|The IT Crowd|
|TV programme information|
February 3 2006 - September 27, 2013
|Country of origin||
25 minutes approx.
The IT Crowd (pronounced either /ˈɪt/, as in the pronoun, 'it', or as /ˌaɪˈtiː/, as in the IT Department), also spelt The I.T. Crowd, is a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning Channel 4 sitcom written by Father Ted creator Graham Linehan and starring actors Chris O'Dowd as Roy Trenneman, Richard Ayoade as Maurice Moss and Katherine Parkinson as Jen Barber.
The show revolves around three friends and IT consultants at the fictional business Reynholm Industries: Maurice Moss, the uber-geek who collects wires and still lives with his mother, Roy Trenneman, a lazy Irishman who spends most of his workday eating junk food and reading comics, and Jen Barber, the technologically-retarded Relationship Manager who lied on her CV in order to secure a position at the business. As of episode two of Series Two, the show also co-stars Douglas Reynholm (played by Matt Berry), the sexually-frustrated Head of Reynholm Industries who regularly uses his employees for his own sexual fulfilment.
The show premiered on February 3, 2006, on Channel 4 and has run for four series, each containing six episodes each, making 24 episodes in total. Graham Linehan confirmed on Reddit that there would be no fifth series, instead just one-off special to end the series, due to air in 2013.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Main characters
- 3 Cultural references
- 4 Production
- 5 Episodes
- 6 Distribution
- 7 Reception
- 8 Foreign adaptions
- 9 Behind the scenes
- 10 External links
The IT Crowd is set in the offices of the fictional London business giant Reynholm Industries, and follows the story of three colleagues and friends there, Roy Trenneman, Maurice Moss and Jen Barber, who work in the dingy unkept IT Department in the basement, a vast contrast to the shining, modern architecture and stunning London views enjoyed by some of the higher-ranking employees.
Moss and Roy are portrayed as socially-retarded "standard nerds" who spend most of their time reading comics, playing video games and uploading computer software. Although they are one of the driving forces of the company, the members of the department are ignored, abused and considered second-class citizens by the some of the employees on the upper floors. Roy and Moss do seem laid back in their approach to giving IT support, and usually immediately say "Hello, IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?" whenever the phone rings, which seems to fix the majority of computer problems at Reynholm Industries.
The newest member of the IT Department, Jen Barber, is technologically-illiterate who lied her way into the position by claiming on her CV that she has had a lot of experience with computers, despite having to be told what a hard drive was. Her official title is Relationship Manager, yet her attempts at bridging the very wide gap between the technicians and the business generally have the opposite effect, landing Jen in situations just as ridiculous as those of her teammates.
Since Series Two, the show also features Douglas Reynholm, the sexually-frustrated son of Denholm Reynholm and heir of Reynholm Industries. Since Douglas's take over of the company, Reynholm Industries' profits have fallen considerably and only just managed to avoid going into debt in 2010.
Over the show's history, nearly all characters have developed in some shape or form. Roy, once the socially-inept geek who rarely left the basement in Series One, is now portrayed in a more social light, and has had several girlfriends and seems much more socially able. Even Moss has been seen venturing out, although this is small in comparison to Roy's character development.
- Roy Trenneman (Chris O'Dowd) - a lazy, laid-back Irish support technician in the IT Department whose work day consists of playing video games, indulging himself on sugar and crisps, and reading comics whilst doing the minimum amount of work possible. He will avoid putting any effort into his job at all costs, and once even built a machine that would answer his phone for him. Roy is nearly famous for his catchphrase "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" and is usually the only piece of advice he gives to the employees who call for IT support.
- Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade) - a technologically brilliant but socially unaware IT consultant who in his thirties still lives with his mother and collects wires. A "standard nerd", Moss is usually referred to by his surname and is the most hardworking of the staff in the IT Department, and is also the most experienced and the most capable of doing his job well. He puts a lot of effort into his job, however, he does not get the credit which he deserves. Like most of the department, he is ignored and disrespected by the employees who rank above him on the upper floors.
- Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson) - the Relationship Manager for the IT Department who managed to lie her way into the job when she said on her CV that she had a lot of experience with technology, despite having to be told how to pronounce the word 'computers'. Jen considers herself the leader of the group despite having insufficient knowledge of the computing world. Whenever Jen leaves Roy and Moss for whatever reason, the department is sent into chaos and peace is not restored until Jen's return.
- Douglas Reynholm (Matt Berry) - the sexually-frustrated Head and owner of the multi-billion pound business empire, Reynholm Industries. Douglas took over the company when his predecessor and father, Denholm Reynholm, committed suicide in 2007. Despite being an extremely rich and successful businessman, Douglas is often prone to taking advantage of his power by wasting the company's pension fund on such ridiculous things as putting gold leaf in the water coolers and covering the walls of his office in erotic art. Douglas has been accused on numerous occasions of sexual abuse, although each time he seems to worm his way out of prosecution.
- Denholm Reynholm (Chris Morris) - was the Head and founder of his eponymous business empire Reynholm Industries. He set up the multi-million-pound business with only a dream and £6,000,000. However there were many irregularities in the business' pension fund, so much so that in 2007, Denholm committed suicide by jumping from the top floor of the business' headquarters, leaving his only son, Douglas, as head of Reynholm Industries.
- Richmond Avenal (Noel Fielding) - the once gothic and vampiric hidden member of the IT Department, Richmond once spent his days lurking in a hidden room behind the department, due to his colleague's discomfort of his dark personality. Richmond was brought out of isolation in 2005 by Jen Barber after she discovered the appalling conditions that Richmond was living in, however, he had gotten so used to being trapped inside the tiny room behind the department that he was rarely seen leaving it. In 2008, Richmond was diagnosed with scurvy and had to leave Reynholm Industries. Around this time, Richmond began to turn away from his gothic lifestyle when he realised it wasn't making him happy. He subsequently turned his back on the subculture and founded his own business, From Goth2Boss, which helps goths in the same position as him turn their lives around.
Several references to films, board and video games, TV shows, bands and comic books can be seen in The IT Crowd, particularly in the poster-filled realm of the IT Department basement. Some of these references include among others, Guitar Hero, The Godfather, Mustard, War on Terror, Countdown and Guided by Voices. Although Graham Linehan wants the show to appeal to both geek and non-geek audiences, the show's dialogue occasionally contains in-jokes for viewers knowledgeable in such subjects. Some episodes also contain parodies of films and TV shows, for instance, the episode The Haunting of Bill Crouse is a reference to the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House.
In August 2008, having not had time to source the props himself, Linehan appealed to fans to donate items to use for Series Three, to make the set look like "a geek's Shangri-La". The Centre for Computing History lent 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. One manual with the letters MOSS on the spine sits on the shelf behind Moss. The main stickers found around the office include Electronic Frontier Foundation ("Fair Use has a POSSE", "MP3 is not a crime", "Coding is not a crime") and Open Rights Group.
As well as cultural references on the show itself, several parodies of video games featuring the characters from the show as players can be seen on the DVD menus for nearly all of The IT Crowd DVDs. These include such games as Knight Lore and Head over Heels on the DVD of Series One, Zero Wing, Mortal Kombat, Tetris and Lemmings on the DVD of Series Two and GROW CUBE, Doeo and Flow on the DVD of Series Three.
All episodes of The IT Crowd have been written by renowned Irish comedy writer Graham Linehan and produced by The Office producer Ash Atalla. Linehan did suggest that his former writing partner, Arthur Matthews, would help with the writing of Series Two, although this did not happen. However, Graham Linehan has expressed his interest in recruiting a team of writers for the writing of Series Five and has suggested this team may consist of Linehan's friends and colleagues Charlie Bergmann and Ali Carruthers, who co-wrote I'm Alan Partridge alongside Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci.
The IT Crowd was filmed at Teddington Studios for Series One but moved to Pinewood Studios for the filming of Series Two, Three, and Four. The show was also filmed in front of a live studio audience, which many people consider an old-fashioned concept. Graham Linehan did this deliberately, to challenge the idea that this way of making sitcoms was dead and that fly-on-the-wall or mockumentaries were more modern. Linehan has said that "I trust my instincts, so I'm going to do it my way and hope people come to me".
- Main article: Episode Guide
In all there have been four series of The IT Crowd, each containing six episodes each, giving a total of 24 episodes with at least one more series of six episodes commissioned for 2011. In 2009, rumours surfaced suggesting that a Christmas special of The IT Crowd was to be filmed and ready for Christmas 2009. Chris O'Dowd, portrayer of Roy, confirmed that there were plans for a Christmas special and that filming would begin in Summer 2009. However, no special episodes appeared in the December schedules. On December 18th, Graham Linehan confirmed via Twitter that there would not be a Christmas special.
In a first for Channel 4, all episodes of the first series were available for download via the channel's website a week before the episodes' initial broadcasts. Downloads were only available for UK and Ireland viewers and were supplied in Windows Media Video format. All episodes were encoded with DRM restrictions with the exception of the first two episodes.
All episodes are available on Channel 4's "4 on Demand" (4oD) service available on Channel 4's website. The episodes of Series Four were available for viewing on 4oD a week before their TV broadcast, although this was only available to logged-in and registered viewers, unlike most of 4oD's post-broadcast output.
The IT Crowd is broadcast in its host country, the United Kingdom, on Channel 4. The show is also available for viewing in Australia on ABC as well as ABC2, and also broadcasts on UKTV. In the Czech Republic, The IT Crowd aired on stations Česká televize and HBO. In Denmark, the show airs on TV 2 Zulu while it is shown on Comedy Central in the Netherlands. The IT Crowd was also aired on GTV in Bulgaria in July 2008 while the first series was aired on Comedy Central Germany in September 2009.
In the United States, the show has been aired on IFC and the first four series are available from the DVD postal service Netflix. Canadian channel G4 Canada ran the show during their Adult Digital Distraction segment in July 2007.
The first series of The IT Crowd was released in the UK as "The IT Crowd - Version 1.0" on November 13, 2006, by 2 Entertain Video Ltd. The DVD contains all six episodes accompanied by two commentaries, one by Graham Linehan alone and one by Graham Linehan, Chris O'Dowd and Katherine Parkinson. The disc also includes a deleted scenes and outtakes extra, a mockumentary by Ken Korda (played by comedian Adam Buxton) and Graham Linehan's comedy horror short film, Hello Friend.
Many of the disc menus parodied many 8-bit games. The many of the menus were designed to resemble ZX Spectrum, although the episode menu parodied Knight Lore and Head over Heels.
A Region 1 (American) release of the DVD was delayed due to a delay in the broadcast of the American adaptation. MPI Home Video released the DVD on March 31, 2009. The American version does not contain the audio commentaries which are found on the British version.
The second series of The IT Crowd, "The IT Crowd - Version 2.0" DVD was released in the UK on 1 October 2007, along with a box set of both the first and the second series. Entertainment retail chain HMV released an exclusive limited edition version featuring a set of four postcards in the style of popular viral photos such as Ceiling Cat, which was renamed in the boxset as Ceiling Goth.
While the Series One DVD parodied 8-bit games, the Series Two DVD parodied 16-bit games. The main menu resembles Zero Wing, the episode menu resembles Mortal Kombat, the settings menu resembles Tetris and the extras menu resembles Lemmings.
A hidden competition was planted onto the DVD disc, with the prize being a Lamborghini laptop seen in the show. Several clues were hidden on the disc which eventually led to three JPG pictures of the main characters holding easter eggs and a text adventure game. Contestants had to send a complete set of answers to an address which was hidden. The competition was so difficult that the closing date was extended until eventually a complete set of answers was sent in and the prize was won.
The third series of The IT Crowd, "The IT Crowd: Series 3", was released on March 16, 2008. Again, the DVD parodied various video games. The main menu resembles GROW CUBE, the extras men resembles Doeo and the settings menu resembles the online shooting game Tactical Assassin. A box set of all series was also released on the same date, as well as a limited edition box set in which all DVDs came in a box which resembled the internet seen in the episode The Speech.
The premiere of The IT Crowd on February 3, 2006, gained 1.8 million viewers, which was described as "disappointing". However, Graham Linehan has since said that he stays hopeful that this show will become more popular as his first hit sitcom, Father Ted, gained similar viewing figures on its opening night, and went on to win several awards.
Linehan's theory proved correct, as on the premiere of Series Four on July 30, 2010, the show gained 2.17 million viewers, the show's current record.
The IT Crowd does contain some mild swearing in Series One, Two and Four, usually the word "shit" and contains some mild sexual references, but because of the use of the word "fuck" once in episode two of Series One and several times in Series Three, the show is given a certificate of 15's in Britain and Ireland. However, swearing in the show is infrequent, with the exception of once in Series One nearly all uses of the word "fuck" up to Series Three are bleeped.
In Australia, the show is given a certificate of "M", which means that show is suitable for mature but relatively young audiences, while in Germany The IT Crowd is given a certificate of 12's.
- 2009 - Won Best Situation Comedy at the BAEFTAs
- 2009 - Katherine Parkinson won Best Comedy Actress at the British Comedy Awards
- 2009 - Graham Linehan won Best Script for Television at the 6th Irish Film and Television Awards
- 2008 - Won Best Sitcom at Rose d'Or Awards
- 2008 - Won the Internation Emmy Award for Comedy
- 2008 - Nominated for Best Situation Comedy at the BAEFTAs
- 2007 - Won Comedy of the Year at the Comedy.co.uk Awards
- 2007 - Nominated for Best Situation Comedy at the BAEFTAs
- 2006 - Won Best New British Sitcom at the Comedy.co.uk Awards
A pilot of an American adaption of The IT Crowd was made and an entire series was ordered by American TV channel NBC. Richard Ayoade reprised his role of Moss, with Joel McHale as Roy, Jessica St. Clair as Jen and Rocky Carroll as Denholm. A pilot was filmed at Universal Film Studios in January 2007, Graham Linehan acted as executive producer along with Steve Tao, with David Guarascio, Moses Port, Joe Port and Joe Wiseman as the writers. The script was virtually identical to the script of the first episode of the British version, Yesterday's Jam, with only a few minor differences being made. An entire series was ordered and advertised to air in Autumn 07-08.
However, in September, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the show had not gone into production and the series was canceled, despite some scripts being written. The reason for the cancellation was because the show "didn't quite spark" with Ben Silverman, the NBC chairman. The pilot, however, is still available on Youtube and several other sites.
On July 30, Graham Linehan revealed that an American adaption of The IT Crowd was going to be made.
A German version of the show, entitled Das iTeam - Die Jungs an der Maus (The iTeam - The Boys at the Mouse, "Maus" is also a slang term for a young woman), was commissioned, starring Sebastian Münster as Tom (Roy), Stefan Puntigam as Gabriel (Moss), Britta Horn as Sandy (Jen) and Sky du Mon as Bornholm (Denholm). The set of the German version was noticeably much darker than the British version and also had different camera angles. Originally called Das iTeam - Die Jungs mit der Maus (The iTeam - The Boys with the Mouse, a pilot was made entitled Brötchen vom Vortag (Yesterday's Bread Rolls). Again, the first episode was extremely similar to its British counterpart, Yesterday's Jam, with nearly an identical script. The episode was aired on Sat.1 on January 4, 2008. The episode received mostly negative reviews from online forums and blogs, criticising the quality of the translation and the poor performance of Stefan Puntigam.
A second episode was aired on January 11, entitled Stressige Zeiten (Stressy Times), which again was nearly identical to the second episode of the British version, Calamity Jen. The episode received the same criticism and the series was dropped.
Behind the scenes
- There is much speculation as to whether the "IT" in the show's title is pronounced /ˈɪt/, as in the pronoun, 'it', or as /ˌaɪˈtiː/, as in the IT Department. Graham Linehan has revealed that this was done on purpose.
- The IT Crowd is the third successful sitcom by Graham Linehan, after Father Ted and Black Books. This is also the first sitcom Linehan has written alone, as he wrote Father Ted with Arthur Matthews and Black Books with Dylan Moran.
- The technical term for the show's catchphrase, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?", is power cycling.
- An online video game, based on the series, is playable on Channel 4's official website here.