Derek (TV series)

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Not to be confused with Derrick (TV series).
Derek TV series logo.png
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Ricky Gervais
Written by Ricky Gervais
Directed by Ricky Gervais
Starring Ricky Gervais
Kerry Godliman
David Earl
Karl Pilkington
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 14 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Ricky Gervais
Producer(s) Charlie Hanson
Editor(s) Valerio Bonelli
Cinematography Martin Hawkins
Running time 24 mins[1]
Production company(s) Derek Productions Ltd.
Original channel Channel 4
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original run 12 April 2012 (2012-04-12) – 22 December 2014 (2014-12-22)
External links

Derek is a British television comedy-drama written by, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais.[2] The pilot was produced by Derek Productions Ltd. for Channel 4 and aired on 12 April 2012.[3][4]

On 9 May 2012, Channel 4 announced that it had commissioned a full series, which began airing on 30 January 2013.[5] On 4 March 2013 (two days before the final episode of the first series was aired), it was announced that Derek had been re-commissioned for a second series to be shown once again on Channel 4 and later on Netflix.[6]

The first series became available for streaming on Netflix on 12 September 2013.[7] The second series, consisting of six episodes, started airing on 23 April 2014 on Channel 4 and concluded on 28 May 2014.[8] In November 2014, Channel 4 announced that a 60 minute 'final' special episode of Derek would air in the UK on 22 December 2014.[9]

The series has attracted mixed to positive reviews from critics, and has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award.


The pilot episode aired on 12 April 2012 on Channel 4. Ricky Gervais revealed on his blog, just after the pilot had aired, that he was writing 6 more episodes. Filmed in a mockumentary style, the show stars, and was written and directed by, Ricky Gervais. It is set in a nursing home and centres on a helper at the home, Derek, played by Gervais.[10] The title character first made an appearance in the 2001 Edinburgh Fringe show 'Rubbernecker'.[11]

Derek's quirky, goofy, and often hare-brained personality is tempered by a tender, honest and brave spirit.[citation needed]

The majority of the show takes place in the modest nursing home and surrounds the lives of the characters who hang about the facility, be they caretakers, residents, repairmen or a random, homeless man. During the first series, the programme changed settings to show the characters interacting with outsiders at shops, pubs and even a day trip to the seaside.

Gervais has said that the programme was inspired by his relatives who work in care homes: "Half my family are care workers. My sister works with kids with learning difficulties. My sister-in-law works in a care home for people with Alzheimer's. And four or five of my nieces work in old people's homes. I always write about what I know."[12]


Gervais plays 50-year-old Derek Noakes, a care worker in a home for the elderly who has worked there for three years. He likes watching reality television shows and game shows and is interested in celebrities, fame, YouTube, and above all, talking about animals. The viewer is told he is kind, helpful, and selfless, with good intentions. He is vulnerable because of his childlike naivety and distractions from society. He is ridiculed and ostracised, as well as being marginalised by mainstream society because of his social awkwardness and lack of inhibitions. Derek says it is more important to be kind than to be clever or good-looking. Many media sources describe him as autistic.[13] Gervais has remained carefully ambiguous as to whether Derek is intellectually challenged or autistic.[14]

Supporting characters[edit]

Kerry Godliman plays his colleague and friend Hannah; she has worked in the home for fifteen years. Karl Pilkington plays Dougie, the home's caretaker in series 1 (the character was written out of series 2 following a falling-out between Gervais and Pilkington). Derek and Dougie live in Dougie's council flat. David Earl[15] plays Kev, a friend of Derek, who does not work in the home, but spends nearly all of his time there. Kev's passion in life is collecting autographs from celebrities.


Pilot (2012)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
1 "Pilot" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 12 April 2012 (2012-04-12) 2.59
A bitter-sweet comedy drama. Ricky Gervais is Derek Noakes, a tender, innocent autograph hunter who works in a retirement home with Dougie (Karl Pilkington) and Hannah (Kerry Godliman).

Series 1 (2013)[edit]

No. No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
2 1 "Episode 1" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 30 January 2013 (2013-01-30) 2.32
A visit from the council sees Broad Hill retirement home facing closure. Hannah, the home's manager, rallies together her troops, best mates Derek, Dougie and Kev.
3 2 "Episode 2" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 6 February 2013 (2013-02-06) 1.98
It's Derek's 50th birthday; what better way to celebrate than with a party at Broad Hill retirement home?
4 3 "Episode 3" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 13 February 2013 (2013-02-13) 1.79
Derek is desperate to save the life of a baby bird that has fallen from a tree. Some of the residents attend a jumble sale and later it's date night for Tom and Hannah, but she's forgotten.
5 4 "Episode 4" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 20 February 2013 (2013-02-20) 1.43
Derek decides to sell some of his autographs in order to raise money for the retirement home. But it doesn't go too well when he can't remember who the autographs belong to.
6 5 "Episode 5" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 27 February 2013 (2013-02-27) 1.66
Derek forms an entertainment committee to discuss plans for a cabaret show at Broad Hill. Kev wants to produce a play of his Duran Duran film script, casting staff and residents as the band.
7 6 "Episode 6" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 6 March 2013 (2013-03-06) 1.52
In the final episode of the first series, a much-loved resident is in decline, which sets in motion a sequence of events culminating in the appearance of an unexpected specter. Meanwhile, Derek finds a door where there should be no doors ...

Series 2 (2014)[edit]

No. No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
8 1 "Episode 1" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 23 April 2014 (2014-04-23) 2.29

All the old Broad Hill faces are back, alongside some new ones. Derek's happy that his dad's moving in, while Tom and Hannah are taking things to another level. Karl Pilkington has had enough.

Note: Karl Pilkington's last episode.
9 2 "Episode 2" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 30 April 2014 (2014-04-30) 1.81
There are job opportunities at Broad Hill so Kev decides to clean up his act. Vicky's taste in men worries Hannah, while a visit from city boy Pete stirs things up for Derek.
10 3 "Episode 3" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 7 May 2014 (2014-05-07) 1.69
Hannah and Tom have happy news, and Derek's dad Anthony goes on a date with Tom's nan. But matters of the heart are taking a downward turn for Kev who calls on his brother Cliff for help.
11 4 "Episode 4" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 14 May 2014 (2014-05-14) 1.24
Derek and the Broad Hill gang go on a trip to London Zoo. It's Derek's bestests dasy ever, meeting giraffes, penguins, aardvarks, and in Vicky's case, the man of her dreams.
12 5 "Episode 5" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 21 May 2014 (2014-05-21) 1.48
The Medway animal rescue centre comes to visit, and for Derek that means playing with Igor. Meanwhile, Kev has suddenly taken up an interest in sculpture.
13 6 "Episode 6" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 28 May 2014 (2014-05-28) 1.19
Derek goes on a date with a girl from a dating website. He's excited but worried about his dad's health. True to form Geoff nearly ruins things for Derek, and Kev fails to stand up to him.

The Special (2014)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
14 "The Special" Ricky Gervais Ricky Gervais 22 December 2014 (2014-12-22) TBA
As Broadhill prepares for the wedding of the year, Kev's behaviour proves too much for Hannah. But as Derek always says: "Sometimes it is crumble what is hot".
  • This episode was a 60 minute special and was shown in a 10pm slot.



Derek has been met with negative to positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the first season holds a rating of 65%, with the consensus reading: "Derek is as irreverent as might be expected from a show starring Ricky Gervais, but this time he brings a surprising amount of depth and empathy to the title character".[17] On Metacritic, the first season of the show earned a rating of 64 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18]

The show attracted controversy, most of it before it was aired, due to a perception by some that it mocks mentally disabled people.[19] Tanya Gold, writing for The Guardian, dismissed Gervais's claims that in Derek he was satirising prejudice against the disabled, instead saying it "feels more like lazy cruelty than satire".[13] Jack Seale addressed this in his review for the Radio Times, noting that Derek "is uncynically presented as a hero who is, in Gervais's words, 'better than us' because he lacks ego and guile and merely wants to be nice. Those seeking to take offence at Gervais's portrayal of Derek will have to look hard".[1] Seale went on to criticise the show for relying too heavily on elements and characterisations from previous programmes made by Gervais, but also praised the emotional final scene as "truly superb work from Gervais as actor, writer and director" and Kerry Godliman's performance, stating that "every moment she's on screen is sigh-inducing magic."[1] The Guardian '​s Sam Wollaston also found the show uncontroversial, but was less positive on the show as a whole, finding it just "not very good" and feeling that "the whole mockumentary thing feels tired now".[20] Caroline Frost of The Huffington Post was more positive, stating that, although flawed, she thinks it rewards viewers with "some top-notch performances and an important social discussion, lightly but movingly told."[21] Tom Sutcliffe of the Independent questioned the wisdom of commissioning an entire series of the show, writing: "To my mind, the pilot of Ricky Gervais's comedy about an assistant in a retirement home had already fully explored its awkward – and testing – balance of comedy and emotion." About the titular character, he wrote "It’s Derek’s redeeming qualities that are the hardest to take – a sense of self-congratulation at the refinement of its own sentiments that has a little bit of the bully in it too."[22]

Gervais performance as 'Derek' has attracted mixed reviews. Curt Wagner of RedEye praised Gervais performance, writing: "He surprises with some tender, quiet acting and obvious love of the character."[23] Liz Raftery from TV Guide also praised Gervais performance saying: "Gervais can still get a laugh with just the slightest look at the camera, David Brent-style, but Derek's sadder scenes are where he really shines".[24] Guardian writer Sam Wollaston complained "Ricky Gervais is out of his depth playing a character that isn't based on his own worst foibles." [25] Terry Ramsey of The Telegraph added "There is Gervais’s cringe-making performance in the title role. I’m sorry, but Derek is simply Ricky Gervais in a patterned jumper with a cricked neck. Gervais is not a character actor and what Derek needs to bring him alive is to be more believable. What he really needs is someone else playing him." [26] Christopher Stevens of The Daily Mail claimed "He [Gervais] slips in and out of character: sometimes he’s the gentle, stuttering carer, and at others he’s just Ricky Gervais in an acrylic cardigan, with a glint in his eye and a sarcastic quip on his lips." [27]

The second series of 'Derek' attracted positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds an approval rating of 71%.[28] Greg David of The Loop praised the show, and called it "Settling back into Derek after so much time away was like pulling on one of Derek's brightly-coloured sweaters: it's warm and comfortable and you never want to take it off again." [29] Hank Stuever of The Washington Post also praised the show, writing: "Derek is a poignant and funny character sketch.".[30]

On the other hand, "We didn't need a second series of Ricky Gervais's comedy drama Derek." says Terry Ramsey of The Telegraph.[31] In a scathing review from The Guardian, Sam Wollasen said "That's the other big problem with Derek. That it's not very smart. Or very funny. Or very good." [32] stated "Ricky Gervais' Derek remains a mawkish mess. Where to begin? The mockumentary format is moribund. The ethics are muddy. The tone is all over the place in everything but its consistent condescension."[33] Matt D of agreed with the consensus claiming "The primary reasons for this are the imbalance in tone and Gervais’ central performance both of which stop Derek from being a truly enjoyable programme." [34] AV Club summed it up as thus: "Derek has all the creative ambition of [an online video of little piggies and bunnies doing cute things].".[35] Indie Wire stated that "Season two is all over the map."[36] Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle has said: "If I watch something like Derek, I don't think 'this is...terrible', I think 'Stephen Merchant is amazingly funny'.[37][38] Michael Hogan of The Telegraph described Derek as a "saccharine series" and "dreadful".[39] Serena Davies, from the same publication, went as far as to claim that "the show seems to have been devised by someone of Derek’s limited intelligence... [I will not be] wasting any more of my time watching this rather flimsy, curiously pointless programme" [39] The Daily Mail described Derek as "an unfunny sitcom" and "the most rancid dollop of insincere gloop ever served up on telly".[40]

Ricky Gervais was nominated for The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.[41]

The Special was given two stars out of five by The Telegraph. Ed Power, the reviewer, criticised the episode for the "weak performance" from Ricky Gervais and the "sub-Forrest Gump sympathy milking". He described it as "glib" and "manipulative".[42] The Guardian reviewer Julia Raeside concurred, adding "I can find no comedy in it and it lacks the emotional truth required for a drama".[43]

DVD releases[edit]

The complete first series of Derek was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 11 November 2013.[44] The complete second series of Derek was released on DVD on 17 November 2014.[45] Additionally, a 2 disc boxset containing both the first and second series on DVD was also released on 17 November 2014.[46]


  1. ^ a b c Seale, Jack (28 March 2012). "Ricky Gervais in Derek - review". Radio Times. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Channel 4 launches Ricky Gervais’s Derek | News | Comedy Central UK and Ireland". 3 April 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Derek - C4 Comedy Drama - British Comedy Guide". Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  4. ^ company check ltd. "Free company financial check on DEREK PRODUCTIONS LIMITED. Registered number 07453009. Free company accounts. Companies House information". Company Check. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "commissions series of Derek by Ricky Gervais - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel 4. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Alice Vincent (4 March 2013). "Ricky Gervais comedy Derek re-commissioned for second series by Channel Four". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Strecker, Erin (22 May 2013). "Ricky Gervais series 'Derek' gets Netflix premiere date". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Hodgson, Claire (27 March 2014). "Ricky Gervais’ heartwarming comedy drama Derek returns to Channel 4 for its second series this April". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Holly Thomas (5 April 2012). "'Who'd win between a suicide bomber and a shark?'". London: Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Ricky Gervais interview for Derek". Channel 4. 
  13. ^ a b Tanya Gold (9 February 2012). "No justification for this lazy comedy". London: Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b c "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Retrieved 16 February 2013.  (No permanent link available. Search for relevant dates.)
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ BBC (9 April 2012). "Ricky Gervais defends comedy show Derek". Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  20. ^ Sam Wollaston (12 April 2012). "TV review: Derek; Long Lost Family | Television & radio". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Sutcliffe, Tom (31 January 2013). "TV review: Ricky Gervais' self-congratulating new show Derek, Channel 4". The Independent (London). 
  23. ^ Wagner, Curt. "'Derek' review: Ricky Gervais finds his inner nice guy". Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  24. ^ Raftery, Liz. "6 Reasons You Should Be Watching Ricky Gervais' Netflix Series Derek". Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Ramsey, Terry (23 April 2014). "Derek, series 2, episode 1, review: 'more mawkish than ever'". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  27. ^ Stevens, Christopher (24 April 2014). "Comedy great? Gervais is just a sniggering playground bully: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV". Daily Mail (London). 
  28. ^
  29. ^ David, Greg. "Derek Review". Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  30. ^ Stuever, Hank. "Netflix’s ‘Derek’ returns, handled with tender, loving care". Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  31. ^
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  37. ^ "
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  39. ^ a b
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External links[edit]