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C4 takes Gervais’s Derek to series

The UK’s Channel 4 (C4) is moving Ricky Gervais comedy Derek to series, despite the pilot episode attracting criticism for its portrayal of the mentally handicapped.


Derek, from Gervais’ Derek Productions, is moving ahead with a 6×30′ series which will air in early 2013.

The comedy focuses on the lives of outsiders, including central character Derek Noakes, played by Gervais, who works in a retirement home and collects autographs.

The pilot episode aired earlier this year to a consolidated audience of 3.2 million but attracted criticism from some, including Gervais’ fellow comedian Stewart Lee and parents of autistic children, who said it mocked the mentally handicapped.

Gervais has staunchly defended the show, saying: “Derek is a fictional character and is defined by his creator, me. If I say I don’t mean him to be disabled then that’s it. A fictional doctor can’t come along and prove me wrong.”

Shane Allen, C4 head of comedy, said: “A kind-hearted character in a world which TV normally shies away from, it feels like a perfect new direction for Ricky.

“The pilot triggered an amazing response and Derek’s story had only just begun so it’s brilliant that we can explore this world and its beautifully drawn characters across a series.”


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