Derek really captures the heart. The show is humorous, sensitively portraying the lives of the elderly, but also very downbeat in the way it represents their struggle to fit into society.
Gervais both writes and stars again in the second series, but this time without the help of the genius that is Karl Pilkington, who played the janitor in the home, Dougie. Pilkington appears in the first episode, but Gervais has revealed he left as he didn’t want a bigger role. Other actors include David Earl (Kev) who becomes closer to Derek in the second series and still retains his sexual humour. The final main character is the loveable Hannah, played by Kerry Godliman, who has the role of the carer in the home, and enjoys a close relationship with the elderly and Derek in particular.
The first series ended leaving the audience in floods of tears as Derek finally got into contact with his father; this time around his dad comes into the home and spends more time with Derek. The
second series starts slowly as we are reminded of Derek’s story, but as the episodes go on, the emotion comes more frequently as well as the loveable humour. Gervais has had to fend off criticism that he was openly mocking the elderly with Derek, which in context is completely ludicrous. He also has received criticism that he has done relatively nothing of interest since The Office, and that Derek is no improvement.
Derek has a 65% rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes, where it is described as ‘irrelevant’ despite the admission that Gervais brings an enormous amount of depth and empathy to the title character. Gervais has openly said that Derek was inspired by relatives he knew who were in care homes. He has been very brave in his approach with Derek, but it has paid off with a wonderful heart-warming comedy.