Ricky Gervais says Twitter helped him write Derek!

by Anna Howell

British comic legend, Ricky Gervais, has revealed that being a Twitter addict helped him write the new series of Derek!

Gervais plays 49 year old Derek Noakes, a care worker in a home for the elderly, who likes watching reality television shows and game shows and is interested in celebrities, fame and YouTube.

He is a kind, helpful, selfless man with good intentions, but is vulnerable because of his childlike naiveté and lack of intelligence. He is ridiculed and ostracised, as well as being marginalised by mainstream society because of his social awkwardness, unattractiveness and lack of inhibitions, with many media sources describing him as autistic.

The pilot for the show first aired on 12 April 2012, with a full series being then commissioned and due to air on our Channel 4 screens on the 30th January 2013.

With the show due for public release later this month, Gervais has revealed how it was written and how the limited space when posting on social networking site, Twitter, helped him shave off unimportant words for the new script.

“These Derek episodes were coming in at 40 minutes and I was getting depressed thinking I couldn’t get them down to 26 minutes,” he explained to the Metro newspaper.

“The compression on Twitter made me start thinking about the words I don’t need.”

And Gervais, who also penned the epic comedies The Office, Extras and Life’s Too Short, certainly has a lot of material to use from the site as he has almost 4 million followers on the popular social networking site, and regularly engages in debates with them on it, in particular voicing his strong atheist beliefs, which he says he has no intention of being quiet about:

“I want to do two things on Twitter: explain what freedom of speech really means and what the burden of proof is,

“I do like getting into fights with people who think the earth is 5,000 years old. I will never get bored of people like that.

“Sometimes a retweet is funnier than a reply. My favourite one was “everyone’s entitled to their opinion, so shut up about your atheism”. I just retweeted that. Brilliant.”

Derek returns to Channel 4 on Wednesday, January 30.