Peep Show is now regarded as one of the greatest British sitcoms of all time – but if it wasn't for Ricky Gervais, the beloved Channel 4 series might never have got past its first season.


Speaking to The Guardian as part of a retrospective feature to mark the show's 20th anniversary, Iain Morris – who worked as a script editor on the series – revealed that Channel 4 had initially not been very fond of the show when it first aired.

"The channel hated it because it wasn’t rating and they didn’t really understand it," he explained. "I spent a lot of time defending it, probably to the detriment of my career."

He added that he was a good friend of Gervais at the time, and that it was the comedian's passion for the show that eventually persuaded the channel to stick with it.

"He kept talking about it," he said. "Because The Office was so huge, his love for Peep Show effectively got it recommissioned."

Meanwhile, executive producer Andrew O’Connor added that in its early days the show "just kept being recommissioned by the skin of our teeth".

He added: "It was an act of survival until it finally took off."

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After debuting in 2003, the series eventually went on to run for nine seasons until 2015 – becoming the longest-running comedy in Channel 4 history.

It helped launch the careers of future Succession creator Jesse Armstrong and his writing partner Sam Bain, as well as stars David Mitchell, Robert Webb and Olivia Colman.

In April, it was revealed that a pilot had been ordered for a new gender-swapped US remake of the series, with Minnie Driver (Starstruck) and Amandla Jahava (DMZ) cast in the lead roles.

Peep Show is available to stream on BritBox and Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

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