"He proposed on a Valentine’s day, although he didn’t do it face to face, he did it in one of the little Valentine message bits in the paper. I think he had to pay for it by the word, because it just said ‘Lee love Dawn, marriage?’ which, you know I like, because it’s not often you get something that’s both romantic and thrifty."
  • Dawn, recounting how Lee proposed to herDawn Tinsley is a character in the BBC sitcom The Office. She is played by Lucy Davis. Her counterpart in the US series is Pam Beesly.

Dawn is a receptionist at the Slough branch of Wernham-Hogg Paper Company. She has been engaged to warehouse worker Lee for three years, but has romantic feelings for sales representative Tim Canterbury. She leaves Wernham-Hogg at the end of series two to live in Florida with Lee's sister, but returns during the second Christmas special, where she calls of her engagement with Lee and starts a relationship with Tim.


Lee proposed to Dawn through a newspaper ad on Valentine's Day 1998, something she describes as both "romantic" and "thrifty."

Series 1

In "Downsize", In an attempt to show his twisted sense of humour, branch manager David Brent pretends to fire Dawn for stealing Post-it notes. Dawn has a breakdown and calls David "a sad little man" and "a wanker".

In "The Quiz", she is the only employee who remembered it was Tim's 30th birthday, and along with Lee, gave him a giant inflatable penis as a gift. She also helped Tim make Gareth admit he was gay by using military terms.

In "Training", she has a falling out with Lee, and Tim spends the rest of the episode trying to console her and gets to the conclusion the she and Lee have split up, and asks her out on a date, only to be embarrassed when she tells him that they're still a couple.

Series 2

In "Appraisals", Dawn tells David that she initially became a receptionist part-time to get money and fund her career as an illustrator, but is now a receptionist full-time.

In "Charity", she gives out kisses for £1 to raise money for Comic Relief, and gives one to Tim. One of Gareth's friends, Jimmy "the Perv", lives up to his name and pays dawn multiple times, getting more amorous with each kiss.

In "Interview", Tim decides to break up with Rachel and discovers Dawn is moving to Florida with Lee. Tim is reluctant to say anything, but changes his mind during an interview and has a private conversation with Dawn, but he tells the camera crew she said "no".

Christmas Specials

In the first Christmas episode, Dawn is shown to live an unhappy life in Florida with Lee. When asked if she can return to Slough for a reunion, she is hesitant, but agrees after the camera crew offers to pay for the flight.

In the second part, Dawn returns to Britain and arrives at the office. She and Tim immediately recreate old times by winding up Gareth. Lee tells Dawn that it is time to leave. She and Tim say awkward goodbyes and she leaves with Lee. In the taxi, Dawn opens her "Secret Santa" present: an oil painting set from Tim with the words, "Never give up" written next to Dawn's sketch of Tim, which she had made earlier in the day.  In the final scenes, Dawn returns to the office and kisses Tim, indicating that she has left Lee. The whole office staff gather for a group photo. Brent asks to have a group photo of just him and the "old gang".  While David, Tim, Dawn, Gareth, and the rest of the office members gather round for the photo, David finally manages to make his colleagues laugh, with an impersonation of Frank Spencer.



Warehouse worker Lee has been Dawn's boyfriend since school, and as of the first series, her fiancé for three years. Lee proposed through an ad in the paper rather than in person. Dawn comments that she believes he had to pay by the letter, as the ad merely reads "Lee love Dawn. Marriage?" She sheds positive light on this by commenting that it's rare to find something romantic and thrifty.

Lee's relationship with Dawn is constantly problematic, even though she stays with him up until the end of the series. Lee is essentially portrayed as a reasonable man and logical, dependable partner. However he is seen to be sexist and ungrateful towards Dawn; during one episode, he tells his coworkers in the factory that she will "take her milkers out for a tenner", upsetting both Dawn and Tim. He is also often cold and unsympathetic, and doesn't support Dawn's ambition. In "The Quiz", Lee discusses plans for their future, citing that they will get married at a register office to save money and move in with his parents to save on rent. His plans for Dawn include her becoming first a mother, then probably a cleaner. He also apparently lacks a sense of humour, even trumping on a prank perpetrated by Tim on Gareth.

It becomes apparent that Lee is also behind Dawn abandoning her dream to become an illustrator. In the second series she reveals that he pushed her to get a full-time job, which meant she was unable to work as an illustrator anymore. In the final episode of the show, his reason for Dawn to abandon being an illustrator becomes clearer, insensitively stating that in order to be an illustrator "you got to be good."

Dawn seems to stay with Lee out of habit and loyalty, and fear of being lonely. However, in the final episode of the show, Dawn breaks off her engagement to Lee and begins a relationship with Tim.

Tim Canterbury

Tim and Dawn are close friends, but obviously have deeper feelings for one another. Tim and Dawn's relationship is also seen to be very flirtatious at times. However, Dawn's engagement to Lee prevents them from becoming more than friends for quite some time.

Their friendship seems to suffer after the episode "Training", in which Dawn and Lee are having problems. Tim consoles her throughout the episode, but mistakenly comes to the conclusion that Lee and Dawn have split. He then asks Dawn out on a date in front of everyone, where she tells him that she and Lee are still together. Embarrassed, Tim insists he was just asking her out as a friend.

During the second series Dawn and Tim remain friends, but don't seem to be as close anymore. Tim starts to take his job more seriously after being promoted and becomes somewhat distant towards Dawn at first. Tim also begins to date Rachel, one of the former Swindon employees, and Dawn grows jealous (along with Gareth, who claims he had feelings for Rachel before Tim).

In "Charity", Dawn is selling kisses for Red Nose Day. After Tim makes a contribution, they share a kiss. Tim is then driven to choose between Rachel and Dawn, unaware of Dawn and Lee's plans to move to America.

In the next episode he makes his decision, breaking up with Rachel. Tim soon discovers that Dawn is leaving for Florida with Lee. Initially Tim seems reluctant to say anything, but changes his mind during an interview with the camera crew and runs to tell Dawn how he feels. Their conversation is kept private as Tim takes off his microphone, but he emerges unsuccessful and admits Dawn said no. The second series ends with Dawn and Tim depressed.

Three years pass, with Tim remaining content in his job at Wernham-Hogg and Dawn existing unhappily with Lee in Florida. When asked if they would fly back to Slough for a Christmas reunion, Dawn hesitates and explains that that would cost "three months of wages", so the camera crew interferes by offering to pay for the flight and lodgings. Dawn and Lee are flown back for the reunion, and she briefly resumes her friendship with Tim. When Dawn receives a Christmas present from Tim (some paints with the note 'never give up' written on the sketch that Dawn had drawn for him earlier that day) encouraging her to hold on to her ambition of becoming an illustrator, she leaves Lee and returns to the Christmas party, where she and Tim kiss and finally become a couple.

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