The comedian who played Big Keith in The Office has said the nation’s remote workers will be poorer without the annual ritual of the Christmas party.
Ewen MacIntosh had no idea when filming two award-winning festive specials of the mockumentary that scenes of cringeworthy slow dancing and naff tinsel would feel like things from a bygone age.
Broadcast 17 years ago, Ricky Gervais’s cult BBC Two series showed his alter-ego David Brent standing up to bullying Chris while Tim and Dawn finally locked lips.
In the age of remote working, even a back-slap by the photocopier would be out of the question.
Ewen told Metro.co.uk: ‘We are poorer without the Christmas party and every other kind of social interaction.
‘It’s probably optimistic to hope we’ll be completely back to normal this time next year but it would be really nice to think we can get back to some kind of Christmas feel next time.
‘I’ve been to my fair share over the years and it’s going to be weird without it.’
The Londoner is still donning fluffy garb this Christmas to become a ‘socially distanced Santa Claus’ sending seasonal messages in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Along with other celebrities including former England footballer Paul Merson and actress Crissy Rock, he is recording tailored messages for children and parents.
They can book online at personalised video messaging site memmo, with all proceeds going to the charity, which provides specialist healthcare and support to millions of people affected by cancer.
Accounts worker Keith Bishop, remembered for his dead-pan lines, Scotch egg habit and Ali G outfit, is still much in demand by the charity’s supporters.
Ewen, who turns 47 on Christmas Day, said: ‘The Christmas party might be gone but sending out the messages has been a great way to adapt.
‘It’s been a God-send for me because I’ve been very popular doing messages as Keith.
‘It’s nice because I be as rude and dead-pan as I want and people like that.
‘The format really seems to work for the Keith character and I really enjoy doing the messages, they seem to make people’s day.’
After The Office, Ewen has appeared in EastEnders, Little Britain, Miranda and Finding Fatimah.
A real-life Keith wouldn’t be anywhere near as productive, however.
‘He would hope to be furloughed,’ Ewen quipped.
‘Otherwise he’d be a bit stuck in his mum’s basement watching Peak Practice most of the time.’
Credit: Original article published here.