BBC needs 'to have one voice' says broadcaster Mike Read
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The Bristolian comedian, 46, is known for co-writing and co-directing BBC sitcom, 'The Office'. The funnyman made the programme with Ricky Gervais, who also starred in the show as office manager David Brent. The pair continued to work together on more comedies, including 'Extras' and 'Life’s Too Short'. They also teamed up for 'The Ricky Gervais Show', one of the first mainstream podcasts, which was later broadcast on Channel 4 .
Since then, Stephen has also found success on his own, including on the BBC's new comedy thriller 'The Offenders'.
The show follows the lives of seven strangers who are renovating a derelict building in Bristol as part of their community service.
Stephen co-wrote and stars in the six-parter, which also features legendary US actor Christopher Walken.
The Offenders drops on BBC One at 9pm and BBC Iplayer on Monday.
Filming for the show restarted earlier this month and finally concluded this week.
Stephen Merchant said BBC fear of woke ‘liberal agenda’ would have ‘shut down’ The Office (Image: GETTY)
Stars: Merchant and Ricky Gervais (Image: GETTY)
Shooting began in March 2020, but just ten days in the set was shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Stephen will chat about his latest project on 'The Graham Norton Show' on BBC One tonight.
Graham will also be joined by actors Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley, who are appearing together in a West End production of 'Cabaret'.
Motsi Mabuse: To appear on Graham Norton Show (Image: GETTY)
Stephen has not been afraid of airing his political views in the past, including about so-called' 'woke' culture.
In a throwback interview with the Daily Telegraph from 2015, the star said the "liberal agenda" meant the BBC probably wouldn't make The Office today.
He said: "This idea that we have to police ourselves, that we might say the wrong thing and upset someone or something. It's not fun. It's just not fun.
"I don't think The Office would have got off the ground if we'd made it now. I think it would have been shut down. I think the BBC would have been too jumpy."
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BBC: May not make The Office today (Image: GETTY)
'The Office', which was first broadcast on BBC Two, revolved around the Slough branch of the fictional Wernham Hogg paper company.
Its characters, especially David Brent, were known for engaging in "laddish" humour, as well as for holding views that were not seen as politically correct.
Stephen also said: "It feels like we've come from a point when I was growing up, where the right, if you like, were dictating what could be said and done and seen.
The Office: Show featured “laddish” humour (Image: GETTY)
"Where Mary Whitehouse was the figurehead of censorship.
"And increasingly now it feels like it's the liberal agenda that dictates what can and cannot be joked about."
The Graham Norton Show will be broadcast on BBC One tonight from 10:35pm to 11:25pm.
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