In 1998, Xfm was aquired by Capital Radio and format changes to Xfm saw Ricky free to explore his comedy talents in other media. A bit of sketch writing here and there, popping up on Radio 1 every so often, followed by first appearances on the TV;
Ricky wrote and starred in a one-off called 'Golden Years' about a businessman who is obsessed with becoming a David Bowie lookalike. Remember, write about what you know.
'The 11 O'Clock Show' - a topical comedy magazine series. Ricky adopts the persona of a half-knowledgable biggot to drop in on the regular team of presenters. An outrageous and refreshingly funny foil to the satirical Oxbridge pretentions of the show itself.
'Meet Ricky Gervais' came hot on the heels of Ricky's popularity in the 11 O'Clock Show. Concieved as a chat show with games, the structure mainly served to allow Ricky the opportunity to say rude words, make guests say rude words and make it all official by virtue of the fact that it was being shown on TV. That said, a running gag filmed and written by Ricky and Stephen Merchant as links between ad breaks showed a glimpse of what was to come.
The show finished in October 2000, but Ricky and Steve had already been developing their ideas for an office-based mock documentary, and months if not years of work would come to fruition on 9 July 2001 when the BBC aired the first episode of 'The Office'.
Twelve episodes and a two-part Christmas special later and The Office is consigned to broadcasting history as one of the most perfectly crafted comedy series in British TV ever. Showered with awards and critical acclaim the series' pivotal creation David Brent became a household name and so, of course, did Ricky.
"If your surname's 'Dumpty', don't call your first-born 'Humpty'... He probably jumped."
'Politics' - Ricky explores the protagonist's motivation in a critique of Victorian literature.