The cult show's creator, Vince Gilligan, had planned to kill the actor's character off after the pilot episode, but Paul was so good as Jesse Pinkman, the writer/director couldn't do it.

And when the strike began in November, 2007, Gilligan had a complete change of heart, according to Michelle MACLaren, another of the show's regular directors.

"Originally, Vince was going to kill Jesse," she told Playboy magazine. "I think after the pilot, he went, 'This guy's great'.

"But I know he also credits the writers' strike with a lot of the show's success. There was a long hiatus because of the strike, and during that time Vince changed his mind about some things.

"When he came back the show went in a different direction."