Well now, hasn’t this been a controversial topic?
I am a huge Ricky Gervais fan, but I must admit I was sceptical when I heard of his new comedy pilot, Derek. My boyfriend observed that it is hard to imagine Gervais as anyone other than David Brent/Andy Millman, an arrogant, foolish but kind-hearted egoist. Consequently, for the first 5-10 minutes I found it hard to forget that it was Gervais acting, and couldn’t quite empathise with his character.
However, by the time it had finished I was completely overwhelmed, and I had forgotten it was Ricky Gervais. I really suggest you watch it on 4OD.
Being kind is more important than being clever or good looking. I’m not clever or good looking. But I am kind. (Derek)
Derek’s simple and infantile behaviour was really heartwarming, and I often didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… Karl Pilkington was obviously hilarious, although I’m not even sure if he was acting, or Gervais and Stephen Merchant had just pushed him onto the set dressed as a maintenance man, and watched what he did. Kerry Godliman, who played Hannah the carer, was very believable as a character, and her benevolence to Derek was kind without being awfully patronising.
I jolly well hope this won’t just be a pilot, because I think it was excellent. It reminded me of the Sherlock Holmes sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look, which was one of the saddest things I’ve seen in comedy. I was basically waiting and waiting for the punchline the entire time, and then it didn’t come, and I bloody cried all over the place. Jolly good, though.