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Neil Godwin is a fictional character in the BBC sitcom, The Office, played by Patrick Baladi. Neil first appeared in the second series of the show as the UK Manager of Wernham Hogg, newly promoted from manager of the Swindonmarker branch, thus making him David Brent's new boss. He was mentioned by name in some episodes of the previous series (David was originally offered Neil's job) but he did not make an appearance.

Neil is everything that Brent mistakenly thinks he is himself: funny, talented, popular and competent (albeit somewhat smugly). He quickly becomes the object of Brent's resentment and envy.

Throughout the series, Neil and David's biggest disagreement is David's management style. David allows his employees to accomplish their tasks by their own means, as long as they get the job accomplished, whereas Neil insisted that things be done a certain way. Neil is constantly seen criticizing David's methods, and finally makes David redundant because of it, as well as David's defensive attitude when questioned about it.

Although very good at his job, Neil occasionally comes across as a rather artificial and disingenuous person. David catches him playing Wiffleball in the office, after Neil criticized him beforehand about office productivity. He is dismissive towards David's dog and shared a joke with Chris Finch at the expense of David's Christmas party date, Carol. He is shown earlier in the series being friendly and laughing with Chris Finch.

In an interview with The Onion A.V. Club in January 2007, Ricky Gervais (who created the show and played Brent) said he found Neil to be an unsympathetic figure.

There's only two people you shouldn't like, and that's Neil and Chris Finch.
Finch is a bully, he's one of those people who comes into a room and takes a piss out of someone else, and you laugh, but really you know it's your turn next.
And Neil you shouldn't like, because he doesn't care.
He was better than David Brent at his job, but it meant less to him than it did to David Brent.[143848]


In the US version of The Office, Neil's counterpart, Josh Porter, runs the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin. The initial plan is for the Scranton branch (the branch the programme documents) to close in the merger. Josh, however, uses his promotion to negotiate a better job elsewhere. As a result, the plan is reversed, meaning that Stamford closes. Josh does not move to Scranton, and thus only appears in the series very briefly. In the 4th season of the US series, the character of Ryan Howard takes on a role that is somewhat analogous to Neil's when he is promoted and moves to corporate in New York but works directly with the Scranton branch on visits.


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