Roy Trenneman (born c. 1979) is a support technician in the IT Department of Reynholm Industries. Roy is a lazy, laid back yet notoriously unlucky Irishman whose work day consists of playing video games, indulging himself on sugar and crisps, and reading comics whilst doing the minimum amount of work as possible. He will avoid putting any effort into his job at all costs, and once even built a machine that would answer his phone for him.
Roy shares the basement with Maurice Moss, his “geeky” best friend who still lives with his mother, and Jen Barber, the opposite of him and Moss who lied her way into her job when she falsely claimed that she had experience with computers. Over the course of his time at Reynholm Industries, Roy’s relationship with Jen has improved and they can now even be considered friends and potential love interests, although Roy is still jealous of Jen’s higher-ranking position and other boyfriends.
Although Roy has few friends outside of work, his social skills are much better than those of Moss, whose social circle only includes Roy and his mother. However, due to his t-shirts and obsession with technology and computers, he is still branded as a geek, although he now seems to have lost interest in comic books.
Before the arrival of Jen, Roy and Moss lived in an extremely cluttered working environment, but now the office seems to be much cleaner and more presentable. The same can be said for Roy, as he now appears a lot less grubby and slobby and this seems to have been noticed by many of the occupants of the upper floors, who now treat him and Moss with a little more respect. Roy also seems to have become more attractive to the opposite sex and has been in much more romantic relationships with women than he has in the past.
Early life and career
Roy was born in Ireland, between 1978 and 1979, but moved to the United Kingdom later in his life. It is presumed that he attended college in the UK, as he went to university with Alistair, a UK resident. It is presumed that he took some sort of computer course there, as both he and Alistair began working with computers in their later lives. He briefly worked as a waiter, carrying the food in his trousers before serving it to his customers if they were rude to him.
Roy was hired to work in Reynholm Industries by Denholm Reynholm and was put in the IT Department with Maurice Moss, who would later become his best friend. At one stage, a fire broke out in the office after Moss’s negligence with a soldering iron, causing a near fatality. Roy and Moss, however, were left uninjured. At one stage, Roy and Moss visited Amsterdam, where they got extremely drunk and hired prostitutes. Not knowing what to do with them, Roy and Moss brought the prostitutes, Brandy and Crystal, to a carnival, where they played various fairground games.
In 2001, Richmond Avenal, the once Second-in-Command of Reynholm Industries, was demoted to work in the IT Department as Denholm disagreed with his gothic lifestyle. Eventually, Roy and Moss had become so tired of Richmond’s depressing and pessimistic outlook in life, they banished him to work in a tiny storeroom behind the department
In late 2005, Jen Barber joined the IT Department as Head of the Department and given the title Relationships Manager. Jen had falsely claimed that she had had a lot of experience with computers on her CV, and, against her wishes, was put in the IT Department where she met Moss and Roy. Despite getting on relatively well with Moss, Roy was rightly convinced that Jen did not have a sufficient knowledge of computers to work in IT, however, was forced to keep this to himself when Denholm started firing any employees who disagreed with each other. Jen continued working as Head of the IT Department with insufficient skills.
Later that year, Roy dated Reynholm Industries‘ resident receptionist, Patricia. Midway through the date, Roy accidently rubbed chocolate onto his forehead. Patricia, who mistaked the smudge for faeces, rushed home once the date had finished. When Roy followed her, she finally revealed what had been making her uncomfortable throughout the date. Roy explained to her that it was chocolate and asked to come into her house, however, Patricia refused and the following day told the whole office about the embarassing date. Roy, inspired by the date, made a bet with Jen that all women like the “bastard”-type aggresive man. He went on to prove this point by posting an ad on an online dating website making it out that he was a horrible, agressive individual. He subsequently recieved a reply and went on to go out on a date with the woman to prove his point.
Later on in the year, Jen discovered the red door leading to the secret room in which Richmond had been working in for four years. When she discovered the horrible conditions that Roy and Moss had put him under, she campaigned to have him promoted back to his original job. Roy, when he first found out about it after being rescued from under a desk, was very much against the idea of being around Richmond again, however, Jen continued to bring Richmond out of isolation and she discussed the idea with Denholm, but although Denholm did not want Richmond back as Second-in-Command, he did allow Richmond to come out of his room.
As the year wore on, Jen and Roy began growing gradually closer to one another, and their relationship greatly improved over time. At one point, Jen began experiencing PMT when she was approaching her ‘time of the month’. Eventually, her symptoms became so intense that, whenever she was annoyed, she transformed into a gorgon-like monster with fiery red hair and a deep inhuman voice, much to the distress of her colleagues. However, these symptoms began spreading to other members of the department and Roy and Moss began crying spontaneously. Moss took it upon himself to inform the whole building of their frustrations, much to Roy‘s embarrassment.
Roy seeked Jen’s advice and decided that he, Moss and Jen should recreate a ‘big girl’s night out’ which involved watching romantic comedies and skipping arm-in-arm. Despite the Moss and Roy’s discomfort, the night seemed to cure the department’s PMT problems.
In 2007, Roy, Moss and Jen were invited to New Wimbledon Theatre by Philip, a worker on the sixth floor, to see a musical. However, mounting evidence suggested that Philip was homosexual, although Jen, who was attracted to him, disagreed immediately. All were devastated when they discovered the musical they were actually going to see was Gay: A Gay Musical. Roy was extremely embarassed and awkward during the performance and eventually managed to escape to the toilet. When he couldn’t use the normal toilets, Roy resorted to using a disabled toilet, but accidentally pulled the emergency cord when he couldn’t flush it. Suddenly, the employees of the theatre rushed to the toilet to help him. Roy, fearing that it was illegal for an fully-abled man to use a disabled toilet, lay on the ground and pretended that his wheelchair was stolen. Roy was given a new wheelchair and had to spend the rest of the evening pretending that he was disabled and ended up being put on a bus bound for Manchester full of gay disabled men.
In late April or early May, Denholm commited suicide after irregularities were found in his pension fund. During his funeral, Douglas Reynholm, Denholm’s inexperienced, sexually-frustrated son burst into the church and proclaimed himself as the new Head of Reynholm Industries. At first, Moss and Roy didn’t respect their new boss, giving him a phone which violently vibrates whenever rung, but both learn to treat him with some degree of respect eventually.
Later on in the year, inspired by talking to Jen, Moss invented, patented and developed the Abracada-bra, a revolutionary bra which used a unique system of moving crystals to prevent it from becoming unwearable. Roy was taken in by the idea and persuaded Moss to take the idea to the entrepreneurial TV show Dragons’ Den. Roy, who held ½ % of the company’s profit, agreed to manage Moss’ fitness during the run-up to his experience on Dragons’ Den. Roy then appeared on Dragons’ Den alongside Moss and Jen, however, due to an overheating problem, Moss’ bra burst into flames while pitching his idea.
In 2008, after following Jen home when she owed him £5, Roy met Gary, a builder Jen had hired who was doing some construction work around her flat. Roy was sure he had met Gary before, and it was only after he’d left that he realised why he recognised him. Roy was adament that Gary had featured on the TV show Builders From Hell. Roy convinced Jen to monitor Gary’s every move as he was sure he would urinate in the sink if they left him unsupervised. Roy even helped Jen set up multiple hidden cameras around the house so she could watch his every move from the comfort of the basement. However, Roy became gradually more and more unsure as to whether Gary even featured on the programme, and eventually revealed to a furious Jen that the builder on the programme was actually black.
Later in the year, Roy, using football information he had acquired from a website, talked to a football fan about a match. He was convincing enough to be invited to join some other fans at a pub, and was later invited to a football match with Moss. However, when at the match, Moss began to worry about getting in too deep with the fans and that they were messing with things they didn’t understand. Roy ignored him, and after losing a game of poker, Roy agreed to do a taxi job for his new friends. However, he soon found out that they were actually criminals who were using him as a getaway car in a bank heist, and Roy was forced to become involved in a police pursuit. Roy managed to escape the police and later abandoned his friends and only just avoided being arrested for his involvment in the robbery.
Some time after, Moss spilt coffee on Roy’s shirt and he was forced to wear only a jacket over his bare chest. When he passed by the building’s tealady, Olive, who had just collapsed, he was asked to give her his jacket to keep her warm. Reluctantly, Roy handed over his jacket to reveal he wasn’t wearing anything under it. After walking around the office and getting jeered at by the workers, Roy was eventually thrown out of the building by security as he could not produce ID. Bare-chested, he walked the streets of London, and eventually had to resort to fishing an ragged shirt and jacket out of a bin. He continued walking the streets and even slept under a sheet of cardboard, despite it being in the middle of the afternoon, and was eventually rescued by Jen and brought back to the basement.
In 2010, Roy broke up with his girlfriend, with whom he had had a long term relationship with. Roy struggled to recover from the separation as his girlfriend, and tried forgetting about her by photoshopping her out of every picture he had, resulting in some very strange photographs some of which depicted Roy cycling a tandem bike alone and playing on a see-saw alone. However, Moss helped Roy get over the break-up when he re-enacted a scene whilst playing Dungeons and Dragons in which he played a queen who once had a romantic relationship with Roy’s character. Through this scene, Roy finally realised his relationship with his ex-girlfriend was dead and finally got over the loss.
Later in the year, Roy met an old school friend Alistair, whom he had attended college with. Alistair told Roy that he worked with Shotgun Games, but Roy was disappointed when Alistair didn’t ask what Roy worked as. Some time later, Roy moved into a new flat and was surprised when his neighbour left window cleaning equipment attached to a bicycle inside the house. Roy cycled the bike out of the house and along the street in pursuit of the man, only to pass by Alistair again. Fearing that Alistair would think he works as a window cleaner, Roy cycled after Alistair but could not keep up. Some days later, Roy attended the club 8+ after Moss had become an ‘octo-champion’ on the TV gameshow Countdown. Roy was accidentally locked out of the club and stranded on the roof, and was forced to ask a window cleaner if he could use his lift to drop Roy back on terra firma. Unfortunately, Alistair saw Roy coming down on the lift. Again fearing that Alistair though he was a window cleaner, Roy shouted down at him, but to ill-effect. Roy eventually managed to track Alistair down and explained to him that he worked in IT and wasn’t a window cleaner, but, when asked what computer software he uses, Roy made the mistake of replying “I usually work with Windows”.
Later on in the year, Roy was at a concert watching Sweet Billy Pilgrim when he injured his back whilst dancing with the crowd. Moss and Jen recommended he should see a masseur. Roy took this advice and went to his local spa. After getting a professional massage and thinking his back was cured, Roy went into shock when the masseur, named Paul, kissed Roy on his left buttock. Roy was nearly uable to recover from this and decided to share it with Jen and Moss. Although Jen thought it was hilarious, Moss took the matter extremely seriously and told Roy that the matter should be brought to court. Whilst being questioned by Paul’s lawyer, Roy gave a speech about how he wanted Paul’s reign of arse-kissing to come to an end and how he wanted the other person to experience what had happened to him. This speech won him the trial and he also recieved a standing ovation from the jury.
Roy is extremely lazy, and will avoid any physical effort at all costs. His worklife consists of indulging himself on junk food and sugar while playing video games or surfing the web. He has a great love of comic books, reading them for hours on end while at work. He puts minimal effort into his job, despite the fact that he is more than capable of doing it well.
He is very unhygenic, and litters his desk and the floor with empty crisp packets and old comic books. He has been described as a ‘social piranha’ by Jen, and his only true friend is Moss. He can be incredebly pessimistic at times, and only smiles at the expense of others.
He can be extremely selfish at times, once stuffing a computer monitor up his shirt to smuggle it out of his office. He had been known to steal food from vending machines, however, he showed his righteous side when he called the police when he witnessed a robbery, until he realised that he was actually part of it. Roy is also quite clumsy and is often seen falling over pieces of stray computer equipment. An example of the abuse that Roy constantly suffers.
He went through a phase in which he was affected be Jen’s menstual cycle and became overly feminine, crying when complimented and saying he thinks he is ugly. However, after having a ‘big girls night out’, he swiftly recovered.
Roy is of average intelligence, but can be extremely dimwitted at times. On one occasion, he convinced Jen that her builder featured on the TV show Builders from Hell, and said he was 99% sure of it. Later, this was reduced to 50%, when Roy remembered that the builder on the show was actually black.
Roy is also incredibly, notoriously unlucky. If something happens in any episode, it almost always, always happens to Roy. So far he’s suffered a head wound, a nosebleed, a hand wound, got stuck under a desk, attracted an abhorrent admirer in the form of Judy, slapped by his boss, and unwillingly exhibited menstrual behaviour; and that was only in the first season. In the second, he got patronised by his favourite soap actress when he pretended to be disabled, tricked into thinking he was going to die at a specific time, got dumped by his dinner date, had lipstick applied to his mouth while he passed out during a party at a club as part of a prank, and, with Moss, got locked in a room with a rohypnol-crazed Douglas. In the third season he got tricked into helping some “real men” with a robbery and had coffee spilled on his shirt and had to be thrown out of the building, leaving him lost and forelorn for two hours. In the fourth season he got dumped by his girlfriend, stuck on a roof, had both his hands burnt, had his back injured, got traumatized from being kissed on the rear, and was paralyzed at the sight of a bomb as though glued to the cement.
He has brought this bad luck upon himself quite a few times whenever he acts like a jerk, but in any case he seems to get the wrong end of the stick more than his coworkers..
“I’m comfortable with my sexuality, I just don’t want to be slapped in the face by their sexuality.”
—Roy after learning he was going to see a gay musical
Roy is heterosexual, but is often unsuccessful with the opposite sex. He usually makes things up to make himself look more impressive. He has gone on many unsuccessful dates, including one where he accidently smeared chocolate on his head, making his date, Patricia, mistake it for feces, one on which he tried to prove that ‘all women love bastards’ by wearing sunglasses and continually being rude, and one on which he dined with ‘The Joker’.
In 2007, Roy, Moss and Richmond were asked by Jen to fill in at a singles dinner party after three other men failed to show up. Roy was sat beside Paula, a model who had been involved in a car accident and whose face was covered in bandages. Throughout the evening, Roy tried to discover what Paula’s face was like under the bandages, to ill-effect. When Roy walked her home, he “gambled” and asked her out on a date, and was devastated when she said no.
He has occasionally slept with women who he wouldn’t have gone out with if he was sober, including Dr. Mendall, the building’s psychiatrist who strongly resembles Roy’s mother, and a woman who demands money from tramps. He briefly had a relationship with Kimberly, a girl from the seventh floor who Roy originally thought was beautiful, however, after he had to make a nude calendar of ‘geeky’ men, he is unable to continue seeing her.
Skills and abilities
- Machinery Construction: Roy is quite skilled with machinery, creating a machine which could answer the phone for him, and a machine with which he could steal food from a vending machine with. He was also capable of constructing several security cameras for Jen’s house, which she could use to spy on her builder with from the comfort of the office.
- Computer Expertise: Roy is capable of setting up computers and performing basic tasks, however, his knowledge of computers is hugely overshadowed by that of Moss.
- Video Games: Due to his obsession with computers, Roy is quite skilled at video games, particularly Guitar Hero, and is capable of scoring a perfect score with the help of Jen.
- Public Speaking: Whilst being questioned by Paul the masseur’s lawyer about how traumatic it was to be kissed on his arse, Roy gave a speech about how he wanted Paul’s reign of arse-kissing to come to an end and how he wanted to other person to experience what had happened to him. This speech won him the trial and he also recieved a standing ovation from the dury.
“You’re my wife, Roy! You’re my wife! We should be married to ladies but we’re married to each other!”
—Moss’ feelings on his and Roy’s relationship
Moss is Roy’s best friend, and they often meet up together and socialise. They both have a close relationship and Moss is one of the few people Roy can confide in. Despite this, Roy has been known to exploit Moss, and sometimes insults him, and the pair occasionally get into physical fights. Moss is under the impression that they spend so much time together that he and Roy are like a married couple, however, Roy disagrees.
Roy is always willing to help Moss, and once prepared him for facing a gang of bullies. Both have a love of technology and machinery and often play video games and watch movies together.
We should get drunk together then… we should get so drunk that we don’t know what’s going on.”
-Roy at a party with Jen
At first, Roy was rightly convinced that Jen had lied on her CV and said that she had a respectable knowledge of computers. He was constantly looking for things which could lead to her sacking, however, he was forced to give up. However, Jen and Roy’s relationship improved over time and both were seen dancing together lovingly at the ‘Thank-You Party’ for Project Icarus. At times, Jen has been known to insult and mock Roy, particularly about an incident in which he looked like he had feces on his head. However despite this, Roy looks at Jen as a friend, a boss, and a love interest. Roy even go so far as to flirt with her, as well as become jealous when she’s around other men. Also, he can be quite protective and has proved his need of her in the department on numerous occasions.
Jen only saw Roy as a work colleague, and never as a friend, until she went to an interview for another job. There she realised that Roy and Moss need her, and that she couldn’t possibly leave them. This indicates a genuine liking for both Roy and Moss, who she had originally seen as just work associates.
Jen later admitted that Moss and Roy are her friends, and on one occasion stood up for them when Douglas began insulting them.
Douglas is the manager of Reynholm Industries and hence is Roy’s boss. At first, Roy had little respect for Douglas, giving him a phone which vibrates violently when rung. However, Roy soon grows to like Douglas, probably because Douglas is wealthy and Roy can take advantage of this. Douglas has admitted that he doesn’t like the “boss, employee” relationship with the pair and once offered Roy to come to his house and watch a film together. Douglas occasionally calls Roy up to his office, usually with an incredibily easy task for him to do e.g. opening a laptop.
Roy originally disliked Richmond, as he felt that he was ‘bringing the mood down’. He treated him like vermin, threatening him with a sweeping brush and banishing him to look after some abandoned mainframes without any briefing to what he was meant to do. However, when Jen came to the office, she campaigned for Richmond to return to his original job. After Richmond came out of isolation, Roy’s relationship with him improved slightly, offering him to come with them to the theatre. Richmond got scurvy in 2008 and so was absent from the office, however, Roy didn’t miss him very much.
Roy is nearly always seen in casual dress, usually a t-shirt depicting a video game or something computer related, and plain jeans or trousers. He has unruly, messy dark brown hair and can be seen with rough stubble growing around his face. He has blue eyes and sometimes carries around a small, leather bag.
Behind the scenes
- Roy is played by comedian and actor, Chris O’Dowd.
- Graham Linehan, writer of The IT Crowd, has revealed that Roy is the only character who he has ever based on himself. Linehan has said that he and Roy share a love of comic books, board games and computers and a hatred of football.
- It is revealed in Bad Boys that Roy is globaphobic (he is scared of balloons). However, he can be seen in Calendar Geeks throwing balloons in the air during a photoshoot.
- As of June 2010, Roy is the second most popular character in the show according to a poll conducted by Channel 4, recieving 18%.
- Up until the fourth series, Roy’s surname was never mentioned, however, Chris O’Dowd and Graham Linehan discussed possibilities such as ‘McGonagall’ and ‘Shepard’, although these were never put into use. Graham Linehan liked the idea of Roy owning his own website and created a webpage on which Roy was featured. Roy was seen viewing the website in the episode The Speech, and on closer expection, the website’s title reads, Please Think I’m Interesting with Roy Tenneman. Linehan, however, commented that this was not to be considered canonical. In Something Happened, it was confirmed during the court scene that Roy’s surname is in fact ‘Trenneman’. It is noticeable that Tenneman and Trenneman are very similar.