'Golden Years' (1998)
Having worked as an events manager at UCL, landing a similar position at London's XFM radio 1997 and meeting collaborator Stephen Merchant (whom he hired as his assistant while at XFM), Gervais's television debut came with Golden Years. Written for Channel 4's Comedy Lab series, the one-off sitcom episode stars Gervais as Clive Meadows, co-owner of a video rental company who's obsessed with David Bowie. "I've not so much followed in his footsteps as walked alongside him," Meadows muses about Bowie. The documentary style and Meadow's mix of bravado and desperation is seen as a template for The Office's David Brent.