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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 December, 2003, 13:43 GMT
Office special gets 6.8m viewers
The Office
The Christmas special saw David Brent deal with life after redundancy
The two Christmas specials of cult comedy The Office got peak viewing figures of 6.8m, the BBC has said.

The two-part finale, written by and starring comedian Ricky Gervais and shown on BBC One, got an average of 6.5m for the first episode on Boxing Day.

The second episode on Saturday had an average of 5.5m.

Gervais has promised the two one-off episodes, which looked at how office manager David Brent fared after redundancy, will be the last.

A BBC spokeswoman said the corporation was "certainly really pleased" with the ratings.

She said the peak figures of 6.8m for both episodes were 1.7m higher than for the second series of the BBC Two comedy. The second series' average was 4.5m.


"The Boxing Day episode had the same figures for the slot as last year's programme, which was The Hound of the Baskervilles," the spokeswoman said.

Some TV critics praised the two episodes, with The Observer saying: "The Office didn't need to be as wince-makingly hilarious, deliciously touching and as perfectly emotionally pitched as it turned out to be."

The Independent on Sunday, however, was less impressed.

"After all the hype, The Office's return was more of a whimper than a bang," its reviewer said.

"The final gasps of The Office were a poignant watch then, as we wondered if the end of David Brent signals the end to Gervais' massive talent as well?"

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