In a feature, in the Independent, marking the BBC mockumentary’s 20th anniversary, various cast members revealed behind-the-scenes secrets including Ewen MacIntosh who played ‘’Big Keith’. He revealed that Keith’s memorable Scotch egg scene, in the UK version of The Office, transpired at the last minute.
“The Scotch egg scenes were something that were planned quite late on, maybe even on the day,” MacIntosh said. “The props guy nipped out to Sainsbury’s to get some and it’s a good job he bought a lot because I went through them. We were reusing them by the end, turning them around to hide the bites because we did so many takes.”
In the scene, Big Keith is making inappropriate comments during a conversation with Tim (Martin Freeman), with Big Keith taking a huge, lingering bite from a Scotch egg.
The scene needed multiple takes, as Freeman struggled to keep a straight face each time the deadpan MacIntosh took a bite.
He added, “The funny thing is, they don’t really have Scotch eggs in America, so when the show started to do well there, Americans were like, ‘I love that guy with the apple…’ I was like: ‘That’s not an apple, my friend…’”
Elsewhere in the feature, The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant revealed he had to convince his co-creator and series star, Ricky Gervais, to keep his ‘David Brent dance’ in.
“Ricky didn’t want us to include the David Brent dance. He felt that was too much and I had to lobby to keep it in.” he said. “Ricky was happy to shoot the dance, but in the editing room he thought it was too broad. I was just saying, ‘It’s so funny and the sincerity in which he’s approaching it is so good that we have to keep it in.’ There was a lot of discussion about that and obviously I won, so you’re welcome.”
Read the full feature here