‘Office’ trailblazer goes soft in sentimental Christmas movie

You’d assume that Emmy winner Stephen Service provider, who co-created “The Workplace” and “Extras” with Ricky Gervais, could be the cynical type.

Assume once more.

“A number of stuff I’ve completed up to now has been fairly edgy and grownup, for those who like, and … I love to do one thing I can watch with my mother and pop and niece and nephew and this got here alongside,” Service provider says of his co-starring function in “Click on & Gather,” a sentimental Christmas film (assume “Planes, Trains & Vehicles” or “Jingle All of the Manner”) premiering Dec. 24.

“I’m not cynical,” he says, “though lots of what I’ve completed, both ‘The Workplace’ or ‘Extras,’ on the floor there looks like there’s lots of cynicism. However for those who take a look at these exhibits, they finally ended with, I hope, an upbeat type of message. Regardless that each Ricky and I’ve a wholesome, satirical black-comedy edge to what we do, there’s sentiment to us as nicely.

“I’m type of a sucker for it, actually,” Service provider says. “I really like any type of grinchy man who learns a lesson at Christmas.”

The “grinchy man” in “Gather” — streaming on British TV hub BritBox — is Andrew Bennett (Service provider), who’s compelled to take a street journey along with his divorced, obnoxious (learn: lonely) neighbor Dev (Asim Chaudhry, Chabuddy G. from “Folks Simply Do Nothing”). It’s Christmas Eve, and Andrew’s daughter pines for her “must-have” Christmas present: Sparklehoof the Unicorn Princess. The one drawback? There appears to be just one Sparklehoof left “in all the UK” (based on Dev) and it’s sitting on a toy-store shelf in Carlisle, 300 miles away. The eager-to-please Dev (his ex-wife and children are spending Christmas at Disney World) places Sparklehoof on maintain along with his bank card — guaranteeing that he’ll have to take the snowy, four-hour drive with Andrew to retrieve his daughter’s dream toy. What might probably go incorrect?

The Service provider-Chaudhry pairing isn’t solely coincidental: “Folks Simply Do Nothing” has drawn extensive (generally pointed) comparisons to the British model of “The Workplace”; its creators (together with Chaudhry) usually cite the Service provider-Gervais docu-comedy collection as a major inspiration.

“I don’t know whether or not that is true in America, however within the UK Christmas is a giant [TV] second,” Service provider says. “Lots of people eat, drink and sit and watch TV and there are many Christmas specials — ‘Downton Abbey,’ ‘Physician Who’ … we did it with ‘The Workplace’ and ‘Extras.’ Fairly often they do these one-off issues the place they create a few folks collectively who haven’t collectively earlier than and there’s type of a novelty to it.

“I knew, having seen Asim’s work on TV, that we’d hit it off and we did. We had a very good time,” Service provider says.

“As quickly as I met Asim, the very first thing I stated to him was, ‘I really like “Folks Simply Do Nothing.” Of all “The Workplace” ripoffs, it’s among the best.’ ”

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