The Naked Office Review: Naked Ambition

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

THE NAKED OFFICE: Thursday 9th July, Virgin 1, 9pm Alert Me

Spearheading Virgin1’s launch, The Naked Office is said to combine “humour and journalistic vigour?.

“Journalistic vigour? in this case a euphemism for sensationalistic gawpery.

The Naked Office documents one man’s experiment to get the entire workforce of a small Newcastle office naked in an effort to improve communication and productivity.

Its introduction gives you a good indication of where it’s going, which isn’t very far.

It clumsily deploys all the tried-and-tested tension-builders going, soundtracking all this misery with some dreary indie, showing us money shots of receptionist Sam sobbing because she’s been made redundant.

MD Michael Owen is desperate for help keeping his company from the jaws of the, ahem, recession. “We need someone to help us work out what we should do next,? he says as grim guitars jangle away.

“And that someone is Dave Taylor,? the voiceover barks. Cue pumping 90s Drum and Bass. Oh yeah, he’s going to make things happen. Listen to that music! He’s really going to get things moving.

‘Britain’s Top Business Psychologist’ Dave, who has worked for the ‘world’s biggest businesses’, reckons nuding up is going to save the company. He reasons his cause, stating every leadership and management issue is a personal one “dressed up?. Never has the vehicle of metaphor been dragged so far.

But surely, wouldn’t getting naked in the office just be obstructive? Irrational fears of smashing your bits in the photocopier would emerge, bottom chafing will become a daily trial, and hygiene would certainly be an issue. MD Michael will have to cover all the swivel chairs in cling film.

Dave makes them do team-building exercises like pitching a tent. No willies or fannies yet. Alas, the naked thing is just a gimmick. And frankly that was the show’s USP, so to speak.

Things look up, in many cases literally when keen temp Luca comes to work with the team for a day in his birthday suit. This is where the lashings of double entendre are served up, unfortunately the programmes only comedic component.

Let’s not be too cruel, though. The producers did open a newspaper before embarking on this show. They did try to make it “timely? by saying “credit crunch? a few times, as if it would lend the spectacle some credibility.

By the end however you’re left feeling as violated as the hacks made to strip for national TV.

Leonie Mercedes

Danielle Johnson says:

Wow, what a fantastic company. Not. A managing director who hasnt got a clue, a marketing director who’s not sure why he’s there, a project manager that seemed a little lost. No process, chaotic and no communication. I’m sold! How the hell have they survived 10 years? You would never get companies like this down in London. I’ll be sure never to work with any businesses from the North East if they are anything like One Best Way.