Five times you actually felt sorry for David Brent

Ricky Gervais’s cringeworthy character is back in David Brent: Life on the Road – and while he’s more likely to elicit feelings of amusement, unease or plain contempt over pity, here are a few times we couldn’t help but feel sorry for the blundering boss.

By Deborah Cicurel


1. The time he tried to out-dance Neil

Who hasn’t felt pressured by a slick new member of the office who’s instantly popular and better at your job than you are? Most people go home and moan to their partners about it. Not David, who thought the best way to outdo his new rival was to perform this, well, interesting dance. The worst bit about it wasn’t the questionable moves, or even the low grunting, but the determination with which he ‘sexily’ bit his bottom lip. Oh, David.

2. The time he made that awful speech

After Neil’s hideously unfunny speech, it wouldn’t have taken much to make the room of David’s new Swindon staff roar with laughter – and we were all rooting for him to finally show up Neil. But when jokes like “my parents owned a paper shop until it blew away” fell flat, David resorted to even more disastrous measures, doing a poor impression of Harry Enfield and topping it all off with a Hitler impersonation.

3. The time he tried to be sexy

When David interviewed Karen to be his new secretary, he sat back on his chair with legs akimbo and tried to make the words “curriculum vitae” sound seductive... you can see how much he wanted her to find him as sexy as he found himself. How could you not feel sorry for someone so utterly delusional?

4. The time he tried out motivational speaking

There can’t be anything more unfortunate than the sight of a man in a tucked-in white T-shirt and a backwards baseball cap crying with forced laughter and clapping earnestly along to “Simply The Best” in front of an unimpressed audience. But worst of all, even after leaving the room saying “I’m now going to make like a banana and split”, he was so utterly oblivious to his cringe-worthiness he boasted: “That was me on a seven, so wait till you see me on a nine or 10”.

5. The time he tried to find love

Poor David so wanted to bring along a date to the Christmas party. So off on a blind date he went – only to mess it up almost immediately by drawing attention to his date’s dead mother’s breasts. So, so tragic.