"The Quiz" was the third episode of the first series of the British Office. It was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and aired on July 23, 2001 on BBC Two.


It's Tim's 30th birthday, so he shows up to work early, wearing the goofy hat his mother bought for him. Meanwhile, David phones Chris "Finchy" Finch to tell him about the office quiz which will take place later, and says that they've won it six years in a row. While on the phone, Finchy tells Brent a racist joke which he immediately dismisses as being just banter before quickly hanging up.

When everyone else comes into work, Tim gets a card from Dawn and David talks to Tim about how his father got put into mental hospital for imagining that a Japanese sniper was intending to kill him.

Lee comes into work and gives Tim a giant inflatable penis as a gift. David and Gareth see it and use it as an attempt to make a joke. David and Gareth talk about humorous phrases that David has "invented" after which David says that there are limits to his comedy and that he will never insult the handicapped.

Dawn tells the rest of the workers that they'll be going out for drinks for Tim's birthday, but David reminds her that the quiz is on the same night.

David asks temp Ricky Howard is he's excited for his first quiz, but Ricky tells him that he appeared on the game show Blockbusters where he won 2 episodes, camping equipment and a Walkman. David asks Ricky for one of the questions he was asked while he was on the show, and despite his protests, David answers incorrectly. David then spends ages to think of a question about Fyodor Dostoyevsky for Ricky to answer and is shown up by Ricky's superior knowledge and leaves..

Tim and Dawn interrupt Gareth while he is writing questions for the quiz where they ask him questions with homosexual connotations. Gareth, not realizing they're asking him if he's gay, says "He would do a man from behind". After Tim gives Gareth a military scenario filled with innuendos, Dawn tells Gareth that Tim was asking him if he was gay. Tim dismisses it and Gareth doesn't believe her, and the two high-five.

Meanwhile, Ricky is having trouble operating the printer and asks David for help. David ignores him and recites facts about Dostoyevsky that he researched earlier. When Ricky starts talking about Dostoyevsky's House of the Dead, David immediately leaves, realizing that Ricky knows more than him. Ricky is later showing Donna how to use the photocopier when David appears again trying to show off with more Dostoyevsky facts. Like before, Ricky shows more knowledge than David, resulting in him leaving again.

Lee is shown discussing his plans for his and Dawn's wedding with Tim and Jamie. He has no intention of it being a flashy wedding, and intends to get married in the registry office to save money. He also discusses his plans for the future: Move in with his mother for a while and let Dawn have a few kids and get a part-time cleaning job. Dawn makes a joke about it, and Tim laughs. Lee tells him that when he gets a life, he can start making fun of theirs.

Finchy arrives at the office and immediately pokes fun at David by calling him fat and gay. David instead laughs with him to show that the two have a good relationship. David introduces Finchy to Ricky, and tells him that he reads a book a week and that he should be careful. Tim asks him which books he reads and David says every subject on a Trivial Pursuit board. Finchy makes fun of students and David rides along with him.

Later, the quiz begins with Gareth introducing David and Finchy as the current champions. Before he reads out the first question, David reminds everyone that it's Tim's birthday. David talks about an older incident in which his team almost lost the quiz due to Gareth giving the incorrect answer, and resulting in David getting a book from home to prove his answer was the correct one. During the quiz, Tim complains to Gareth for making all the questions about war, but Gareth says he has a question about tennis and another one about the Suez Canal, which is the following question. As the quiz progresses, Finchy gets arrogant due to David's uncertainty about questions. David gets a phone call from the hospital, and is informed that his father has dementia, however, David ignores this and asks the doctor if he knows the answer to a question.

At the end of the quiz, Gareth announces the both "The Dead Parrots" (David and Finchy) and "The Tits" (Tim and Ricky) are tied in first places and asks one player from each team participate in tiebreakers, who end up being Ricky and Finchy. Ricky answers the tiebreaker correctly and wins the quiz. However, Finchy blames Gareth for not making the rules clear, but his protests are ignored.

Later, when everyone is celebrating Tim's birthday, Finchy calls David out for getting a relatively simple question wrong. However, Dawn tells him not to get so worked up about losing and that there are people better than him. Finchy responds that he's better at lots of things such as throwing, and recounts a time when he threw a kettle over the roof of a pub. Finchy says that if he can throw something over the roof of the building, he will win the quiz. They eventually resort to throwing Tim's shoe over the building. He succeeds in doing so, and "wins" the quiz.

As Tim goes to get his shoe back, Gareth attempts to kick the inflatable penis that was given to Tim as a birthday present over the building.


Main Cast

Supporting Cast

  • Oliver Chris as Ricky Howard
  • Ralph Ineson as Chris Finch
  • Joel Beckett as Lee
  • Sally Bretton as Donna
  • Robin Hooper as Malcolm
  • Yvonne D'Alpra as Joan
  • Ben Bradshaw as Ben
  • Jamie Deeks as Jamie
  • Jane Lucas as Sheila
  • Ewan MacIntosh as Keith Bishop


  • The results of the quiz before Finchy's "challenge" were
    • 4th place: Universally Challenged (Keith, Sheila and Jackie)
    • 3rd place: Malcolm and Dennis
    • 2nd place: The Dead Parrots (David and Finchy)
    • 1st place: The Tits (Tim and Ricky)
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