Derek (TV series)

Derek is a British comedy-drama television series starring, written and directed by Ricky Gervais.[2] The pilot was produced by Derek Productions Ltd. for Channel 4 and aired on 12 April 2012.[3][4] Channel 4 describes the show as "A bittersweet comedy drama about a group of outsiders living on society's margins."[5]

Derek TV series logo.png
Created byRicky Gervais
Written byRicky Gervais
Directed byRicky Gervais
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes14 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Ricky Gervais
Producer(s)Charlie Hanson
CinematographyMartin Hawkins
Editor(s)Valerio Bonelli
Running time24 mins[1]
Production company(s)Derek Productions Ltd.
DistributorPassion Distribution
Original networkChannel 4
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release12 April 2012 (2012-04-12) –
22 December 2014 (2014-12-22)
External links

On 9 May 2012, Channel 4 announced they commissioned a full series, which began airing on 30 January 2013.[6] On 4 March 2013 (two days before the final episode of the first series was aired), they announced Derek was recommissioned for a second series to be shown again on Channel 4 and later on Netflix.[7]

The first series became available for streaming on Netflix on 12 September 2013.[8] The second season, consisting of six episodes, started airing on 23 April 2014 on Channel 4 and concluded on 28 May 2014.[9] In November 2014, Channel 4 announced that a 60-minute "final" special episode of Derek would air in the United Kingdom on 22 December 2014.[10]

The show has mixed reviews from critics.

Genesis and pilotEdit

The pilot episode aired on 12 April 2012 on Channel 4. Filmed in a mockumentary style, the programming is set mostly in a nursing home, and centres on Derek, a helper at the home. The title character made his first appearance in the 2001 Edinburgh Fringe show Rubbernecker,[11], and appears briefly in his Science tour of 2010. In this show, Gervais bemoans the harassment he suffers at the hands of autograph-hunters, adopting a 'Derek-like' persona before denouncing 'them' as genetically inferior and 'a gaggle of mongs'.[12]

Gervais says the programming 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."[13]


Gervais plays 50-year-old Derek Noakes, a care worker at Broad Hill, a home for the elderly; he worked there for three years. He likes watching reality television shows and game shows, and is interested in celebrities, 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 marginalised by mainstream society because of his social awkwardness and lack of inhibition. Derek says it is more important to be kind than to be clever or good-looking. Many media sources describe him as autistic, although Gervais firmly denies this.[14] Gervais, in fact, remains carefully ambiguous as to whether Derek is intellectually-challenged, autistic, or otherwise.[15]


Supporting charactersEdit

Kerry Godliman plays Hannah, the care home's manager and Derek's friend. Karl Pilkington plays Dougie, the home's caretaker; Derek and Dougie live in Dougie's council flat. David Earl plays Kev, a slobbish and sex-crazed friend of Derek who does not work but spends much of his time there.


Series Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
Pilot 1 12 April 2012 (2012-04-12)
1 6 30 January 2013 (2013-01-30) 6 March 2013 (2013-03-06)
2 6 23 April 2014 (2014-04-23) 28 May 2014 (2014-05-28)
Special 1 22 December 2014 (2014-12-22)

Pilot (2012)Edit

Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
1"Pilot"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais12 April 2012 (2012-04-12)2.59[17]

Ricky Gervais is Derek Noakes, a middle-aged man who is a care assistant in a retirement home. His friends, caretaker Dougie (Karl Pilkington) and manager Hannah (Kerry Godliman), also work there. Hannah has been working there for 15 years. Unemployed Kev spends a lot of time in the home. Derek moved in with Dougie when Derek's mother died. A handsome young man, Tom, visits his grandmother Annie in the home frequently.

A film crew arrives, which Derek suspects is from Secret Millionaire. He shows his favorite YouTube video, Hamster on a Piano. Hannah is attracted to Tom. She assumes all good men are married or homosexual. She wants to find out his sexual orientation without him knowing she wants to know. She reasons she can work out his orientation if she knows his favorite films and television shows. Derek asks Tom on her behalf, but he gives away the reason he is asking. Tom pretends he is homosexual by saying he is a fan of Glee, The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Audrey Hepburn. Tom says to Hannah he was joking, and he is single and hetrosexual. An awkward conversation ensues between Hannah and Tom, in which she pretends it was Derek who wanted to know his orientation. Hannah and Derek go to a pub, where three female chavs insult Derek. Hannah headbutts one of them, before she and Derek leave. Joan, Derek's favorite resident at the home, dies. Tom takes Hannah to the pub; Derek tags along without invitation.

Series 1 (2013)Edit

Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
2"Episode 1"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais30 January 2013 (2013-01-30)2.32
A visit from a council official, Roger, sees Broad Hill retirement home facing a major cut in funding... or closure. Hannah, the home's manager, is determined to keep it open. He says the home is spending too much on staff, then tries to justify making some staff redundant. The staff tell Kev to leave because his presence is a liability with Roger there. He is not satisfied with Jack of all trades Dougie employed there because he does not do enough work to justify full-time employment, and is not qualified. She rallies best mates Derek, Dougie, and Kev. They start a petition to keep the home open, and go to Hampstead High Street to gain signatures. Staff from the local animal shelter bring in several animals for a few hours as pet therapy for the residents. Roger asks Hannah if Derek is autistic. She avoids answering, and Derek says he does not know and it does not matter. Dougie tells Roger to leave, which he does. The staff and residents are very pleased with Dougie.
3"Episode 2"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais6 February 2013 (2013-02-06)1.98

It is Derek's 50th birthday. Dougie says he is a decade younger. Derek celebrates with a party at Broad Hill, specifying the music and food he wants. Dougie takes Kev and some of the residents in a minibus to the local library. The party takes place that night, during which Hannah brings Derek a birthday cake with 50 candles on it. Derek feels nauseated after drinking Special Brew given to him by Kev.

Derek and Hannah show Vicky around, a girl doing community service after her conviction for stealing shoes from the shop she worked in. Vicky initially dislikes the home, but with Hannah's encouragement, begins to like it. Vicky decides to come back next week as a volunteer.
4"Episode 3"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais13 February 2013 (2013-02-13)1.79

Kev brings a morbidly obese, ugly, middle-aged woman into the home. He boasts about how much sex they have.

In the home's garden, Derek licks a toad after Kev suggests it. Derek wants to save the life of a baby bird fallen from a tree. He phones 999 for an ambulance. One of the paramedics tells him it is dead.

Some of the residents attend a jumble sale. Dougie is annoyed with Derek for buying an ugly ornament which they took to the jumble sale to get rid of.

It is date night for Tom and Hannah. Marge, a dying resident, suggests to Tom he marry Hannah. She gives her engagement ring to him to give to Hannah. After Marge's death, her obnoxious daughter Shelley (who was to inherit the ring) arrives, and takes the ring from Tom. Dougie angrily ejects her.
5"Episode 4"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais20 February 2013 (2013-02-20)1.43

Derek and Kev try to sell some of their autographs to raise money for the home. They are unable to, because Derek cannot remember who the autographs were signed by... and Kev's are all on pictures which prominently include him.

Hannah's rich, narcissistic, friendless former classmate Rebecca brings her mother Jill into the home to become a new resident. Rebecca boasts about her success before leaving.

Dougie drives Derek, Kev, and several of the residents to Broadstairs for a day trip. During the journey, Derek asks Dougie several stupid questions. On the beach, Kev writes crude sexual words on the shells of live crabs using a silver marker pen.[18]
6"Episode 5"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais27 February 2013 (2013-02-27)1.66
Derek forms an entertainment committee to plan a cabaret show at Broad Hill. Kev tries to produce Boys on Film, a play of his Duran Duran film script - casting himself, staff, and residents as the band. Kev and Derek tell jokes. Deon, on a community service after his conviction for stealing shoes from a shop, performs 'rap music' about working at the home.
7"Episode 6"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais6 March 2013 (2013-03-06)1.52

Derek watches a video of a baby monkey riding on a pig.

Hannah tells Derek his father, Anthony, phoned the home and wants to see him. Derek has not seen him since he walked out when he was a child, and he refuses to see Anthony.

Much-loved resident Lizzie dies, and her funeral is attended by many of the residents and staff. Anthony turns up, and approaches Derek. Derek initially rejects Anthony, but, minutes later, changes his mind, and they go to the home together, where he introduces Anthony to the residents and staff.

Series 2 (2014)Edit

Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
8"Episode 1"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais23 April 2014 (2014-04-23)2.29

Most of the old Broad Hill faces are back, alongside a few new one players. Vicky is a permanent member of staff as the home's unofficial beautician. New member of staff Geoff claims there are camps in which humanzees are kept.

Derek is happy Antony is moving in. He tells Derek about his travels to many countries.

Tom and Hannah are trying to conceive, which Derek tells the other staff and residents about.

After called to remove a large spider from the toilet, annoyed by Geoff, and electrocuted by an electric heater he wired incorrectly, Dougie quits.

Last appearance of Dougie[19]
9"Episode 2"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais30 April 2014 (2014-04-30)1.81

Derek talks about Hannah and Tom's sex life in front of everyone at the home while keeping a written record of it. Kev asks Hannah if she will have casual sex with him.

Interviews are conducted at Broad Hill by Hannah and a colleague for the caretaker position vacated by Dougie, who is moving to Manchester. Kev decides to clean-up his act, and goes to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. He is one of the interviewees, but is not selected because he is unappealing and dysfunctional. He resumes drinking alcohol, days after he stopped.

Pete, a successful financier who is the grandson of resident Jack, brings his caravan to Broad Hill's car park, and donates it to Derek and Kev to live in.
10"Episode 3"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais7 May 2014 (2014-05-07)1.69
Hannah and Tom have happy news. Derek's dad, Anthony, goes on a date with Tom's nan. Matters of the heart are taking a downward turn for Kev, who calls on his brother, Cliff, for help.
11"Episode 4"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais14 May 2014 (2014-05-14)1.24
Derek and the Broad Hill gang go on a trip to London Zoo. Hannah suffers a painful loss.
12"Episode 5"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais21 May 2014 (2014-05-21)1.48
The staff from Medway Animal Rescue Centre comes to visit, and, for Derek, this means playing with Ivor. Tom is torn between his love of the Merchant Navy and his commitment to Hannah, Derek, Kev, and the elderly. Kev has an interest in outsider art.
13"Episode 6"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais28 May 2014 (2014-05-28)1.19
Derek goes on a date with a girl from a dating website. They bond over their mutual love of burping. He's excited but worried about his dad's health. Kev teaches Derek to ride a bike, and Geoff goes too far.

Special (2014)Edit

Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
14"Derek: The Special"Ricky GervaisRicky Gervais22 December 2014 (2014-12-22)0.85[20]
In a 60-minute series finale, filmed at West London Film Studios, Broad Hill prepares for the Hannah and Tom's wedding. A vicar visits the home, but his close-mindedness proves no match for the simple wisdom of Derek. Kev's behaviour proves too much for Hannah. The residents of Broad Hill finally come together in celebration of Hannah and Tom's union as Derek sings an inane song about pudding.


Derek received mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes the first season holds a rating of 65.[21] On Metacritic, the first season of the show earned a rating of 64 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[22]

The show generated occasional controversy due to a perception by some viewers it mocks mentally-disabled people.[23] Tanya Gold, writing for The Guardian, dismissed Gervais's claims in Derek, he was satirising prejudice against the disabled, instead saying it "feels more like lazy cruelty than satire".[14] Jack Seale criticised the show for relying on elements and characterisations from other programming by Gervais.[1] The Guardian's Sam Wollaston found it to be "not very good", and says "the whole mockumentary thing feels tired now".[24][25]

Tom Sutcliffe of The Independent questioned the wisdom of commissioning the programming: "To my mind, the pilot of Ricky Gervais's comedy about an assistant in a retirement home already fully explored its awkward – and testing – balance of comedy and emotion." About the titular character, he wrote "Derek's redeeming qualities are the hardest to take – a sense of self-congratulation at the refinement of its sentiments that has a little bit of the bully in it, too."[26]

Gervais' performance as Derek received mixed reviews. Diane Werts of Newsday reacted positively, saying "Gervais nailed it".[27] Curt Wagner of Red Eye says Gervais "surprises with some tender, quiet acting, and obvious love of the character.[28] Rob Owen of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says "although there could be an ick factor to Mr. Gervais playing a character with developmental issues, that turns out not to be the case. Mr. Gervais creates a character, not a caricature."[29] On the other hand, The Guardian's Sam Wollaston says "Ricky Gervais is out of his depth playing a character that isn't based on his worst foibles."[30] Terry Ramsey of The Telegraph says "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?"[31]

The second series of Derek generated many more positive reviews. The second series currently holds a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes.[32] Hank Stuever of The Washington Post reacted positively, saying "Derek is an honest and often charming endeavor."[33] Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly also praised the show, but says the absence of Karl Pilkington hurt the series, saying: "The second season mostly upholds the first's tricky precedent, but the absence of regular Gervais associate Karl Pilkington means the yuks are a bit less hearty." Terry Ramsey of The Telegraph wrote,"We didn't need a second series of Ricky Gervais's comedy drama Derek."[34] In a review in The Guardian, Sam Wollaston says "That's the other big problem with's not very smart. Or very funny. Or very good."[35] says "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."[36] Matt D of agrees, saying "The primary reasons for this are the imbalance in tone and Gervais' central performance both of which stop Derek from a truly enjoyable program."[37] AV Club says "Derek has all the creative ambition of [an online video of little piggies and bunnies doing cute things]."[38] Indie Wire says "Season two is all over the map."[39] Michael Hogan of The Telegraph says Derek is a "saccharine series" and "dreadful".[40] Serena Davies, from the same publication, says "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 program."[40]

The special was given two stars out of five by The Telegraph. The reviewer, Ed Power, criticised the episode for the "weak performance" from Gervais and the "sub-Forrest Gump sympathy milking". He described it as "glib" and "manipulative".[41] The Guardian reviewer Julia Raeside concurred, adding "I can find no comedy in it, and it lacks the emotional truth required for a drama."[42]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2014 Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Ricky Gervais Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Ricky Gervais Nominated
2015 Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Ricky Gervais Nominated

DVD releasesEdit

The complete first series of Derek was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 11 November 2013.[43] The complete second series of Derek was released on DVD on 17 November 2014.[44] A two-disc set containing the first and second seasons on DVD was also released on 17 November 2014.[45] Derek: The Special was released on DVD on 26 October 2015. A complete collection set was released featuring series and the special.


  1. ^ a b 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. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Derek - C4 Comedy Drama - British Comedy Guide". Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Free company financial check on DEREK PRODUCTIONS LIMITED. Registered number 07453009. Free company accounts. Companies House information". Company Check. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Derek - All 4". 12 April 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  6. ^ "commissions series of Derek by Ricky Gervais - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel 4. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  7. ^ Alice Vincent (4 March 2013). "Ricky Gervais comedy Derek re-commissioned for second series by Channel Four". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  8. ^ Strecker, Erin (22 May 2013). "Ricky Gervais series 'Derek' gets Netflix premiere date". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Eames, Tom (18 November 2014). "Ricky Gervais's Derek to air final episode in December". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Rubbernecker". The Scotsman. 24 August 2001. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Ricky Gervais | Science | Autograph Hunters". YouTube. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Ricky Gervais interview for Derek". Channel 4.
  14. ^ a b Tanya Gold (9 February 2012). "No justification for this lazy comedy". London: Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  15. ^ Dowell, Ben (4 December 2014). "Ricky Gervais explains why he loves Derek Noakes more than any other character he has created". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Margaret Towner, veteran actress who appeared in Star Wars franchise – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  17. ^ a b c "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Retrieved 16 February 2013. (No permanent link available. Search for relevant dates.)
  18. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Derek Article".
  19. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (20 April 2014). "Ricky Gervais on Karl Pilkington Derek exit: He was too nervous to act". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  20. ^ Plunkett, John (23 December 2014). "The Wrong Mans is back with 2m viewers while Derek bids farewell". The Guardian.
  21. ^ "DEREK: SEASON 1 (2013)". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  22. ^ "Derek - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  23. ^ BBC (9 April 2012). "Ricky Gervais defends comedy show Derek". Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  24. ^ Sam Wollaston (12 April 2012). "TV review: Derek; Long Lost Family | Television & radio". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  25. ^ "TV REVIEW: 'Ricky Gervais' In 'Derek' - Karl Pilkington In A Wig Made For A Compassionate Tale, Lightly Told". The Huffington Post. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  26. ^ Sutcliffe, Tom (31 January 2013). "TV review: Ricky Gervais' self-congratulating new show Derek, Channel 4". The Independent. London.
  27. ^ Werts, Diane. "'Derek' review: Ricky Gervais nails it". Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  28. ^ Wagner, Curt. "'Derek' review: Ricky Gervais finds his inner nice guy". Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  29. ^ Owen, Rob. "TV Review: Ricky Gervais mixes humor, pathos in new series 'Derek'". Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  30. ^ Wollaston, Sam (24 April 2014). "Derek; Game Face – TV review". The Guardian.
  31. ^ Ramsey, Terry (23 April 2014). "Derek, series 2, episode 1, review: 'more mawkish than ever'". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  32. ^ "Derek Season 2 Reviews". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  33. ^ Stuever, Hank. "Netflix's 'Derek' returns, handled with tender, loving care". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  34. ^ Ramsey, Terry (23 April 2014). "Derek, series 2, episode 1, review: 'more mawkish than ever'". Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  35. ^ Wollaston, Sam (24 April 2014). "Derek; Game Face – TV review". The Guardian.
  36. ^ "TV | What to watch on TV tonight, latest news and clips | MSN UK". 1 February 2017. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  37. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ Dyess, Phil. "Derek · Season 2 · TV Review Derek proves, again, Ricky Gervais' nice side is not his best side · TV Review · The A.V. Club". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  39. ^ Ben Travers (12 May 2016). "Review: Ricky Gervais' Netflix Dramedy Returns with Less 'Derek' and More Sex Jokes". IndieWire. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  40. ^ a b Hogan, Michael (11 January 2015). "Does Ricky Gervais deserve a Golden Globe for Derek?". Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  41. ^ Power, Ed (22 December 2014). "Derek, review, final episode: 'glib and manipulative'". Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  42. ^ Raeside, Julia (23 December 2014). "The Wrong Mans review – audacious and ambitious, it got everything right". The Guardian.
  43. ^ "Derek - Series 1". Amazon. 11 November 2013.
  44. ^ "Derek - Series 2". Amazon. 17 November 2014.
  45. ^ "Derek - Series 1-2". Amazon. 17 November 2014.

External linksEdit