Neil Godwin is the Manager of the Swindon branch of Wernham Hogg. After the merger, Neil becomes the UK Manager and David Brent’s boss. For most of the series he is an affable chap exhibiting all the traits of an exemplary senior executive – calm, calculated, resolute and amiable.
He’s quite the opposite of David Brent. In as much as David is very insecure, Neil is very self assured and leads with confidence. Brent is reviled and unpopular where as Neil is charming and very popular.
Neil Godwin’s welcome speech is very well received as it contained just the right balance of humour and seriousness. Neil is respected by his entire team for promoting a solid work ethic and giving them all a great sense of purpose in their jobs. He balances his studious side with generosity by baking cakes for employees birthdays.
Even Chris Finch looks up to Neil and “borrows” some of his jokes. Neil reveals yet another string in his proverbial bow when he performs an excellently rehearsed dance with Rachel to the theme of Saturday Night Fever. Brent can only look on in annoyance.
Neil and David Brent
Neil and David come to blows on many occasions to due to David’s resentment that Neil got the UK Manager job and that he is more popular than David.
The best of example of this is when Neil discovers that a disabled employee was not paid on time. He goes in to speak to David and discovers David doing sit ups in his office with Gareth.
He then challenges David on what sort of system he uses to manage operations despite him having two computers. David’s rebuttal is that it is all up in his head.
Neil then reminds David that the perception of the Slough branch has been a negative one. David challenges him on that statement and they then proceed to get into an argument. The scene ends with the Brent telling Neil they should agree to disagree and Neil retorts that David should agree that he agrees with Neil.
In the Christmas Special Neil becomes tired of David’s repeated visits to the office despite him no longer working there. It comes to a fore when David pops in with his dog, Nelson (named after Nelson Mandela), and as a result all the employee’s rally around the the dog much to Neil’s chagrin.
Neil calls David aside for a word and tells him he cannot keep popping in unannounced. A cringeworthy scene then ensues where Brent tells everyone he’s been banned from visiting, and then proceeds to ask anyone if they’d like to go for a drink with him and no one responds initially. Out of sympathy Tim eventually says he’ll meet David for a drink.
Towards the end of the Christmas Special we oftentimes find ourselves feeling ambivalent toward Neil. Some of the things he says to David make us question whether is still the affable Neil we came to know and like from the second series.
An example of this is when he asks David rather smugly if he still needs two tickets to the Christmas party. He reinforces this by saying that he is looking forward to meeting David’s date at the Christmas party.
The watershed moment is at the Christmas Party when Neil has a go at Davids asking him about his dog. Chris Finch pipes up and says, “haven’t you seen her, she just left”, in reference to David’s rather attractive and witty date.
David then tells Chris to f**k off. The series ends with the viewer sympathising more for David Brent, and feeling a certain level of disdain for Neil’s rather vindictive behaviour towards David.
Who Plays Neil Godwin
Patrick Baladi plays Neil Godwin. He was born in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands to a Syrian father and a British mother. He has three sisters and a brother. After finishing school, Baladi went on to train as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
After The Office, Baladi appeared in a number of films and television shows, including, appeared in various films and television shows, including Kidnap and Ransom, Alpha Male, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Bodies, Party Animals, Beyond The Pole, Bodies, POW, Lady Audley’s Secret, Grafters, Silent Witness, The International, , Mistresses, Rev., Sensitive Skin, Privates and Stella.
He is married to Janie Erith and they have a daughter called Kensa.