British comic RICKY GERVAIS slipped effortlessly into character for his upcoming television comedy Extras, because he feels an affinity with the role.

The GOLDEN GLOBE-winning The Office creator will play ANDY MILLMAN, a bit-part actor desperate for fame and fortune who always misses out on the lead roles.

Gervais, 41, says, "In Extras I play a grumpy and sarcastic character who hates being around actors and showbiz types, preferring to lie on my couch at home watching TV. My character thinks the world owes him a living.

"It's a stretch but I think I pulled it off. This is my long-awaited new programme that some critics are already calling the disappointing follow up to The Office."

A bevy of A-list stars including Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Ben Stiller and Samuel L Jackson are set to appear in the comedy.

Gervais adds, "Every one of them is a great sport."

An American re-make of Gervais' awarding winning TV show The Office debuts on American television next week (24MAR05).

17/03/2005 14:00