It has been 20 years since The Office first graced our television screens – and continues to be watched, referenced and talked about after all that time.

But creator and the man behind the (let’s face it, awful) boss, David Brent, has suggested that the show would not be made now, as a result of cancel culture.

Speaking to the BBC, which aired the fly-on-the-wall comedy in the early noughties, Ricky Gervais said: “I mean now it would be cancelled. I’m looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it.

“Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I say, ‘Good, let them cancel it. I’ve been paid!’.'”

Some of the jokes in the show, mostly made by Brent and his sidekick Gareth (played by Mackenzie Crook), perhaps have not aged particularly well – but Gervais says we’re not meant to relate to him.

He says: “In The Office, the audience are encouraged to identify not with the ignorant Brent, but with the characters Dawn and Tim, and the victims of Brent’s ill-conceived comments are never racial or gendered caricatures, rather they are ordinary, intelligent people.”

More recently, shows such as Little Britain have come under fire for insensitive and often racist and transphobic depictions of people, which led to calls for the programme to be removed from streaming services.

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Even 20 years on, The Office, which only ran for two seasons and two specials, is still widely regarded as one of the best British comedies of all time, and launched the careers of the likes of Martin Freeman, Lucy Davis and Patrick Baladi.

In 2015 it was awarded Broadcast’s best show of the past 20 years award, and has won a host of Baftas, Royal Television Awards and Golden Globes.

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Gervais even wrote and starred in a film spin-off called David Brent: Life On The Road, which followed the character on his ill-fated music career.

But its lasting legacy is undoubtedly its much-adored US version, which launched in 2005 and ran for nine seasons.

Gervais wrote the first season of the American iteration with long-time writing partner Stephen Merchant, with Steve Carrell taking on the Brent-inspired role of Michael Scott, and it turned people like Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer into household names.

Both versions of The Office are available on Netflix.

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