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15 Downsize David MrOizo.jpg
David Brent shows off Flat Eric
Episode no. Episode 1
Original airdate 9 July 2001
Written by Ricky Gervais
Stephen Merchant
Directed by Ricky Gervais
Stephen Merchant
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Premiere Work Experience

Downsize is the first episode of first series of The Office.


A documentary crew films the everyday activities of the Slough branch of fictional paper merchant Wernham Hogg. The regional manager of the branch is David Brent, an irritating, middle-aged man who thinks he is as likable as he is entertaining. Among Brent's employees are Dawn Tinsley, Brent's reluctant receptionist; Tim Canterbury, a well-liked sales representative; and Gareth Keenan, the sycophantic assistant to the regional manager.

Early in the day, Jennifer Taylor Clarke visits David for a meeting to inform him that Wernham Hogg can't run both a Slough branch and a Swindon branch. One of the branches will inevitably be merged with the other, depending on which is the most efficient. David panics at the thought of the Slough branch closing and his employees being made redundant, but he promises to keep Jennifer's announcement under wraps. However, rumours quickly spread around the office.

In addition to hiring a new forklift driver, David shows new temporary employee Ricky Howard around the office. During Ricky's tour, Tim sparks conflict with Gareth after he discovers his stapler inside a jelly. Rather than punishing Tim, David focuses more on trying to come up with a joke for the situation. Later, after Gareth forbids Tim from using his stapler, Tim takes it and ends up dropping it out of a window after a humourous argument. Tim then makes an improvised partition between his and Gareth's desk using box files.

At lunchtime, David interupts Dawn's lunch, a piece of brie, to tell her about having a testicular cancer scare earlier.

After various employees confront David about the rumours, David holds a meeting and explains the situation to everyone. Employees are immediately worried for their jobs.

At the end of the day, Tim invites Dawn to go out with him and some other employees for an "end of the week drink". Unfortunately, their conversation is interrupted by Lee, Dawn's fiancé.

Before Dawn leaves, David tells her that she is being fired for stealing Post-it notes. When Dawn cries, he subsequently backtracks claiming it was only a joke. Ricky watches, silently horrified at the behaviour of his new boss.


  • David Brent: If a good man [pauses to point at the man he's talking to] comes to me and says "thank you David for the opportunity and continued support in the work-related arena, but I've done that, I want to better myself, I want to move on then I can make that dream come true to, aka, for you. The point is, you talk the talk you do not walk the walk, vis a vis, you have not yet passed your fork-lift driver's test.
  • David Brent: I'd say that at one time or another every man in the office has woken up at the crack of dawn [sniggers]
    Dawn Tinsley: What!?
    David: [Sheepishly] Can I have the mail please?
  • David Brent: Professionalism is ...and that is what I want.
  • David Brent: This is the accounts department, the number bods. Do not be fooled by their job descriptions, they are absolutely mad, all of ‘em. Especially that one, he’s mental. Not literally of course, that wouldn’t work.
  • David Brent: What is the single most important thing for a company? Is it the building? Is it the stock? Is it the turnover? It’s the people, investment in people. My proudest moment here wasn’t when I increased profits by 17%, or cut expenditure without losing a single member of staff. No. It was a young Greek guy, first job in the country, hardly spoke a word of English, but he came to me and he went ‘Mr. Brent, will you be the godfather to my child?’. Didn’t happen in the end. We had to let him go, he was rubbish. He was rubbish!
  • David Brent: People say I'm the best boss. They go, "we've never worked in a place like this before, you're such a laugh, you get the best out of us." And I go, "oh, c'est la vie. If that's true, excellent."
  • Gareth Keenan: [Slaps Tim around the head with a newspaper] Whassssup!
    Tim Canterbury: Don't do that!
    Gareth: Just the eight pints for me last night, that's all. [Picks up newspaper] Oh no! Oh God! [Pretending to read from the paper] Boss and Team Leader out in drunken night out shock horror, says here. It's not like I'm out again tonight with Oggy. That'll be quiet night in at the library. Not! I don't think!
  • David Brent: I said, "If Head Office try and come here and interfere, they've got me to contend with, okay? You can go and fiddle with Neil's people, but I'm the head of this family. You're not going to fiddle with my children. I am, if anyone does."
  • David Brent: There should be no ego when pulling together to do something good. It's like Comic Relief. I'm out here in Africa and I'm seeing the flies and starvation. And she, if she is the boss, she's in the studio with Jonathan Ross and Lenny Henry and they've to their suits on. They're doing their bit, they counting the money. Good luck to them but their hands are clean. While I'm down here in the office, with little starving kids.
  • David Brent: Did I no want to hear that, Jenny. Because redundancies are a tragedy, always. I wouldn't wish it on my men, I wouldn't wish it on Neil's men. Or women. Present company excepted.
  • David Brent: What upsets me about the job? Erm, wasted talent. People could come to me and say, "excuse me David, but you've been in the business for twelve years, can you just spare us a moment to tell us how to run a team, keep them task-orientated as well as happy". But they don't. That's the tragedy.
  • David Brent: Do you want to get some batteries for Billy Big Mouth? Take it out of petty cash. You can't put a price on comedy.
Stapler in jelly
  • Gareth: [Opens drawer] Argh, what is that?!
    David: Woah woah woah woah, slow down you move to fast. Solomon's here, all part of the job. What's going on?
    Gareth: He's put my stapler inside a jelly again. That's the third time he's done it. It wasn't even funny the first time.
    David: Why's he done that?
    Gareth: I told him once that I don't like jelly, I don't trust the way it moves.
    David: Yeah, you've shown him a weakness and he's pounced. You should know about that.
    [Gareth pulls the stapler out of the jelly]
    David: Well don't do that! Eat it out! There are people starving in the world which I hate, so... And it's a waste. How do you know it's yours?
    Gareth: It's got my name on it in tipp-ex.
    David: Yeah, don't eat it. Chemicals.
    Gareth: Right, you can be my witness. Give him an official warning.
    Tim: [Eating jelly] How do you know it was me?
    Gareth: Can't you disipline him!?
    David: Ooh, kinky! [no one laughs] No, the thing about practical jokes is you've got to know when to stop as well as when to start and now's the time to stop putting Gareth's personal possessions in jelly. Alright?
    Tim: Gareth, it's only a trifling matter.
    David: [sniggers and high-five's Tim] Here we go!
  • David: Oh trouble. Sanj! Sanj this is Ricky. This guy does the best Ali G impersonation. Aiiight! I can't do it, do it.
    Sanj: I don't, you're thinking of someone else.
    David: Oh, it's the other one!
    Sanj: The other what? Paki?
    David: Ah. That's racist. [Walks away offended]
  • Gareth: I'm not worried for me, I'll be alright. But if there does have to be a cull then so be it.I mean that's just natural selection. In the wild some people wouldn't survive. I mean, imagine a warehouse where a little midget fella is driving a fork-lift, ok. He can't see over the top. He's got great big platform shoes on so he can reach the pedals, 'coz of his little legs... Anton's a lovely bloke, don't get me wrong, but should he be working here?
  • David: I suppose I've created an atmosphere where I'm a friend first and a boss second. Probably an entertainer third.

Cultural References

  • Whassup? - Popular catchphrase used in TV/radio commercials for Budweiser beer from 1999 to 2002. By the time of the first episode of the Office aired the popularity of the phrase was no longer in use besides by a few sad people like Gareth and David.
  • Flat Eric - The yellow puppet on the coatstand is Flat Eric and was originally seen in Levi's commercials for "Sta-Prest One Crease Denim Clothing". Flat Eric starred in the adverts with his friend Angel in California and was wanted by the police. The adverts were soundtracked with Flat Beat by Mr. Oizo. Flat Eric was built by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, and his name came from an idea for a commercial that included having a car run over his head and flattening it. The idea was not used but the name stuck. [1] In 2004, he co-starred with David Soul in a TV advert for Auto Trader magazine.
  • Rickaaaay! - Ricky Butcher is a fictional character in the BBC soap EastEnders and had a relationship with Bianca. She was bossy, authoritative and was notorious for shouting the catchphrase 'Rickaaaayy!'.


  • Oggy is first mentioned by Gareth (04:55)


External links

Series 1 Episodes:
Downsize | Work Experience | The Quiz | Training | New Girl | Judgement
Series 2 Episodes:
Merger | Appraisals | Party | Motivation | Charity | Interview
Christmas: Part 1 | Part 2 | "The Office Values" and "Realising Potential"
Main Characters:
David Brent | Tim Canterbury | Gareth Keenan | Dawn Tinsley
Secondary Characters:
Anne | Keith Bishop | Donna | Chris Finch | Neil Godwin | Ricky Howard |
Lee | Malcolm | "Oggy" | Rachel | Karen Roper |
Jennifer Taylor-Clarke
Minor Characters:
Alex | Ben | Book of Native American Wisdom | Brenda | Carol | Fish Fingers | Stuart Foot |
Glynn | Gobbler | Jamie | Jeff | Jimmy the Perv | Joan | Oliver | Rowan | Sanj | Simon | Sheila |
Paul Shepherd | Tony | Trudy