1. Downsize [Tx 30/08/2001]
David Brent is seen hiring a new fork lift truck driver. Jennifer Taylor Clark comes down from head office to warn of a merger between the Slough and Swindon branches of Wernham-Hogg paper merchants. Ricky Howard is hired as a temp and Brent gives him a guided tour of the office. While introducing Tim and Gareth, we see that Gareth’s stapler has been encased in jelly by Tim.
Rumours of the possible redundancy are circulating round the office, Tim makes a wall from ring binders between his and Gareth’s desk. Brent tries to reassure the staff that it won’t be the Slough branch that suffers redundancies, but Dawn mentions that in the meeting Jennifer said it could be the Slough branch. Brent tells Dawn that she’s been sacked for stealing post-it notes as a practical joke, but this backfires.
At no point are we told why the BBC are making a documentary about a paper merchants. Which is perfectly typical of the time.
FACT: Liam Neeson once worked as a fork lift truck driver.
Best moment: Brent’s series-opening speech.
2. Work Experience [Tx 6/09/2001]
Donna, the daughter of some friends of Brent who is living with him, is given a job and Brent gives her a tour around his office. Again Brent is seen reassuring the staff that their jobs are safe, and he introduces Donna to everyone. While David is showing Donna around the office he finds a picture of his head stuck on a woman’s body with two blokes jizzing over it. It turns out everyone in the office has seen this picture. Brent tells Gareth that Donna’s parents don’t want her going out with anyone from the office.
Gareth is told to investigate the faked picture. Jennifer Taylor Clark comes round and enquires as to what money saving ideas David has put into practice. Under pressure he tells her he’s sacked Julie Anderton, who doesn’t exist. Tim and Dawn go through some of the signs Gareth has mocked up for his investigation room. Jennifer and Brent go down to the warehouse, where they’re subjected to a video of two dogs shagging and Jenny finds out Brent made up Julie Anderton.
Gareth tells Brent he’s found out who created the fake porno pic, and accuses Tim, but he reveals that it was Chris Finch, who did it on Tim’s computer.
Best moment: Dawn and Tim going through Gareth’s investigation signs.
3. The Quiz [Tx 13/09/2001]
Tim’s 30th birthday. He’s been given Hat FM! It’s also the annual Wernham-Hogg quiz night, which Brent and Chris Finch have won for the last six years. Brent builds up the imminent arrival of Finchy. We find out that Tim still lives with his parent while Brent’s dad is now in a home.
Tim is given a huge rubber cock for his birthday from Dawn and Lee. We find out that Ricky the temp has been on Blockbusters. Tim and Dawn wind up Gareth while Brent keeps trying to prove to Ricky that he’s quite a knowledgeable bloke.
Brent and Gareth talk about the time there was a misunderstanding over the type of alien Mr Spock was. When it gets to the quiz, the Dead Parrots (David and Finchy) end up on a tie breaker with The Tits (Tim and Ricky). Ricky wins the tie break! However, Finchy challenges Ricky that if he can throw something over the building, he wins the quiz. They chose to throw over Tim’s shoe and succeed, and the Dead Parrots win again.
Best moment: Dawn and Tim winding up Gareth.
4. Training [Tx 20/09/2001]
Lee and Dawn are having a fight about something. Tim comforts her until Gareth turns up and doesn’t make things any better. It’s staff training day and David has bought in Rowan, who has an MBA from Bradford. They watch a Peter Purves video from the eighties. When Keith mentions he’d like to be in a rock band, David reveals that he used to be in one called Foregone Conclusion, as singer-songwriter. Foregone Conclusion’s greatest hour was being supported by Texas.
He goes home to get his guitar.
He plays a few songs during the training sessions, and one about Princess Di to comfort Dawn. During lunch, Dawn reveals she is considering leaving her job. After lunch, Tim gets bored with the staff training and announces that he will be leaving, he asks Dawn out not knowing that her and Lee had just had an argument and not split up.
Best moment: Brent singing Free Love.
5. New Girl [Tx 27/09/2001]
Tim tells us his plan to leave his job, and go back to University to study psychology. Donna is late into work, and Brent quizzes her about where she stayed the night before, at a male office worker’s house it turns out. Brent decides he needs a new secretary, and interviews both Stuart Foot and Karen Roper. Stuart Foot never had a chance of getting the job, and to add insult to injury has to hear Brent singing Des’ree during his interview. Karen Roper agrees to meet up with Brent and some of the office workers at Chasers after work, to celebrate getting a new job.
Tim and Keith discuss a wide range of topics, from Peak Practice to wanking, and Tim having asked Dawn out. While showing off his footballing skills, Brent trips and headbutts his new secretary. Gareth gives Donna for a health and safety lecture, including tips on how to pick up boxes and where not to put mugs of coffee, although the whole thing is just an excuse for him to ask if Donna is still seeing the mystery bloke from the night before. Gareth and Brent discuss who Donna might have gone out with, and even if she is a lesbian. Dawn and Tim share a few uncomfortable moments throughout the day.
In the evening, Brent, Finchy, Gareth and Tim go clubbing down Chasers. With hilarious consequences!
Especially for Gareth.
At the end of the episode, Brent gives us a read through of the poem Slough, by John Betjeman.
Best moment: Keith and Tim having lunch.
6. Judgment [Tx 04/10/2001]
The episode opens with David having to fire Alex, a fork lift truck operator from the warehouse. They argue over why it is him and not Antoine who is fired, as Antoine is a midget. Neil also explains the difference between midgets and dwarves, and also what elves are. David gives his secretary, Karen Roper a tour of the office, where Malcolm asks him about the possibility that some of the staff might lose their jobs. He has a quick chat with Tim about his resignation, which turns into an argument and he throws Tim and Karen out of his office. We find out that Dawn also wants to leave.
David is offered Jennifer’s old job as she’s been made a partner of Wernham-Hogg, as the board have voted 5-2 in favour of him getting it over Neil, his equivalent in Swindon. Brent has to finalise the details with the board, and if he takes the promotion it means the Slough branch will be incorporated into the Swindon branch, and most of the staff will be sacked. He accepts the job.
When confronted, Brent tells his staff they will be relocated in Swindon or lose their jobs, and that he’s got a promotion, so it’s not all bad news. Gareth goes and talks to Brent about whether he can still be his assistant-Brent says he’ll get in a proper PA.
It’s the end of the financial year party in the evening. David comes in and announces that he rejected the promotion, and that no-one will be losing their jobs. It later turns out he failed his medical by having high blood pressure. Tim tells Dawn that he’s not leaving as planned as he’s been made Senior Sales clerk, and that he’s guaranteed an extra £500 a year.
Best moment: Malcolm confronts Brent about the reasons why he wasn’t promoted.