Comedian Ricky Gervais has told the Sun’s TV Biz that he believes Britain, as a nation, focuses too much on young people and ignores the elderly.
Ricky, who plays the role of a man who befriends the elderly residents of a retirement home in Channel 4 comedy drama ‘Derek’ said, “No one cares about old people in this country.
“There is a sort of army of youth, but getting old is the one thing that will happen to everyone.”
Of the show – in which Ricky plays the title role – he added, “I do like getting close to real emotion — I have never been scared of that.
“People assume my work is cynical and outrageous and it’s never been. I’ve always liked realism. I have always found it interesting because there is nothing better than real life.
“I like getting close to real emotions. It’s just that people don’t quite expect it if they’ve been having a laugh.
“This show is all about kindness and forgotten people on the periphery of society…
“Derek’s lovely and kind. Whatever he thinks and does is the nice way to go.
“He knows what he likes and does everything with passion and honesty.”
However, some critics have hit out at Ricky over Derek, claiming that he seems to have “a degree of learning difficulty” and that Ricky is therefore mocking him.
But in response to those claims, Ricky said, “I’ve never thought of him as disabled. He’s not that bright but neither are Kev (David Earl’s character in the show) or Karl’s character Dougie.
“He’s cleverer than Baldrick and Father Dougal and he certainly hasn’t got as big a problem as Mr f***ing Bean.
“When portraying someone with disabilities I usually get someone with that disability to play them.”
And of course, there was also criticism of Ricky’s use of the word “mong” in a Twitter post. Of that he said, “I never used ‘mong’ to mean Down’s Syndrome, but I was told it was still used and I said I won’t use it again.
“I would be confused if I didn’t get attacked. Every week it’s been the end of my career — for the last 20 years!
“I started with a backlash. The first reviews for The Office were awful. But what can you do?
“If I started making it for reviewers or awards or the public you don’t get anywhere.
“I don’t make it for the public, I make it for me.”
Derek debuts on Channel 4 on April 12 at 10pm.