Ricky Gervais has revealed that he turned down the chance to play the lead role in the US version of his hit show The Office.

Although the funnyman did reprise his role as boorish boss David Brent for a guest appearance in the American show, he said it would not have been right to feature in the entire series.

They said ‘Do you want to play the main role?’ but what’s the point of that?” he told an audience at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.

“We made The Office, that was a document of what it was like to be in an English office and it was made by English people for English people, and this should be made by Americans for Americans.”

Ricky added that his cameo in the US series would be the last time he played David Brent – and while he accused the BBC of having too much “red tape” did praise them for their part in getting the original version of The Office made.

“The Office would not exist if it wasn’t for the BBC,” he admitted. “They did a focus group when we finished the series and it scored the lowest score ever and they didn’t change a thing.”