The Office was almost scrapped before production got underway, after creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant fell out with the BBC.
In a forthcoming documentary, producer Toby Stevens reveals BBC bosses wanted to hire an experienced comedy director, while Gervais and Merchant were determined they would helm the first series in 2001.
BBC bosses eventually backed down and the show went on to garner international acclaim and an American spin-off series.
Stevens says: "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. Luckily, they eventually got the BBC to agree."