Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Entertainment
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Ricky Gervais says 'Derek' his 'favourite character'; considering special

Actors David Earl (left) and Ricky Gervais are shown in a scene from Netflix's

Enlarge Image

Actors David Earl (left) and Ricky Gervais are shown in a scene from Netflix's "Derek" Season 2. Gervais called Derek "his favourite character I've created," and said he hopes to do more with the simple, kind-hearted care home worker — likely in the form of an hour-long special. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ray Burmiston for Netflix

TORONTO - Ricky Gervais says third seasons are not his cup of tea.

"The Office" and "Extras" came to bittersweet endings after just two years, and Gervais says he can't promise fans any more episodes of Netflix comedy-drama "Derek."

But he called Derek his favourite character yet and said he hopes to do more with the simple, kind-hearted care home worker — likely in the form of an hour-long special.

"When I've got a story to tell and it's all in my head and I'm excited about it and I think it needs to be told, that's when I'll call Netflix and say, 'I've got an hour special.' But I've never made TV for the sake of it. I think that's often a problem with TV," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"But I do love Derek. I think he's my favourite character I've created. I love being him. I love writing for him, playing him, and directing the show. I would like to do a bit more, if I'm honest. But it's got to deserve it."

A six-episode second season of "Derek" landed on Netflix last month. The earnest mockumentary centres on the employees of a home for the elderly: sweet Derek, tough working-class Hannah (Kerry Godliman) and drunk pervert Kev (David Earl).

The show appears to be Gervais's most sincere offering yet. Derek often talks about how kindness is the most important virtue, and his experiences with life and death in the home lead to many heartwarming moments.

"I think most of my other work has been sort of steeped in irony," said Gervais. "I've explored the blind spot with characters. With David Brent (on 'The Office') for example, we were sort of laughing at the blind spot, i.e. the difference between how Brent saw himself and how we saw him.

"Derek, he's sort of wise. He knows the only shortcut you can take is kindness, so I think that's what makes it more sincere. That's what makes it feel more of a drama than a comedy."

Asked about early criticism that the character of Derek was somehow mocking people with learning disabilities, Gervais sighed. He said Derek doesn't have a disability, and more importantly, he's the heart of the show.

"It's ridiculous. They levelled that before they'd seen it. I even had time to write something in to the first episode. That's how premature they were with their assumptions," he said with a laugh.

"I didn't write Derek as autistic or having Down's syndrome or anything like that, but he is meant to be different. We're all different. I don't see that he's disabled in any way. That should be the end of it. It's my character. I invented him. It shouldn't even be in question."

But he added he often hears from families with autistic children or people on the spectrum who say they identify with Derek. "That's lovely," he said.

Gervais, 53, grew up working-class in Reading, England, and both his mother and sister have been care workers. He said the character of Hannah, the home's selfless director, is inspired by the strong women in his family.

"I've always noticed that women characters often in comedy were props for men. They're either sort of humourless and telling the men off ... or if they were slightly ambitious, they were sort of cold and heartless and needed a man with fall in love with.

"That's just not the case in my family. They were lionesses. They were caring and nurturing, but they were lionesses. They would take a baseball bat to you if you hurt their children ... That's always been very important to me, to make women characters as strong as men or as interesting as men."

The second season opens with the surprise departure of downtrodden janitor Dougie, played by Karl Pilkington. A longtime collaborator with Gervais, Pilkington has said that he wasn't confident in his own acting abilities.

Asked whether it was hard to see Pilkington go, Gervais said it made sense to the story.

"Dougie, people like that, they leave. They get fed up. They have a bad day. People come and go. The first series was about beginnings and endings. I wanted Dougie to leave and devastate Derek but his dad to move in that day," he said.

"It started with a phrase. I wanted Derek to say, 'This is my best day ever and my worst day ever.' It all came from that. Again, that's life. You get bad news on Christmas. You get bad news on your birthday. People go, 'Why now?' Because that's life, that's why now."

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Election 2014
Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media