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Derek is a British television comedy-drama written by, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais (Extras, The Office). The pilot was produced by Derek Productions Ltd. for Channel 4 and aired on 12 April 2012. The series became available for streaming on Netflix on 12 September 2013.
Filmed in a mockumentary style, the show is set in a nursing home and centres on a helper at the home, Derek, played by Gervais. The title character is based on one who first appeared in Gervais’ stand-up show “Rubbernecker” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2001. The show portrays the home’s workers and residents as outsiders who struggle in life due to being disadvantaged, excluded from, and unwanted by, mainstream society.
Gervais’ character, Derek, goes beyond his job description to help the residents that he cares for. The character’s quirky, goofy, and often hare-brained personality is tempered by a tender, honest, and brave spirit. Kerry Godliman (Extras) plays his colleague and friend Hannah; she has worked in the home for fifteen years. Karl Pilkington (Extras, An Idiot Abroad) plays Dougie, the home’s caretaker. Derek and Dougie live in Dougie’s council flat. David Earl (Extras) 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.
The majority of the show takes place in the modest nursing home and surrounds the lives of the characters that 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.