Dawn Tinsley

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Dawn Tinsley
First appearance Pilot
Last appearance Christmas Special Part 2
Created by Ricky Gervais
Stephen Merchant
Portrayed by Lucy Davis
Information
Gender Female
Occupation Receptionist
Spouse(s) Lee (fiancé) 2000–2004 split, Tim Canterbury

Dawn Tinsley is a fictional character in the BBC sitcom The Office, played by Lucy Davis. She is a receptionist for paper merchants Wernham Hogg and was originally engaged to warehouse worker Lee. Her American The Office equivalent is Pam Beesly. She is also the inspiration for Laetitia Kadiri in the French version of the show, Le Bureau, and Anne Viens in the Québécois version, La Job.

Despite her engagement, it is apparent that she shares a mutual attraction to senior sales representative Tim Canterbury.

She resigns towards the end of the second series to move with fiancé Lee to Florida to stay with Lee's sister's family.

Her story continues in the Christmas Specials when the documentary producers pay for her and Lee to fly back to the UK to attend the Christmas party and reunion, set three years after the end of series two. She finally leaves Lee for the long-suffering Tim, after he encourages her to hold onto her dream of being a children's book illustrator, an ambition which Lee sought to put down at every opportunity.

Relationship with Lee[edit]

Lee (Joel Beckett) has been Dawn's boyfriend since school, and as of the first series, her fiance for three years. Lee proposed through an ad in the paper rather than in person. Dawn comments that she believes he had to pay by the letter, as the ad merely reads "Lee love Dawn. Marriage?" She sheds positive light on this by commenting that it's rare to find something romantic and thrifty.

Lee's relationship with Dawn is constantly problematic, even though she stays with him up until the end of the series. Lee is essentially portrayed as a decent man and solid, dependable partner. However he is seen to be sexist and derogatory towards Dawn; during one episode, he tells his coworkers in the factory that she will "take her milkers out for a tenner", upsetting both Dawn and Tim. He is also often distant and unsympathetic, and doesn't appreciate Dawn's ambition. In The Quiz, Lee discusses plans for their future, citing that they will get married at a register office to save money and move in with his parents to save on rent. His plans for Dawn include her becoming first a mother, then probably a cleaner. He also apparently lacks a sense of humour, even trumping on a prank perpetrated by Tim on Gareth.

It becomes apparent that Lee is also behind Dawn abandoning her dream to become an illustrator. In the second series she reveals that he pushed her to get a full-time job, which meant she was unable to work as an illustrator anymore. In the final episode of the show, his reason for Dawn to abandon being an illustrator becomes clearer, insensitively stating that in order to be an illustrator "you got to be good."

Dawn seems to stay with Lee out of habit and loyalty, and fear of being lonely. However, in the final episode of the show, Dawn breaks off her engagement to Lee and begins a relationship with Tim Canterbury.

Relationship with Tim Canterbury[edit]

Tim and Dawn are close friends, but obviously have deeper feelings for one another. Tim and Dawn's relationship is also seen to be very flirtatious at times. However, Dawn's engagement to Lee prevents them from becoming more than friends for quite some time.

Their friendship seems to suffer after the episode Training, in which Dawn and Lee are having problems. Tim consoles her throughout the episode, but mistakenly comes to the conclusion that Lee and Dawn have split. He then asks Dawn out on a date in front of everyone, where she tells him that she and Lee are still together. Embarrassed, Tim insists he was just asking her out as a friend.

During the second series Dawn and Tim remain friends, but don't seem to be as close anymore. Tim starts to take his job more seriously after being promoted and becomes somewhat distant towards Dawn at first. Tim also begins to date Rachel, one of the former Swindon employees, and Dawn grows jealous (along with Gareth, who claims he had feelings for Rachel before Tim).

In the fifth episode of the second series, Dawn is selling kisses for Red Nose Day. After Tim makes a contribution, they share a kiss. Tim is then driven to choose between Rachel and Dawn, unaware of Dawn and Lee's plans to move to America.

In the next episode he makes his decision, breaking up with Rachel. Tim soon discovers that Dawn is leaving for Florida with Lee. Initially Tim seems reluctant to say anything, but changes his mind during an interview with the camera crew and runs to tell Dawn how he feels. Their conversation is kept private as Tim takes off his microphone, but he emerges unsuccessful and admits Dawn said no. The second series ends with Dawn and Tim depressed.

Three years pass, with Tim remaining complacent in his job at Wernham-Hogg and Dawn existing unhappily with Lee in Florida. When asked if they would fly back to Slough for a Christmas reunion, Dawn hesitates and explains that that would cost "three months of wages", so the camera crew interferes by offering to pay for the flight and lodgings. Dawn and Lee are flown back for the reunion, and she resumes her friendship with Tim briefly. When Dawn receives a Christmas present from Tim (some paints with the note 'never give up' written on the sketch that Dawn had drawn for him earlier that day) encouraging her to hold on to her ambition of becoming an illustrator, she leaves Lee and returns to the Christmas party, where she and Tim kiss and finally become a couple.