Fictional Characters Wiki

Neil Godwin is a character in the BBC sitcom The Office. He is played by Patrick Baladi. During season four of the US version, the character of Ryan Howard shares many similarities to Neil.

Following the merger of his branch with the Slough branch, Neil is instated as the Co-Managing Director, overseeing Wernham Hogg and thus becoming David Brent's boss. He is a more competent manager than David, has a better relationship with the staff and even finds it easier to make the staff laugh. Brent is hugely resentful and jealous of him, and makes occasional (and largely unsuccessful) attempts to either undermine or rival him.


Neil met David Brent previously at a conference in Ipswich, however David doesn't remember this because he was a little bit drunk. 

Series 1

In "Downsize", it is mentioned that Neil had to prove to Jennifer Taylor-Clarke that his branch could successfully incorporate the Slough branch. He was reportedly also worried about making redundancies.

In "Work Experience", upon receiving the news of the proposed merger, Neil had made some big changes to his branch. He froze any wage increases, put a stop to all over-time, made it so that any purchases over £100 now go through him and had started making redundancies. 

Series 2[]

In "Merger", Neil arrives at the Slough office, David continues to insist to the cameras that Neil isn't his boss and didn't have that much power above him. David later tries to impress Neil, to no avail, by showing him an 18 month old copy of Inside Paper which featured a picture of David. Neil later gave a speech which received much greater critical acclaim than David Brent's failed attempt to make the staff laugh. Later on, Neil was present as David got a telling off for telling racist jokes in the workplace. 

In "Appraisals", David, jealous of the rest of the staff's admiration of Neil, interrupted a harmless game of cricket in the office and pointed out that Neil trying to be everyone's friend was "pathetic". Neil spoke to David in his office about how he doesn't like being spoken to in such a manner. After leaving, David then began to lie to some of his staff about what Neil spoke to him about a claimed that Neil had been slagging them off. 

In "Party", David, in an attempt to look cool, tries to dress like Neil, Neil later turns down an offer to do motivational speaking, much to David's delight. He also shared some jokes with his old friend Chris Finch before putting dirty images into David's head. 

In "Motivation", Neil began seriously disputing with David Brent's management when he took Dawn Tinsley off reception early without notifying anyone and failed to ensure that members of staff were receiving their monthly wages.

In "Charity", Neil and Rachel performed a Saturday Night Fever inspired dance to the staff for charity on Red Nose Day. Later that day Neil asked David for a report he needed which David hadn't done. This led to David Brent receiving a warning, but David pettily asked to be fired because he believed there would be a mutiny. Later that day, Neil and Jennifer returned to David with the news that they had decided to follow through and had agreed to make him redundant.

Christmas Specials[]

In the Christmas Special, Neil is clearly annoyed that Brent is continuing to hang around the Slough office. He bars further visits, and a less than pleasant side to his character emerges when he says he is looking forward to meeting Brent’s blind date at the Christmas party, guessing almost correctly that Brent will in fact turn up by himself. He is, in other words, setting up Brent for more humiliation and seems somewhat disappointed when Carol, Brent’s date, turns out to be attractive, friendly and witty. Arguably, Neil sets up Chris Finch’s "dog" comment about Carol by asking David about the Labrador he brought in earlier, and he immediately laughs at Chris's joke after he makes it. A furtive, embarrassed glance in the direction of the camera tells us he knows it has backfired on him when Brent finally tells Finch to "fuck off". Brent might have made himself look stupid, but after managing to come across as a down-to-earth, nice man for most of the series, Neil has made himself look deliberately malicious.