The Office. II is true that his wedding in 2()()l coincided with the shooting of the first series. so he had to go down the aisle with the self same hairdo. ‘I tried to pttt some product in and tease it a hit. but within an hour or so it had just flopped hack downf he said after the eyent. Some photo album they ’ll hay'e.

That aside. he tends not to go around looking like a paper sales rep from Slough. When we meet in his manager's office in central London. his hair is recognisahly the same. but more tussled and wayward. And he sports a silyer ring in each car. which (iareth and his pals in the 'l’erritorial Army would neyer haye tolerated.

The only small cltte to his celebrity status is his big. black designer watch. Otherwise. he is dressed iii regulation slacker gear: jeans. trainers. white sweatshirt topped by a faded 'llshirt with liippy motif. What is familiar is his skinniness. that angular jaw line and those intense eyes ready to pop out of his head the moment he‘s made the hull of another joke in the Ricky (ieryais sitcom.

Talking of which. what news of the ('hristmas specials'.’ "l'hey're hrilliant. really good.’ he says. 'l‘m sworn to secrecy about what happens in them. but they 'ye done really well to round eyerything off and all the story lines are tied tip. lt caps off the first two series and with these e\tra episodes it will all fit together as one work.’

What was it like getting to the end of filming knowing that The (Mice would he no more‘.’ ‘lt was sad. but good.' he says. 'liy‘cry'onc is agreed that it‘s the right time to stop it before it starts waning. But it's sad to let it go. because we had such a laugh. It‘s the best time he had at work

llc‘ adds: ‘:\L‘ilng in The Office ls completely different: not being afraid to overlap other people's lines or to stumble or say something wrong and correct yourself. which you neyer see on TV. lt’s liberating to not worry about getting your lines exactly right. although the lines are so well written that you want to stick to them anyway.‘

The Office will. howeyer. haye one more lease of life in the fortn of a ['8 remake. "l'he idea of remaking it seems a shame to me.‘ he says. ‘lt's kind of la/y we watch American sitcoms. why can't they haye a go at

14 THE LIST '-T .-‘ '. .4

Will the real Mackenzie Crook stand up? Crook

in The Office (above left), in Pirates of the Carribean (left), and starring as himself (above) at the London premiere of Pirates

one ofoui's'.’ But Ricky ‘s yery much inyolyed in it and I trust him completely. 'l‘hey'ye got one of the guys who writes Hie .S‘iiii/isoiis writing it with Ricky. so it might lk‘ really good:

With so much going on in his life. the chance to see (‘rook playing his cruel l’li teacher alter ego. .\lr Bagshaw. this fortnight in (llasgow is one you should take. It's not just that Hollywood is tempting him away from the liye circuit where he first got himself noticed (Boh Mortimer saw him do a gig in lidinhurgh and put in a good word for him with a TV production company i. it’s that he‘s finding it e\ er harder to conquer his shyness.

‘l‘m coming to the end of doing stand—up. inst because it terrifies me.' he say s. adding that two writers are working on a .\li‘ Bagshaw sitcom script. ‘I get really neryotis before a When you go a month without doing a gig it‘s really difficult. Your whole day is spent building tip to it and I can do without that now. But I hope I w ill always go hack occasionallyf

()ne of the great things about ('rook as a performer is that he doesn't seek your sympathy. It‘s fine to latiin at his characters: the actor behind them doesn‘t need your loy'e. But although he admits his characters are ‘odious'. he still has a soft spot for them. 'l do like Mr Bagshaw. He's not a pure monster. and (iareth isn‘t a monster. Bagshaw desperately wants to he liked and goes about it in the wrong way. He was prohahly hullied at school which is why he's such a hully now. .»\nd (iareth is just llLff\L‘. like a child. So yes. I'm fond of (iareth: he‘s an idiot. but he‘s well meaning. l’m fond of them hotli.'

So on the road to getting that ()scar. what part would he like to play if he had the choice'.’ ‘l'd really like to play Kurt (‘ohaiiif he says without hesitation. ‘l‘m a inassiye .\'ir\ana fan. lt‘ll haye to he quite soon. because he was younger than me when he died. I’m a lliilsslVL‘ fan of .\'ick l)rake as well. so I guess all my heroes kill theiiiselyes. But I think he play ed enough trampy. drug-addict loser characters and I'd like to try something else . . .‘

Mackenzie Crook appears as Mr Bagshaw as part of the Stand Up with Durex Performa Tour, Big Top, George Square, Glasgow, Sat 25 Oct.


The success of America‘s version of The Office might come down to one thing: the casting of David Brent. We speculate on some contemporary TV characters who could jump ship into the paper merchant’s scuffed shoes. >' 1:: Brian Donaldson

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