BBC Hits 'The Office,' 'Criminal Justice' to Get Indian Remakes

BBC
Ricky Gervais in 'The Office'

The series will be for as-yet-unnamed digital platforms and will be produced in partnership with Indian production firm Applause Entertainment.

BBC Worldwide India will co-produce local versions of two BBC shows, The Office and Criminal Justice, the first time these properties are being developed in Asia.

The Office has seen eight versions in Europe in countries such as Finland and the Czech Republic, while the Emmy-winning U.S. version was toplined by Steve Carell. The BAFTA-winning U.K. original was written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and revolved around a narcissistic, egotistical and childish middle manager (Gervais) working for a paper company.

Criminal Justice follows an individual on a journey through the criminal justice system and has been adapted for the U.S. as The Night Of, starring John Turturro and Riz Ahmed, who won an Emmy for his performance.

The Indian versions of The Office and Criminal Justice will be produced in partnership with Mumbai-based Applause Entertainment. Both shows will be for digital distribution, but the companies didn't immediately name the streaming platforms that will get them.

“We see Criminal Justice and The Office as just the first step in a long and fruitful partnership with Applause,” said BBC Worldwide senior vp and general manager, Southeast Asia and South Asia, Myleeta Aga. “We are confident this partnership will result in many more incredibly popular and well-loved Indian adaptations of BBC formats.”

“We have picked shows that have been global successes, and we believe that the Indian adaptations will meet the viewing needs of the Indian market,” said Applause CEO Sameer Nair.

BBC Worldwide India has been active with Indian versions of other BBC properties, such as Strictly Come Dancing, which airs on Viacom18’s Hindi channel, Colors. Last year, the company produced an Indian version of the BBC reality show Stupid Man, Smart Phone, which was streamed on Viacom18’s Voot platform.

Applause is backed by one of India’s leading conglomerates, Aditya Birla Group, and started out in 2003 as a film production banner with titles such as Black and Dev, which both featured Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan. The company became dormant in 2009, but it is now being revived, with a focus on creating content for digital platforms.