Ricky Gervais' latest project is a comedy/drama set in a nursing home in which he plays the title character, a mentally challenged helper at the care home, named Derek.
In today's Observer, the comic has spoken of his own opinions on the state of elderly care at the moment and frankly he is not happy at how old people are treated, and rightly so too. In his critical response to elderly care, Gervais has called on public figures and Hollywood stars to promote the care of the 'forgotten' old people, pondering why old age has become something of an insult even though it is an inevitability we all share.
He told the paper, “No one cares. They're forgotten, bewildered, and I don't think it's because people are cruel or don't care. It's because you don't want to think about your own mortality."
Gervais has been criticised countless times in the past for his in-your-face style of comedy that has earned him numerous accusations of poking fun at the mentally handicapped and those suffering from dwarfism (with his show Life's Too Short), to which he claimed that anyone can be offended by anything and everything. “Anything you say will offend someone,” he said, adding, “we've been sold this myth that if you're offended, you're in the right. Most people are offended because they think they should be or because they mistake the target of the joke with the subject of the joke. I understand nobody deserves to be persecuted or ridiculed because of something they can't help. But I am allowed to ridicule someone who believes the Earth is 5,000 years old or a gay child will go to hell.”
Derek, which airs on Channel 4 later this month, had its pilot aired on the channel in April last year and will return for a full series soon, airing on HBO in the US. It also features An Idiot Abroad star Karl Pilkington in his first ever acting role as Derek's co-worker and flatmate Dougie.
Watch the trailer for the new series: