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Last Updated: Friday, 22 July, 2005, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
TV review: Extras
By Neil Smith
BBC News entertainment reporter

BBC sitcom Extras, from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, began on Thursday.

Ashley Jensen and Ricky Gervais in Extras
Ashley Jensen (l) and Gervais play bit-part actors in Extras
In the space of just a few years, Ricky Gervais has become one of our most popular comic performers.

Thanks to his BBC sitcom The Office, self-deluded pen-pusher David Brent is an iconic creation on a par with Alf Garnett and Basil Fawlty.

And Gervais' stand-up shows Animals and Politics have sold out up and down the country.

All of this has stoked anticipation for Extras.

Based around two struggling bit-part actors - Andy Millman, played by Gervais, and Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jensen) - each episode takes place on a different film set and features a new celebrity playing a version of themselves.

Kate Winslet, for example, appears as an Oscar-craving actress, while EastEnders star Ross Kemp mocks his hard-man image.

In the first episode, Starsky and Hutch star Ben Stiller spoofs himself by playing an arrogant director making a serious drama about the Bosnian conflict.

The presence of such high-profile names has made Extras much more of an event than the usual BBC comedy.

Ben Stiller and Ricky Gervais on the Extras set
Episode One features Ben Stiller (l) as an egotistical director
Hilarious in some places, oddly flat in others, Extras has the makings of another hit.

But on the basis of the first episode, it is not there yet.

It will take time to warm to its unfamiliar characters, while the central gimmick is not as instantly accessible as The Office's mock-doc format.

While Gervais can take pride in enlisting so many big stars to his cause, the show treads a fine line between poking fun and pandering to their no doubt sizeable egos.

There is also a problem of tone. Stiller, for example, offers a gross parody of a Hollywood brat, forever quoting his own box-office statistics and treating crew members like dirt.

But his flamboyant scenes jar with quieter ones that echo The Office's exquisite moments of humiliation, embarrassment and social faux pas.

Lovelorn Maggie has a crush on the assistant director - until she learns he has one leg shorter than the other and wears a surgical boot.

"He's like Herman Munster," she wails in despair.

Andy, meanwhile, is so desperate to augment his part that he allies himself with the film's inspiration - a Balkan refugee who has lost his wife in the conflict.

Peripheral

But the latter's raw grief does not prevent our hero trying to bribe him with Top Shop vouchers.

There are many such flashes of cringe-inducing hilarity. What is missing is a sense of place, pace and forward momentum.

In The Office we had Dawn and Tim's halting romance to mark the progress of the series.

Patrick Stewart
Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart stars in an upcoming instalment
But Extras' stand-alone structure does not encourage that kind of empathy with its protagonists, who by their very nature seem peripheral to the action.

Clueless at some points, quick-witted at others, Andy Millman does not feel consistent.

Indeed, where Brent was a fully fleshed-out monster, Andy is closer to the slobbish, sneering persona Gervais projects in his numerous chat-show appearances.

Gervais says Extras will develop throughout series one and that he and Merchant have already mapped out the trajectory of series two.

It might be heresy to suggest it, but judging by the first episode the latter is hardly a foregone conclusion.

Extras is on BBC Two at 2100 BST.


Did it live up to your expectations? Is it a worthy successor to The Office?

It was superb! A totally original concept like The Office. It had the same embarrassing moments that made you want to leave the room. Excellent new characters and a brilliant script, Ben Stiller was very funny (as expected). Will definitely be tuning in next week!
Andy Waters, Bracknell, Berkshire

Excellent episode! can't wait till next week...
Nick , Hove

Pretty disappointing - as anticipated!! Both Extras and the vastly overhyped Office have the same problem - niether are funny. Ricky Gervais just manages to be toe-curlingly embarrasing - everything he does seems to make me cringe.
Mark, London, UK

Surely we all know some people who are as shallow as Andy and Maggie, or as convinced of their own self importance as the Ben Stiller character? I do not like racism or intolerance of any kind but I did not find the humour offensive because we are not laughing at the Bosnian man / club footed man etc, rather the shallowness of the characters making the comments. Chill out about whether it is PC or not and just enjoy it for what it is - a welcome half hour's viewing!
Helen, West Mids

It's a little harsh to shoot the show down before it's even aired its second episode! It may not have been perfect but it's still better than any other comedy that's airing at the moment. I throughly enjoyed it and am anticipating next week's episode!
Sian, Aberdeen, UK

A little disappointing, but I won't give up. I liked the interaction between Andy and Maggie. The best bit, however, was not changing channels at the end and watching the Catherine Tate Show. It was absolutely hilarious...the best comedy I've seen in ages.
Jane Wells, Cardiff UK

Shameful. A new low in television comedy. Gervais has nothing new to offer as he is merely playing himself. Using the suffering in Bosnia and physical disability to try to generate laughs merely emphasises a monumental lack of talent. Shame on the BBC for screening it. I gave it a chance. I did watch all of it but it left me feeling unclean! I certainly won't be watching again. The success of The Office, at best it was OK, was merely a flash in the pan. I hope this will be the last we see of him.
Mike Cook, Eastleigh, Hants

I thought that Extras was a little slow to start but once I had managed to overcome the obvious expectation that it should be as funny - if not funnier than the office I started to enjoy it and will definitely be watching next week. Naturally people will compare this with the office but this was one of the exceptionally fantastic comedy programmes that come along every once in a while and are hard to live up to. I am sure that Extras will get better throughout the series.
Kimberley, Swindon -UK

As with all good things, it's need a little time to mature. With all the hype people were expecting some sort of spectacular. But the show needs a chance to find it's audience and for the audience to build up a relationship with the characters. I think it'll get better as we watch more episodes. Been looking forward to it for ages, and now it's finally on the telly!
Jatinder, London, UK

I liked it but it only had a few mild comedy moments. I suspect it will get better though, and I think following on from the "The Office" is a tall order to please everyone. I will watch it all, as it is still far better comedy than most stuff out there. Far better than Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps - dire comedy. David
David, scotland

Let's not write Ricky Gervais off just yet eh? Just try watching it again - it's layered (like Ben Stiller said about Dodgeball!?). I can't wait for the second episode! There aren't many programmes that have you hiding behind a cushion, cringing on someone else's behalf are there?
Clancy, Leeds, UK

I read this review yesterday and then watched the episode with some initial trepidation. However I still enjoyed it, possibly more than 'The Office' as the characters were more believable. David Brent always has me cringing with embarassment but the new characters were more believable. I believe The Office was the funniest comedy in years and, hopefully, this will be more of the same. I shall certainly look forward to next weeks episode.
Helen, Northampton

I didn't even waste half an hour; after about 15 minutes I'd had enough. Absolute rubbish.
Sylvia Foxcroft, Market Harborough, England

I don't know what's wrong with all these people; Extras was hilarious. Laugh out loud funny.
Sarah, Manchester, UK

I thought it was great! I really enjoyed the humour and i especially found Maggie (Ashley Jensen) hilarious. I think that the series will get better week by week, and that it has it's own unique humor and comic timing from The Office. I will most ceratinly be watching again next week!
Philippa Fortune, Edinburgh

Loved Extras. Gervais is excellent in what he does, especially working alongside Ashley Jenson. Loved her character and she is one to watch for the future.
Jenny, Edinburgh, UK

I thought the shallowness of the two central characters was brilliantly depicted, and there were genuine laugh out loud moments - something that is becoming rarer in sitcoms these days. The many quotable lines throughout suggests that this could become cult viewing. Great acting too!
Ann, Edinburgh

Excellent, very funny indeed. The two central characters have the makings of a great double act. Did the people slagging the show off write their posts before watching it?
Jason Ford, London

Oh come on, it was absolutely brilliant. Some wonderfully subtle moments. Yes, its not up to the heights of the Office (yet) but even The Office took time to get into its stride. I shall certainly be watching it again.
Phil O, Cambridge, UK

I thought it was terrific! Extras contains the same kind of dark humour as The Office, so it's very difficult to like one without liking the other. I think some of the comments made on this page so far prove that many people who claim to have loved The Office had merely jumped on the bandwagon without actually fully appreciating Gervais and Merchant's humour.
Morgan Wolf, Winchester, UK

What a waste of time. That's 30 minutes of my life I'll never get back. All the hype and for what? It's just David Brent without the suit. Mr Gervais is very over-rated I feel.
Susan, Aberdeen

I found the whole episode far too slow and disjointed: there was no consistency compared to The Office. I think I laughed twice, the rest I found to be quite boring, and a little too racist for my liking. Looks like some found it funny though... hmmm
Jeff, Bangor North Wales

It was boring, predictable and drab. It wasn't comedy it was just half and hour of dull "observations".
Keith Tomlinson, St Albans, UK

After all the hype I made a point of watching. It was rubbish and if this gets a second series I'd be amazed!
DaveP, St. Albans

Spent a lot of my time watching it from between my fingers as the characters plumbed new depths of embarassment. As he did in The Office, Gervais knows instinctively when to stop and Ben Stiller's character was a lovely payoff in that there are even worse egoes about than the extras'. The Office was never a huge hit in aundience terms but then neither was Monty Python...
John Hobson, Wesy Malling Kent

Tepid stuff - the odd smirk and a few buttock clenches. Rather than compare Extras to you-know-what, it should be seen with the rest of BBC2's comedy night. Head and shoulders above the irritating Catherine Tate, but a distant second to the polished and topical Absolute Power. Mark Lawson was very generous to Extras in NewsReview last week, but his own writing skills have Gervais looking, in every sense, like the bit part player.
John Ward, Fleet, England

People are seeming to judge the first episode of Extras against the full twelve episodes of the Office plus 2 Christmas specials. This episode whilst I feel not a 'classic', had a few genuine laugh out loud moments. It is the only comedy since The Office and Phoenix Nights that have made me do that since Blackadder Goes Forth so I'm willing to view the rest of the series with an open mind.
Mark Dale, Manchester, UK

Terrible. I know The Office is a hard act to follow, but I'm sure if an unknown tried to get this show off the ground no one at the BBC would touch it. It might improve, but I don't see where it goes from here. I will watch one more, but I won't go out of my way.
Dan Russell, Notts

Extras was so appalling it now makes me suspect The Office was a fluke. Almost every joke fell flat; and it is one thing to make jokes of characters, but quite another to make humour out of types, like people with clubbed feet or bereaved Bosnian refugees. I dread to think what other disadvanted or disabled minorities you have in your sights.
Graham, London

I liked it. The chracter building was OK for a first episode. The development of the shallowness of both Andy and Maggie (the club foot and the 15 voucher) seemed to be the essential bit that I hope will be built upon. I thought Stiller was great, a complete monster with his outburst all because Andy wanted more than one line. Let's not judge this until the end of the first series. Marchant's character is supposed to be one of the central comedy figures and he wasn't even in it last night. Lets face it, hardly anyone watched the office (me included and I watch a lot of TV) the first time around and this launch has turned into a bit of a massive goldfish bowl.
Bruce, London

Waste of my TV licence. Gervais's animal show was hilarous, this is pointless drivel, I'll skip straight to Catherine Tate which had made an attempt at originality with Tate showing off her obvious talent. Gervais, in my view, did nothing but recycle and reincarnate David Brent. It is a great idea let down by its execution.
Loxton, London

I thought is was funny and enjoyed it. At least something made me laugh yesterday. I do agree though, that Ricky Gervais should have stayed behind the cameras as people will always see him as the "man in the office".
Karen, London

If Gervais' character is involved in a different film in each episode, are we really led to believe that his female co-star follows him around and is involved in each film too? Are they joined at the hip or something? I found the first episode very average and remember it for Ben Stiller rather than for Gervais.
Rich, Birmingham, UK

Come on, lets all get on the bandwagon and point out the series shortfalls after one episode. I find the British obsession with slating anything or anyone that becomes popular through talent quite embarassing. I think i will wait until I have seen a bit more of the series than the opening credits before I dismiss it as a failure.
Chris, Exeter

I think people should be careful about dismissing Extras too quickly. Comparisons with The Office are inevitable but I think this show will need a few episodes to grow into itself. What is clear is that the quality of the writing and the acting will have to eclipse the Hollywood talent the makers have decided to put centre stage. That said, I personally can't wait to see Kate Winslet's episode which sounds hilarious from its description alone. Perhaps putting someone with Ben Stiller's profile in the first episode was a mistake; they should have kept him until later in the run so the Gervais and Jensen characters had a chance to develop.
Stephen, Dublin

Well I think it is too soon to make such a harsh judgement, I thought it was rather funny, it did have some really good "laugh out loud" moments, such as the Gervais/Stiller confrontation finale right at the end, which seemed to take Extras left on a pretty good note. Extras will be an acquired taste like The Office, Gervais was very Brent-like, but come on he's not a trained actor, he's never said he has been, so don't be surprised if he wasn't an Oscar-winning actor or such.
Chris Crookall, Liverpool, England

I seem to be going against the trend but I've got to say I found this to be every bit as funny as the first episode of The Office, and just as witty. I especially liked the Starsky and Hutch part and the confrontation between Gervais and Stiller. It seems people were expecting this to be the same as The Office, and obviously some have been disappointed.
James Calmers, London, UK

Not hooked yet, but I'll give it a bit more time. Ben Stiller's dialogue sounded more than a little like David Brent.
Kelly Mouser, Upminster, Essex

It was great! As a part-time extra myself for a few years now, Ricky and Stephen have once again observed the subtleties of classic comedy and given us a superb start to the new series. Admittedly, Ben Stiller seemed a bit over the top and a little annoying, but that created the disired effect and the pay-off when he orders Ricky off the set was superb. When Andy Millman starts sucking up to the film producer and talking about Japanese films, like he knows something about the subject, I was reminded of the scenes in The Office which had us all squirming - top stuff! Really looking forward to next week's episode!

Absolutely brilliant. The comic timing of these actors must be seen; cleverly written and depicted, with great one-liners throughout. Ashley Jensen is going to be a star!
Andrea, Glasgow

Gervais really does have his finger on the pulse of most embarrassing and cringe inducing moments. I found parts hard to watch - so funny yet atrocious at the same time. The most worrying thing is that there are people out there as insensitive as Gervais portrays. My Thursday nights in front of Extras are guaranteed!
Nicola Piggott, Sheffield

Lesson to be learnt here....don't believe the hype! That way you won't be disappointed. Gervais was pretty good with the bumbling Ashley doing a fine job of putting her foot in her mouth. Some good gags, some bad, but a diamond always starts off as a rough old rock! Not the biggest fan of Mr Stiller so was good to see him take a bashing as the fool I always thought he was.
Brynster, Bedford, UK

I thought the first one promised a forthcoming treat of a series. Merchant and Gervais manage to get under the skin of the ordinary man (and woman) like no others. Maybe some people find this a bit close to home and are unable to laugh at themselves.
Bob, London, UK

"The King is in the altogether, the altogether, the altogether! He's altogether as naked as the day that he was born!" I found it embarrassingly twee, and wonder why others can't see it too. I know it's all a matter of perception, but are we guilty of believing that Gervais is the best thing since sliced bread in a triumph of hope over substance?
David Harper, Bradford, England

I found the first episode hilarious in parts and I'm sure the series will get stronger as you warm to the main two characters. Ben Stiller was very good and I hope the future guest actors can send themselves up with such aplomb.
Gareth Mellor, Leeds, England

I wish it wasn't compared so much to The Office. The Office was superb, no doubt about it. It's unfair to compare to such an excellent show. Extras was really good in parts. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. I'm sure this will have as much praise aimed at it once a few shows have aired. The Herman Munster bit was classic.
Mark Timbs, Oxford

It takes a few shows to learn how to take this style of humour. The Office was just the same when it started. I guarantee that if this episode is watched again at the end of the series it will seem much funnier to those who didn't get it at first.
Jake, Southampton, Hants

To criticise Ricky Gervais for having a narrow acting range is like criticising Tony Hancock, Eric Morecambe or any number of comedy greats for essentially playing themselves throughout their lengthy careers. The fact that Gervais blurs the lines between his characters and his own on screen persona just demonstrates that he is a natural comedian. The bottom line is he is really really REALLY funny. If he'd done something radically different, changing his writing and acting style, Extras would have been a complete disappointment. The fans like his style, political incorrectness and impeccable timing so that's what he makes sure they get. Extras may have been less truly inspired than The Office but it's different and, most importantly funny, so it's all ready a success.
Jack, Edinburgh

What a let-down. Unlike many I wasn't expecting to get The Office mark 2 straight away, but I found the whole thing very flat indeed. One or two moments amused, but they were just cringe-type moments a la The Office, though never as funny. And for a show that's not supposed to be a mockumentary like The Office, weren't all those random shots of people hanging around on set just like all the random shots of office work/photocopiers etc? I'll stick with it for a bit, but Gervais is suddenly looking very limited indeed.
Mike Bull, Newport, South Wales

It reminded me very much of The Office, despite being different. The characters of Andy and Maggie were so funny that I completely forgot Ben Stiller was in it! Definitely a hit for me.
Penny Mead, Cambridge

I have been, like most people, looking forward to seeing what Gervais can offer the audience after the monster success of The Office. I think everyone was expecting a huge hit from the off and I found myself having the same mixed reactions to Extras as I did after the first episode of The Office. I think that Extras would disappoint most people with expectations riding high, but personally thought it was hilarious. His dry and often dark sense of humour sets him apart from his peers and whether its David Brent or Andy Millman the Gervais hallmarks are there to be seen by all. I'm sure by the end of the series the masses will return to hailing him as setting the standard for British comedy.
Alastair, Brighton

I think far too many people were expecting another Office, which has probably created unrealistic expectations. I thought it was very good, although not out-of-this-world fantastic, but then I never really got into The Office until I bought them all recently on DVD and could appreciate the whole thing together. I'll give it the chance it deserves and try to realise that it's the same writers trying something new. After all, if it was done Office-style, no doubt Gervais and Merchant would have been accused of being one-hit wonders.
Jonathan Hicks, UK

I thought it was fantastic. Although Gervais did seem to be acting himself (I think his cringeworthy characteristics are genuine) I wasn't disappointed in the least. As a huge fan of the Office, it's great to see another comedy in the same category albeit completely different (if that makes sense). It succeeded in making me laugh out loud and cringe with embarrassment for the characters - I'd say job well done.
Merry Scott, Dundee

Oh deary me, what a waste of half an hour. Yet another comedian (?) who belives his own publicity. Time for Gervais to call it a day or risk becoming as sad as David Brent.
Barry, Hornchurch UK

Come on now... it was genius! So many subtle lines. Like The Office, it will get better with every viewing!
David Ward, Surrey

I didn't laugh once. There were scenes which should have been funny, but for some reason weren't. That said, I'll give it another try next week - I may have been having an off-night.
Martin, London, UK

I loved it! It was like Curb Your Enthusiasm, only funny.
Jack, London

With fewer laughs, fewer subtleties and a foggy structure, the opening episode delivered a compromisingly average television programme. Gervais' dead-pan acting seemed somewhat misplaced in an environment centred around an A-list movie star. This created a discomforting comedic paradox for the audience. Selected scenes paraded clear elements of 'Office' humour, however this was not The Office. With each episode in the series introducing diverse situations and experiences, Extras holds promise to develop. However, with this vague formless episode, Gervais has failed to reign supreme.
Jamie Smith, Birmingham, England

How many of us were bowled over by the first episode of the office? I thought there were many moments of the kind of cringeworthy humour that Gervais is famous for, and the backlash should be put on hold......
Richard Ingram, Fife, Scotland

I thought it was a bit slow starting, but it definitely showed promise. I think it was a weird choice of episode to begin the series on. It felt as if I was watching an episode from the middle of a series, as the characters weren't introduced as such, we were just thrown in the deep end with them.
Frank Pike, Oxford, UK

Well, I found it very entertaining. Maybe it was a little too un-PC for other posters here, such as the scene with the Bosnian refugee looking through his photos with Gervais' character making tactless remarks and making a big deal out of him giving 15 worth of Top Shop vouchers, the surgical boot sequence and Gervais trying to talk film with the producer. Let's not forget that first time around series one of The Office almost went by unnoticed. Nice one Ricky. Another hit on your hands.
Alex B, Gloucester UK

Laugh-a-minute comedy with perfect timing and pregnant pauses. Like The Office but better. How anyone could not find this sort of typical British humour funny is beyond me. Can't wait for the next and the DVD with out-takes.
Darren, Wimbledon

Of course its not as good as the Office, unlikely to be, but give it a chance! How predictable it is that people will make instant comparisons. The Office took a long time to become the classic it is now. I think Extras has a lot of potential, and worth watching for the one liners alone. Patience people!
Matt, uk

I thought it was great! Some people are sometimes too quick to write things off... I think its a fresh idea, there's nothing else like it on TV. Shows like this justify paying the licence fee. I thought the final scene with Gervais and Stiller 'going at it' was hilarious. Its going to be really interesting to see how other celebs fair in the show. Well done Gervais and well done to the BBC!
Simon Patrick, London

I thought Extras was great. In the best traditions of Alan Partridge and The Office. In fact I found it more laugh-out-loud funny than The Office: there's only so much I want to cringe at during 30 minutes. Roll on next week.
Si, Leamington Spa

People should stop being so negative! I remember when the first episode of The Office aired people hated and slated it, now those same people own the DVDs and praise it as genius. Give Extras some time, it was the first episode and wasn't even that bad (my favourite bit was the Ben Stiller rant about showing an orphan Dodgeball to cheer him up). The jokes are there, the characters are there too, it just needs a few episodes to bed in.
Matt Page, Sheffield, England

Some utterly brilliant moments punctuated by sequences of tediously protracted, foot-dragging mediocrity. As expected, the several highlights involved Millman's excruciating, sub-Brentian social ineptitude. The sequence where he feigned knowledge of Japanese cinema to impress a film producer was painfully hilarious and horribly familiar to anyone who's had the misfortune to observe the duplicity, falsity, hypocrisy and bare-faced back-biting shamelessness of the acting profession at first hand.

If anything, the sequences which disappointed were those featuring guest star Ben Stiller. Expertly dispatched, well written and intermittently amusing - but overshadowed, perhaps inevitably, by Gervais' funnier, darker and generally more insightful characterisation. Sure, it's not quite in the same league as The Office, but then again: what is?
Tom Brown, South London

Gervais and Merchant have hit the mark again. 'Extras' maintains the embarrassing social faux pas that were agonisingly funny to watch in The Office. Apart from that, the tone is very different. The high point for me was Millman trying desperately to weasel his way into the showbiz conversation at the party. His facial expressions were great. The Andy Millman character is much more sympathetic and likeable than that of David Brent and you really do root for him at the end, with his confrontation with Stiller. Looking forward to the second episode!
Gareth,

An excellent start to the series. Many laugh out loud moments and peppered nicely with some cringeworthy scenes. It was great to see Ben Stiller send himself up. I'm confident that Extras go from strength to strength as the series progresses. 9/10!
Dave, Bristol

I thought Extras was really good, I like the funny/serious side of the characters, I didn't realise the famous actors would be playing themselves, I found that really funny. Can't wait for next week now.
Elaine, Coventry, England

There seemed to be little real attempt at charcterisation, and I never believed Gervais acting for a moment - he just seemed to be him - compare that to Catherine Tate which followed. Perhaps Gervais would be better to write for others than act himself?
Paul Goodison, Farnborough, Hampshire

Ricky Gervais didn't deliver as I thought he would! Although it was only first one, I will watch it next week!
Mark, Ireland

I have mixed opinions. It was always going to be difficult and expectations were definately high. I think if this show was Gervais' first it would be greatly complimented however his comedy status means that he has to produce something very special to please the critics. The mix of 'on set' and 'off set' works well and looks very Hollywood, Ben Stiller's character took time to warm up as did Ricky's. Immediately Ashley Jensen's character stood out as a slightly stereotypical airy blonde, but it works well. As the show warms up Gervais' classic one-liners start to become more frequent and there are definately more laughs towards the end. There are some flat sections but all in all I enjoyed it, at he same time still think there is room for improvement and am looking forward to seeing Steven Merchant make his debut.
Martin Howitt, Farnham, UK

I didn't laugh once, and I'm a big fan of The Office. It even made the brilliant Ben Stiller painfully unfunny, which is quite a feat. It felt self-indulgent and the acting world is one that's just not as fascinating as Gervais seems to think. Let's hope there's still time to improve.
James, London

It was not bad for a first episode, although perhaps a bit slow in places. There were some laugh out loud bits - I liked Ricky & Ben's exchange at the end ("It's either Starsky of Hutch, I can never remember") I thought Ashley Jensen did very well. I am a massive fan of The Office. The jury's still out on Extras, but I'll be watching next week.
Kelly, Scotland

It's too early to say if Extras is as good as the office. Characters take a bit of time to take hold. I think the main problem is that most people could associate themselves with the caricature type feel of the office, in other words a lot of people at work will recognise David Brent and Gareth Keenan type traits in their colleagues. Extras is far removed from most peoples reality, so is less accessible. That said, I did find it funny in parts, and always entertaining,and it is still better comedy than most offerings we get today, but I have to say that I'm not longing to see the next episode the way I used to with The Office.
John Devenney, Norwich, Norfolk.

Having anticipated the arrival of this new comedy I think I was perhaps expecting too much after the hype and the success of The Office. I don't think it's as funny as The Office. It was in parts and at times rather cringe-worthy. I'm looking forward to seeing the Sam Jackson and Patrick Stewart episodes. It can only get better.
Lloyd R, Portsmouth, UK

Very disapointing for a first episode. There was no effective setting up of the characters which made it difficult to fell anything for them. Gervais has also proved that he range as a comedy actor is very slim indeed. I hope this gets better as the series moves forward. Not sure how this is going to fare on HBO, even with Hollywood actors involved.
Andy, London

I was very disappointed with the first episode of Extras last night. It was unfunny, with only small flashes of wit, and the charactors were bland at best. A real shame as I and I should imagine many others were looking forward to this new series. This will have to improve quickly or Gervais will end up being known as a one hit wonder.
Steve Shovlar, Sherborne, Dorset

I thought that Extras failed to live up to the hype. A lot of the humour failed to humour me and despite great acting (how ironic!) from all the cast, the comedy just wasn't potent enough. I just hope that the following episodes are better.
Jonny Casey, Chester, England

There were a few laughs but the topic was a little strange... We all felt that the holding the gun to the childs mother was a little insensitive and also Stiller's outburst was a little cringeworthy too.
Ann-Marie Chalmers, Austria

Didn't French and Saunders do this years ago in their sketch show? They played extras in skits! Oh well! I'm sure some people found it funny....
Natasha, Birmingham, UK




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear Ricky Gervais talk about his new show



SEE ALSO:
Extras 'a nightmare' says Gervais
14 Jul 05 |  Entertainment
Gervais sitcom to be shown in US
27 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Gervais lands Star Trek captain
26 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Gervais comedy in BBC Two line-up
16 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
A-listers flock to Gervais sitcom
24 Jan 05 |  Entertainment


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