"Training" was the fourth episode of the British version of The Office. It was written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. It aired on July 30, 2001 on BBC Two.


Dawn Tinsley and Lee are fighting because Dawn is annoyed about their prolonged engagement. Tim Canterbury is trying to calm her down and sarcastically says that he'll marry her if Lee is stupid enough to drop her. Gareth Keenan tries to help by saying that one of the other warehouse workers fancies her, but only makes it worse when he says that no one else would, driving Dawn to tears and infuriating Tim. Dawn explains that she has been engaged to Lee for three years, and that he proposed in the newspaper by saying, "Lee love Dawn. Marriage?," because he had to pay by the word, which Dawn "likes" because it's both "romantic and thrifty."

The office is having a twice-annual training day with an instructor, Rowan. David Brent spends most of the seminar trying to upstage Rowan and remain both the center of attention and the man who is ultimately in charge. Everyone is forced to watch boring videos about proper office behavior and how to handle clients. Dawn and Tim privately make fun of the videos. Afterwards, Rowan proposes a bit of role play to demonstrate how not to handle customers. He has David play a customer with a complaint, while Rowan plays an indifferent hotel manager. As David's complaint is ignored by Rowan, he decides to blurt out, "I think there's been a rape up there." Everyone is left completely and utterly shocked. David then says, "I got his attention. Always get their attention."

When David and Rowan switch roles, David of course continues to be crude by writing Rowan's complaint off as false. Rowan than tells everyone to get to know each other, by telling each other their dreams and fantasies. Lee pulls Dawn out of the session to have another argument, which Tim notices with obvious interest; when Dawn returns she furiously refuses to participate. Rowan dreams of having his own private island, while David dreams of being imortal; Gareth, who had left the room to get something, misinterprets the question and says that his greatest fantasy is "two lesbians. Sisters. I'm just watching." Everyone is shocked again; however, Tim sarcastically says he'd like to hear more

Accountant Keith says he wants to be in a band, seeing Wernham Hogg as merely a stop gap. David gloats that he was once in a band, "Forgone Conclusions". Everyone becomes interested in this unknown side to David's life, which leads to him heading home to fetch his guitar. He then plays a couple of songs, most of which make little sense, but to him have some cultural relevance. One of them, "Freelove Freeway," causes Tim and Gareth to join in and garners applause, but leaves everyone wondering just what it's about. Dawn then begins to cheer up. Rowan, however, becomes agitated by David. Having heard about Dawn's relationship problems, David tries to cheer her up by singing a song, which he originally wrote about the death of Princess Diana; to explain its relevance to Dawn, Gareth compares her relationship with Lee to "a car crash". Meanwhile, Dawn and Lee make up.

Dawn says she has been thinking about leaving Wernham Hogg. Tim and Dawn agree that they don't want to spend their life working at a failing paper company. For the next exericse, Rowan has everyone pair up to solve a basic logic problem; Tim is paired with Gareth, who takes the problem way too literally and spends most of the time complaining about Tim's (non) suggestions. When Rowan emphasizes that the purpose of the problem was not to solve it but to work as a team, which is the whole point of the seminar, David tries to make it all about him by asserting that he is the boss and everyone follows his lead. It becomes obvious to Rowan (apparently not for the first time) that no one is really learning anything. Tim decides that he is fed up with everyone and abruptly says he is going to quit. Rowan echoes his sentiment that the whole thing was "a waste of time" and also leaves. Tim, having assumed that Dawn is broken up with Lee, comes back in and asks her out, leaving everyone awkwardly looking at each other. Dawn is confused and corrects him, but doesn't show any anger; Tim, however, is thoroughly embarrassed and tries to pass it off as a friendly request before leaving again. David tells Gareth to fetch his guitar.

During the closing credits, "Handbags and Gladrags" is personally sung by David.


For quotes, see Training Quotes.


Connections to the American Office


Main Cast

Supporting Cast

  • Joel Beckett as Lee
  • Vincent Franklin as Rowan
  • Oliver Chris as Ricky Howard
  • Ewen MacIntosh as Keith Bishop
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