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Ricky Gervais was born on June 25, 1961, in Reading, England. He earned a degree in philosophy from the University College London in 1983, and from there participated in and managed several bands, including a group called Suede and a Queen tribute band. Next, Gervais accepted a position as Head of Speech at London radio station Xfm, where he acquired his assistant, Stephen Merchant. The duo appeared on a regular radio show until Gervais left the station in 1998.
In 1999, Ricky Gervais replaced Ali G on The 11 O'Clock Show, the success of which earned him his own comedy chat show, Meet Ricky Gervais, which appeared in 2000. From there, Gervais and Merchant decided to focus their energies on writing their next big project, the BBC Two mockumentary series The Office. Although the series only aired for twelve episodes and a two-part Christmas special, it was a huge, hilarious success, and it generated a number of spin-offs that aired in the United States, France, Germany, and Quebec. The Office earned a number of awards, including two Golden Globes, and was nominated for two Emmys.
Although the popularity of The Office was hard to top, Ricky Gervais and Stephan Merchant have worked on a number of other successful projects since the series ended in 2003, including Extras, the BBC and HBO series; Flanimals, the children's books; and various other television and film appearances.