s more of a teddy bear, I would say.”

Ricky Gervais,  photo: Thomas Atilla Lewis,  CC BY-SA 2.0
You have chosen Brno as the series’ setting. How does it correspond to Slough, the town in the UK where the original series was set?

“Well, the department of Czech TV that will produce the show is based in Brno so we have everything there including the company where we’ll do the actual shooting. So I don’t think it has anything to do with Slough.”

When will the shooting start and when will the series be aired?

“Shooting will start in January, and it should premiere in the spring. The date has not been set yet but it should be in the spring of 2014.”