Set to begin filming this month, ‘Al Maktab’ will be directed by Hisham Fathi, with Alessandro Martella as DOP and AFLAM’s Shadi Mcdad as producer.
BBC Studios and MBC Studios have announced a new scripted format agreement that will see the award-winning comedy series, The Office remade for audiences across the Arab world.
Titled Al Maktab, the Saudi-led version of the comedy will be produced by MBC Studios, with support from the BBC Studios international production team who have licensed the format.
Scheduled to begin filming this June (2022), the Arabic-language series is to be directed by renowned Egyptian filmmaker Hisham Fathi, with Alessandro Martella as director of photography (DoP) and AFLAM Productions’ Shadi Mcdad as producer.
André Renaud, SVP Format Sales for BBC Studios 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. I’m sure audiences in the Middle East and the Gulf will take Malik and his team to their hearts as much as audiences did with David Brent in the UK over twenty years ago”.
Zeinab Abul Alsamh – General Manager of MBC Studios KSA added: “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. Al Maktab features a very talented cast from Saudi Arabia and beyond who will bring the stories of this eccentric group of colleagues and their boss to life, reimagined for Middle Eastern and Gulf audiences for the very first time. It’s definitely one for the history books!”
A fly-on-the-wall style mocumentary, the original version of The Office was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and first aired in the UK over 20 years ago. The agreement with MBC Studios and BBC Studios will mark the 12thinternational sale of the format, alongside other territories including the US, Canada, Chile, France, India and most recently in Poland.
In the Saudi adaptation, Al Maktab is set in a courier services company, with the main character played by Saleh Abuamrh. He plays Malik Al-Tuwaifi, the self-absorbed yet loveable boss.
Also joining the cast are Fahad Albutairi, Nawaf Alshobaili, Saad Aziz, Adhwa Fahad, Razan Mansour, Reem Busati, Hisham Hawsawi, and others.
The twenty-part series will br broadcast on MBC’s TV channels, and stream via Shahid VIP – MBC’s Arabic streaming platform – later this year.