Stephen Merchant: Hello Ladies (2011)
At the start of his new show, Hello Ladies, Stephen Merchant displays a photograph with which the Guardian illustrated The Office's triumph at the 2004 Golden Globes. His co-writer, Ricky Gervais, and others are in the foreground, but the 6ft 7in Merchant looms in the background, his head lopped off at the chin. As the less attention-seeking half of one of British comedy's most successful double acts, this is not the only time Merchant has been cut out of the limelight. But now he is claiming centre stage, with a first solo comedy tour since he launched as a standup in 1997.