Tonight sees the first showing of Ricky Gervais’s one off comedy drama ‘Derek’ and like everything related to Ricky Gervais, it has already stirred up its fair share of controversy and already has people talking. Gervais himself has already gone on record defending the show from some suggesting it mocks people with learning difficulties.
‘Derek’ tells the story of Derek Noakes (Ricky Gervais), described as a tender, innocent man whose love for his job and others shines through. He adores animals, Rolf Harris, Jesus, Deal or No Deal, Million Pound Drop and Britain’s Got Talent, but his main love is autograph hunting. Along with his mate and landlord Dougie, Derek works in a retirement home caring for the old people whom he describes as kind and funny and tell him stories of the olden days.
The show also features Kerry Godliman and Karl Pilkington in his debut acting role as Dougie.
Gervais’s comedy has always been a hit and miss with me. While I adored ‘The Office’ and parts of ‘Extras’, I was never a fan of ‘Life’s Too Short’, feeling that Gervais was simply recycling old material but with A-List celebrities and Warwick was merely playing a version of Gervais himself. But ‘Derek’ looks to take a completely new direction for the writer/director/actor and something that I am wholly looking forward to. The character himself, first appeared in and Edinburgh show ‘Rubberneckers’ in 2001, a few years before Gervais attained success with ‘The Office’. As said before, the show has already attracted a fair amount of attention, some saying that the show makes light of the mentally handicapped according to the BBC, but Gervais defended the show stating that the character was meant to be sympathetic.
“He’s based on those people you meet who are under the margins of society. Nerds, loners, under achievers…It’s important to have compassion for the characters you are portraying because at some level comedy and drama relies on empathy.”
No doubt that this is one show that will have people talking, but we’ll find out and judge for ourselves later when the show has its premiere on Channel 4 tonight at 10pm.
A must watch. Check it out tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm.