The Office has produced some of Britain’s greatest stars, however, many who starred in the series have faced hardship over the years. But really, who could forget The Office? Since it’s debut in 2001, its legacy has only grown, and all these years later, it is regarded as one the best British sitcoms of all time.
Written by and starring Ricky Gervais, he has since gone on to become the third greatest stand-up comic of all-time (according to a Channel 4 documentary!), while co-star Martin Freeman who also appeared in the show has gone on to star as Doctor Watson in Sherlock and Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit Trilogy.
Yet, some of the stars who made their name in the show haven’t been lucky enough to lead happy lives and have unfortunately faced rather tragic circumstances.
Here are just a few of the traumatic real-life stories of some of the main cast members:
As a youngster, Rachel Isaac who played the role of Trudy in the sitcom has spoken out about her dreadful childhood experience, in the hope that she may encourage others to speak out. Talking to the police about the incident, she stated that the man involved “robbed (her) of (her) childhood and ruined (her) life”.
The actress spoke out on the time she was indecently abused by a 70-year-old man at just 8 years old. Michael Batten was babysitting Rachel at the moment the dreadful incident occurred.
The man was convicted of gross indecency and indecent assault.
Since the event happened, Rachel has gone on to speak about the attack and claimed that raising awareness of her personal experience may help others to share their stories and get help.
Talking to BBC Wales, the actress said: “I thought it was easier to keep it a secret than to tell people. But in the end, the burden of carrying such a horrendous experience around made me ill.
“I had to tell people, but what’s brilliant is that I was believed from beginning to end.I thought people would find it too unbelievable for it to be true but that hasn’t been the case at all. Everyone’s support has been amazing.”
“The big thing is I’ve sorted out the very practical issue – I basically wanted to tell my mum. In order to do that, it’s taken a year of police and court and trial which is all very, very stressful.”
He was one of the best-remembered and most-loved characters from the legendary BBC sitcom, but it seems as though Ewen MacIntosh has not fared as well as his other Office alumni as he was recently declared bankrupt.
During his time on the show, Ewen MacIntosh, who played ‘Big Keith’ Bishop, was famous for his predilection for a rather large scotch egg or two, his love of Peak Practice, his to-a-tee Ali G impression and of course his intimate knowledge of the female gender…
In perhaps his most famous scene (it’s hard to choose with all of those corkers in the staff break room with Tim Canterbury – played by Martin Freeman), boss David Brent sits the accountant Keith down for his appraisal, at which point Brent notes that Keith hasn’t exactly done his best at filling it in.
And of course, then came the famous line, when an exacerbated David Brent says “under strengths you’ve put ‘accounts’ and under weaknesses you’ve put ‘eczema’”.
But While his co-stars earn hundreds of millions of dollars, such as Ricky Gervais – who is one of the biggest names in Hollywood as well as in comedy – Stephen Merchant, the co-mind behind the series who enjoyed success in his HBO show Hello Ladies as well as a leading part in the new X-Men film, Martin Freeman, who enjoyed success in Sherlock as well as The Hobbit, and McKenzie Crook, who starred in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Ewen MacIntosh has not enjoyed the same sort of success.
Worst still, recently Ewen was declared bankrupt after owing thousands to the tax man.
Indeed, The Office was a launching pad for many of the most recognisable faces in British cinema, not to mention Hollywood, but after the gates of Wernham Hogg were closed for the final time in 2003, Ewan found it difficult to find acting roles.
Speaking with the Daily Star, the actor, who at one point charged £20 for personal video messages, said in February of last year of the show that shot him to fame: “It certainly changed my life in that it opened up a lot of work that I would never have got otherwise.
“I still get weirdly recognised in the street, even though it was so long ago. The most surreal moment was meeting The Simpsons creator Matt Groening and having him say Keith was his favourite character.
“I think everyone has a bit of Big Keith in them.
“I still talk to Ricky Gervais occasionally. When he did the early live Brent music gigs in London he got me along to introduce the band on stage which was a fantastic experience.
“I told him yesterday on Twitter that Brent should go on the cover of Take A Break magazine and he said he’d have to pretend to be sh***d by a ghost to get on there.”
44-year-old Lucy Davis, who is the daughter of Jasper Carrott, is reported to have battled bulimia in recent years, but has since gone on to have a successful Hollywood career, most recently starring in ‘Wonder Woman’.
Discussing her character of Etta Candy, she told the Radio Times: “I hadn’t heard of Etta, but loved Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman as a kid,” Davis says. “Every night for about a year, I would twirl around my bed. It was a routine, I was positive it would turn me into her.”
After gaining fame in the UK TV sitcom, Lucy decided to move to the States in 2004, however once admitted that the transition was harder than anticipated.
She once told The Daily Express: “I’m totally happy with my life over there”, she said.
Talking to the Daily Mail in 2012, Lucy confessed that the issue was causing detrimental damage to her health: “The last few years have been rough, and I wasn’t able to work’, Lucy told the newspaper.
‘It’s all to do with my life-long obsession with weight and food. I’d diet for five days, then binge eat a week’s worth of food in one day. I had an insatiable craving to eat’.
She also went on to tell the Radio Times: ‘I’ve had to journey a lot of my life with the eating stuff. I initially decided to speak about my anorexia and bulimia, partly out of a selfish motivation.
‘I felt I had been scrutinised for my weight and thought “at least judge and criticise me on the facts”. There was a freedom with that. Now it’s out there and I just get on with life. I’m at peace with things.’
After making the big move to the USA, her hunt for suitable roles didn’t come easy and even believed she may never be able to make a break. Aside from her professional struggles, Lucy’s continuous weight loss gained the attention of friends and family who became concerned for her wellbeing.
In 2010, she admitted that she had previously been expected to lose weight for certain roles, which didn’t seem to cause any personal issues at that time: “My weight seems to fascinate people,” she told the Daily Express.
“Maybe it’s because it varies quite a bit; once I’ve taken it off, I struggle to keep it that way. Unfortunately, I’m a total foodie who loves nothing more than potatoes, cakes and crisps. But then suddenly something will click in my head and it will be, ‘Right, time to get the pounds off.’ I had one of those moments about a year ago and I’ve managed to lose around two stone since then.”
She also went on to tell the newspaper that as a result of shedding the pounds, she only managed to secure three acting roles after moving State-side.
Lucy seems to have made a full recovery after believing that starving herself and later throwing up was the only way she could get through her day. In an interview with The Telegraph, Lucy said she now believes herself to be ‘normal’.
“Now, I think I’m just normal,” she said. “But my head didn’t think that then. This period of binge and purge was at its worst when my marriage came to an end. Even today, I’ll wonder sometimes whether I might try and shift a few pounds, and then I’ll think: ‘Ooh no, I’d love some cheese.”