The Office: Initially Gervais and the BBC at loggerheads

The brilliant hit comedy The Office almost had a production stoppage back in 2001 due to creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant having a battle of creative wills with the BBC executive ranks. <P></P> <P>In a filmed documentary, producer Toby Stevens shows footage of BBC brass who wanted to override Gervais and hire an experienced comedy director, while Gervais and Merchant were determined they would helm the first series in 2001. </P> <P>The BBC eventually backed down and the show became a monster hit, with an American spin-off featuring the talented American actor Steve Carell.</P> <P>Stevens said in his documentary, "Ricky and Stephen said that they wanted to direct the show and the BBC basically said that this couldn’t happen. Ricky was adamant it had to be made on their terms or not at all, as they had such a clear vision for the programme."</P> <P>"Luckily, they eventually got the BBC to agree." </P> <P>Indeed.</P>Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.