The IT Crowd
|The IT Crowd|
The IT Crowd title logo used from 2006 until 2013.
|Created by||Graham Linehan|
Chris Morris (series 1–2)
Matt Berry (series 2–4)
|Theme music composer||Neil Hannon|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||25 (+1 special) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Ash Atalla (2006–2008)|
|Producer(s)||Talkback Thames (2006-2008)
|Running time||24 minutes (special approx 47 minutes)|
|Original channel||Channel 4|
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV) (2006–10)
1080i (HDTV) (2013)
|Original release||3 February 2006– 27 September 2013|
The IT Crowd is a British sitcom by Channel 4, written by Graham Linehan, produced by Ash Atalla and starring Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson and Matt Berry. The "IT" in the show's title can be pronounced as the letters IT //, as in the abbreviation for information technology, or as the word "it".
Set in the London offices of the fictional Reynholm Industries, the show revolves around the three staff members of its IT department: a geeky genius named Maurice Moss (Ayoade), the work-shy Roy Trenneman (O'Dowd), and Jen Barber (Parkinson), the department head/relationship manager, who knows nothing about IT. The show also focuses on the bosses of Reynholm Industries: Denholm Reynholm (Chris Morris) and later, his son Douglas (Matt Berry).
The comedy premiered on Channel 4 on 3 February 2006, and ran for four series of six episodes each. Although a fifth series was commissioned, it was never produced. The programme was concluded with a special, one-off episode, aired on 27 September 2013.
- 1 Series overview
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Cultural references
- 4 Production
- 5 Broadcast and release
- 6 Reception
- 7 Adaptations
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
The IT Crowd is set in the offices of Reynholm Industries, a fictional British corporation in central London, located at 123 Carenden Road. It focuses on the shenanigans of the three-strong IT support team located in a dingy, untidy, and unkempt basement – a great contrast to the shining modern architecture and stunning London views enjoyed by the rest of the organisation. The obscurity surrounding what the company does serves as a running gag throughout the series – all that is known is that the company bought and sold ITV (a fact which Denholm Reynholm forgot completely), and once made part-year profits of "eighteen hundred billion billion". However; it is hinted that Reynholm Industries is a communications corporation, as Denholm Reynholm once claimed that the company, through buying mobile phone carriers and television stations, had created the largest communications empire in Great Britain. Douglas Reynholm claims his father Denholm Reynholm described the IT department as being run by "a dynamic go-getter, a genius and a man from Ireland".
Roy and Moss, the two technicians, are portrayed as socially inept geeks or, in Denholm Reynholm's words, "standard nerds". Despite the company's dependence on their services, they are despised, ignored, and considered losers by the rest of the staff. Roy's exasperation is reflected in his support techniques of ignoring the phone in the hope it will stop ringing, and using reel-to-reel tape recordings of stock IT suggestions ("Have you tried turning it off and on again?" and "Is it definitely plugged in?"). He expresses his personality by wearing a different geek T-shirt in each episode. Moss's wide and intricate knowledge of all things technical is reflected in his extremely accurate yet utterly indecipherable suggestions, while he demonstrates a complete inability to deal with practical problems like extinguishing fires and removing spiders. Moss is completely unable to deal with others in a rational manner, often citing bizarre facts about himself or technology, and is occasionally arrogant around others when it comes to computers.
Jen, the newest member of the team, is hopelessly non-technical, despite claiming on her CV that she has "a lot of experience with computers". As Denholm, the company boss, is equally tech-illiterate, he is convinced by Jen's interview bluffing and appoints her head of the IT department. After meeting Roy and Moss she redefines her role as "relationship manager", yet her attempts at bridging the gulf between the technicians and the business generally have the opposite effect, landing Jen in situations just as ludicrous as those of her team-mates.
Cast and characters
- Chris O'Dowd as Roy Trenneman – a laid-back IT technician from Ireland, Roy is often shown to go to great lengths to fob off workmates so he can sit around doing nothing. However, when something does happen, he is always the one who gets the wrong end of the stick and is constantly either injured or in distress.
- Richard Ayoade as Maurice Moss – highly intelligent with a lack of social skills, Moss struggles to communicate with anything that does not have a keyboard. Moss lives at home with his mother, who also dresses him and packs him lunch.
- Katherine Parkinson as Jen Barber – after claiming she has had "a lot of experience with computers" Jen is made head of Reynholm Industries IT department, where she is soon proven by Roy and Moss to in fact have no knowledge of IT at all. However, she finds her niche by working as the Relationship Manager between IT and the rest of Reynholm Industries. Jen frequently lies in attempts to get ahead in her professional and personal life, usually with disastrous results.
- Matt Berry as Douglas Reynholm (series 2 recurring, 3 & 4 main cast) – the son of Denholm "that fled from a hefty lawsuit to go off womanising all over the world" using his father's cash, Douglas inherits Reynholm Industries. At the end of series 4, he is taken to court by his apparently 'dead' wife, Victoria. There is quite an argument, but in the end she sues him for a large amount of money.
- Chris Morris as Denholm Reynholm (series 1 & 2 recurring, series 3 'From Hell') – the founder of Reynholm Industries, Denholm has very little understanding of IT. In series 2 Denholm is informed by the police of a problem with the company's pension accounts, leading him to commit suicide by walking out of a high storey window. He appears once in series 3 when Douglas sees him briefly in the afterlife.
- Noel Fielding as Richmond Avenal (series 1 & 2 recurring, series 4 one episode, "The Internet is Coming" ) – once a young go-getter at Reynholm Industries, Richmond was the right-hand-man to Denholm, before finding Cradle of Filth and becoming a goth – leading to his downfall as a successful businessman. As a result he ends up confined to the server room in the basement, next to the IT department. Richmond did not appear in Series 3 due to Noel Fielding's busy schedule. Richmond was said by Moss to have scurvy. In the fourth series' final episode, Richmond features once more in a guest appearance, where it is revealed that after he caught scurvy he decided that he didn't want to be a goth after all, and instead began running a successful business called "Goth2Boss" to encourage goths to cheer up and make good use of their lives.
||This section possibly contains original research. (January 2011)|
The show adds a large number of references to geek culture and professionalism, mostly in set dressing and props. Dialogue (both technical and cultural) is usually authentic and any technobabble used often contains in-jokes for viewers knowledgeable in such subjects. Roy regularly wears shirts that feature abbreviations, such as OMFG and RTFM. Series 3 Episode 1 has Roy wearing the Music Elitism Venn Diagram tee and I Screw Robots sticker from the webcomic Diesel Sweeties. On occasion, there will be movie-style scenes that parody fight scenes and melodrama.
In August 2008, unable to provide the props himself, Linehan appealed to fans to donate items to use for series 3, to make the set look like "a geek's Shangri-La". The Centre for Computing History loaned a collection of computers from the 1970s and 1980s. They included an Altair 8800, Oric Atmos, Amstrad CPC 464, Sinclair ZX81, Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2, Commodore 64, Commodore PET, Atari ST, Sord M5, Acorn RISC PC600, BBC Model B, an Astro Wars game, circuit boards from a Wang VS mainframe and several shelves of old computer manuals. A Map Overlay and Statistical System (MOSS) manual, with the letters M-O-S-S on the spine, sits on the shelf behind Moss.
Many items on the set reflect Linehan's own personal taste. There are numerous examples of this, but most noticeable are the V for Vendetta (Guy Fawkes) mask, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, various xkcd references, such as the "Map of Online Communities" poster and the "Actual Size!" sticker on Moss's computer, the Buddy Bradley doll, the Robert Pollard and Guided by Voices posters (Guided by Voices is one of Linehan's favourite bands, cropping up in background music, on T-shirts and getting a specific mention in series 3, episode 3), a poster of the album The Campfire Headphase by Boards of Canada and the War on Terror board game, which is played by Moss and Roy in series 2, episode 4. The main stickers found around the office include the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("Fair Use has a POSSE", "MP3 is not a crime", "Coding is not a crime") and the Open Rights Group. In the fourth series, some Ubuntu stickers were added, including one on Moss's monitor, Jen's office door, the mirror and the department's door.
Linehan wrote the entire series alone. The show was filmed before a live studio audience, which at the time was considered by some as risky, with the format thought to have been surpassed by more fly-on-the-wall type presentations. This was a deliberate choice by Linehan, who sought to challenge the current vogue for hailing the "death of the sitcom", stating "I trust my instincts, so I'm going to do it my way and hope people come to me". The first series was recorded in front of a live audience at Teddington Studios but moved to Pinewood Studios for series 2 onwards, with some additional location footage. Cinematic-style footage were also recorded before live tapings. The title sequence of the show was produced by Shynola.
Broadcast and release
The show is broadcast internationally. In Australia the show has been broadcast on ABC1 and UKTV. In Bulgaria, GTV began airing the show in July 2008, while Comedy Central Germany started airing the first series in September 2009. ETV has aired the show in Estonia. In Poland it has been shown on Comedy Central Poland and TVP2. In the Czech Republic the show was broadcast on Česká televize and HBO. TV 2 Zulu has aired the show in Denmark, as has Comedy Central in the Netherlands. Canal+ runs the show in Spain.
In the United States, episodes have been shown on IFC; all 4 series are also available for purchase in the iTunes Store. Canadian channel G4 ran the show during their Adult Digital Distraction block in July 2007. Presently, reruns air on BiteTV. In Brazil the show has been broadcast on I.Sat. In Mexico the show has aired on Canal 11 since 2010. It was also broadcast in Spain on Canal 3xl during 2011.
Ending and future
A fifth series was official commissioned by Channel 4, for release in 2011. Initially, series creator Graham Linehan had began pre-production on the new series; however this time working with a team of writers. Linehan stated it would be the shows last series, as a "goodbye to the characters". The team were unable to meet regularly, so instead looked to create a virtual writers room using Basecamp allowing the team to communicate online and codevelop plotlines, then scenes, then dialog - with Linehan putting together the script itself. Linehan reflected that a hindrance was Basecamp - which was a “stuffy, businesslike service that I think it actually ended up making everyone self-conscious” - however there wasn’t a suitable alternative. Despite this, stories did begin to formulate, with Linehan believing that it could work out. Ultimately due to Linehan’s schedule and budget the fifth season was shelved. Ideas for the fifth season included a Die Hard episode
After eventually scrapping a fifth season, Linehan then began working on a special episode. Due to the actors availability and Linehan busy with his TV adaptation of Count Arthur Strong, as well as working on The Walshes it wasn't until June 2014 that they were able to film the episode.
Linehan has stated that there are certain characters he would like to explore in future spinoff style specials - particularly Matt Berry’s character, Douglas. In at interview in 2014, expanding upon revisiting Douglas, Linehan stated he currently has a half formed idea, but with Matt Berry currently busy with his series Toast of London, Linehan will “pounce when he’s taking a rest”. Linehan has also expressed reprising Benedict Wong’s character Prime from the episode Final Countdown. Wong has also said that he'd be "thrilled" if Prime got his own series, joking it would be called Prime Time.
Home video releases
The first series was released in the UK as "The IT Crowd – Version 1.0" on 13 November 2006 by 2 Entertain Video Ltd. The DVD start-up sequence and subsequent menus are designed to resemble a ZX Spectrum. The DVD also included a short film written and directed by Linehan called Hello Friend, his directorial debut, and a tongue in cheek behind-the-scenes documentary presented by Ken Korda, a film maker created and portrayed by comedian Adam Buxton (of Adam and Joe). "The IT Crowd – Version 2.0" DVD was released in the UK on 1 October 2007, together with a box set containing both the first and second series. Retail chain HMV sold an exclusive limited edition version featuring a set of four postcards in the style of popular viral photos such as Ceiling Cat — here replicated as Ceiling Goth. While the first series DVD menus parodied 8-bit games, the Series 2 DVD menus parody 16-bit games and make reference to Zero Wing (all your base meme), Mortal Kombat, Tetris and Lemmings. There are also several 'hidden' extras encoded into the subtitles. These are done in much the same way as the base64 subtitles from Series 1, and include three JPG images and a text adventure game file. Episode 4 has a BBC BASIC listing, and Episode 6 has light bars in the corner of the screen which can be decoded using a light reader. Series 3 was released on 16 March 2009, the DVD menus are based on such internet games as GROW CUBE, Doeo and flow. The DVD for series 4 was released in the UK on 26 September 2010, also under the 2|entertain label. A box-set containing all four series was also released on the same day, which includes an IT Crowd-themed board game. The series 4 DVD includes a documentary feature on the computer games which served as inspiration for the menus on each of the series' DVDs, culminating in the game Windosill, the basis for the Season 4 DVD. "The Internet Is Coming" was released in Australia 18 December 2013, but has yet to be released elsewhere. All episodes of the show are available to stream in the United Kingdom on All 4, and were previously available on Netflix and Lovefilm in the UK, however were removed in February 2014.
The premiere of the show on Channel 4 was watched by 1.8m viewers, described as "disappointing" by BBC News; however, Linehan stated he was "playing the long game" and reflected how the first series of Father Ted also "went pretty unnoticed" but went on to gain viewers and awards. The series 4 finale on 30 July 2010 saw the show reach its current ratings peak of 2.17 million and was highly successful in its time slot.
Awards and nominations
The show has won awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs), the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the International Emmys), the Rose d'Or television entertainment awards, and also from the fan voted Comedy.co.uk Awards organised by the British Comedy Guide. Individual awards have also come in the British Comedy Awards and Irish Film and Television Awards.
In 2006, the series was voted Best New British Sitcom at the 2006 Comedy.co.uk Awards out of seventeen nominees. In 2007, the series was voted Comedy of The Year at the 2007 Comedy.co.uk Awards, out of over 100 nominees. Nominated in the 2007 BAFTAs for Best Situation Comedy alongside Green Wing and Pulling, it lost out to eventual winner The Royle Family. In 2008, the series was awarded the International Emmy Award for Comedy and the 2008 Rose d'Or for Best Sitcom. Nominated in the 2008 BAFTAs for Best Situation Comedy alongside The Thick of It and Benidorm, it lost out to eventual winner Peep Show. In 2009, the series won the Best Situation Comedy award at the 2009 BAFTAs. Also in 2009, Graham Linehan won best script television actor at the 6th Irish Film and Television Awards for the show, while Katherine Parkinson won the Best Comedy Actress award at the 2009 British Comedy Awards.
In 2014, Richard Ayoade won in the 2014 BAFTAs for Male Performance in a Comedy Programme for his role in the 2013 special episode; Chris O'Dowd was nominated in the same category that year. On the same night, Katherine Parkinson won the BAFTA for Female Performance in a Comedy Programme for her role as Jen.
A USA version of The IT Crowd was almost aired by NBC. It starred Richard Ayoade reprising his role as Moss, with Joel McHale as Roy, Jessica St. Clair as Jen and Rocky Carroll as Denholm. The show was produced by FremantleMedia for Universal Media Studios with Steve Tao as executive producer. (Linehan is also credited as executive producer, but states he had no involvement.) There were four writers involved—David Guarascio, Moses Port, Joe Port and Joe Wiseman. A pilot was filmed in January 2007, and a full series was ordered, advertised by NBC to be aired in 2007–08.
According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter in September 2007, the show had not gone into production and was to be cancelled, despite the fact that a number of scripts had already been written, stating the series "didn't quite spark" with new NBC chairman Ben Silverman. In 2012 the pilot was leaked online.
A German version of the programme was in production starting June 2007, starring Sky du Mont, Sebastian Münster, Stefan Puntigam and Britta Horn. Originally titled Das iTeam – Die Jungs mit der Maus (The iTeam – The Boys with the Mouse), the title was changed to Das iTeam – Die Jungs an der Maus (The iTeam – The Boys at the Mouse) at the last minute. The premiere episode was aired on 4 January 2008 on Sat.1. After the first episode was broadcast online, the adaptation received a mainly negative response from Internet forum users and blog writers. It was criticised for the quality of its translation and direction, and the poor performance of Stefan Puntigam as Gabriel (German version's name for Moss). The show was dropped by Sat.1 in January 2008 after the second episode due to low ratings.
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