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by Alison Willmore
September 20, 2012 10:50 AM
3 Comments
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Netflix Acquires Ricky Gervais' Already Controversial New Series 'Derek'

Ricky Gervais wrote, directed and stars in 'Derek' Netflix

Derek, the title character played by Ricky Gervais in "The Office" creator's newest series, is a 49-year-old man who works in a home for the elderly, hunts autographs in his spare time with his friend Kev (David Earl) and is naive, simple and possibly mentally disabled. When the pilot for the dramedy aired in the UK on April 12th of this year, some accused the show of making fun of disabled people, leading Gervais to defend his work by saying of the character that he "never considered him disabled" but instead thought of him as a "funny little nerd."

He's cleverer than Father Dougal in Father Ted. He's not as weird as Mr Bean, he's more aware than Baldrick... It's crazy, just make your own minds up. He's got a little hobby on the margins of society, they are a little bit different which I have liked to celebrate. I never shy away from that.

"Derek" was commissed for six more episodes to air in Britain in early 2013, while in the US it looks like the series will premiere on what's becoming a home for things judged too difficult for network broadcast -- Netflix. The New York Times reports that streaming site has picked up the rights to “Derek" and will be offering it sometime next year after its run on Channel 4 in Britain.

According to Gervais' in the Netflix announcement:

Netflix is the future. TV habits have already changed drastically over the last 10 years and this is the next phase. People want their favorite shows on demand whether they are homegrown or not. As an artist you want the fruits of your labor to be seen by the largest number of people possible without having to compromise the product. This deal gave me the freedom and the huge potential viewers of the Internet but the production values of film and TV. They also made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Come on, an artist gotta eat man.

Gervais is no stranger to uncomfortable comedy -- "The Office," "Extras," "The Ricky Gervais Show" and "Life's Too Short" have all been varying degrees of squirm-inducing, and "Derek" looks primed to offer more of the same, though Gervais does insist the series is about "kindness." Karl Pilkington, Gervais' guest-host/eternal victim on "The Ricky Gervais Show" and "An Idiot Abroad," makes his acting debut in the new series.

Take a look at a promo for "Derek" from Channel 4 below.

3 Comments

  • john | February 21, 2014 5:23 AMReply

    Funny to read these comments now. Look what has happened to Netflix. I guess we are now in the future. Their library rocks! Unfortunately in 12 people were very upset with them, but their stock has taken off like a rocket ship and their streaming is number one in that industry. Ricky was right

  • james | September 30, 2012 1:54 PMReply

    With all due respect Mr. Gervais, I hardly think of Netflix as "The Future" of TV watching. I had Netflix for a while, and if it wasn't enough that their streaming library was always too limited, they kept changing the prices on us too! I have DISH now, and while we don't have this one, single show, we DO have the Blockbuster @ Home movie package. I am having a much better time getting streaming titles with BB @ Home, and a DISH coworker also told me it works perfectly with the free DISH Remote Access app. I can take these titles with me on the road, and with over 100,000 movies, games and shows, and a stable, inexpensive price, DISH is the only way to go for me and my family!

  • Arfive11 | March 1, 2013 7:15 PM

    You weren't reading between the lines, he said "Netflix is the future", then a bunch of other stuff, then "[Netflix] also made me an offer I couldn’t refuse." It was a straight-up, shameless paid endorsement! But whether you go DISH (which I've never heard of in Canada, or Netflix, or whatever, the point is that the standard cable TV vehicle format is obsolete and sucks for the artist, the audience, and probably also for the networks/advertisers. Cable companies in my area keep offering me basic HD packages for free and without contractual obligation, and I still keep saying no... because I wouldn't pay a penny for cable TV. GO RICKY !!!! GO NETFLIX !!!!