Ricky Gervais as Derek Noakes
|Running time||24 mins.|
|Starring||Ricky Gervais, Kerry Godliman, Karl Pilkington, David Earl|
|Original runs||12 April 2012 (Pilot), 30 January 2013 (Series) – 6 March 2013|
|No. of episodes||7|
Derek is a television series created by Ricky Gervais. It follows the life of titular character Derek Noakes as he works at Broadhill Retirement Home for the elderly. The show is filmed in a documentary format rather like previous projects The Office and Life's Too Short, but is noted as being different by Ricky for having "left the veil of irony behind". The show began with a pilot broadcast on Channel 4 on 12 April 2012, which gained generally positive feedback and strong viewing figures. It was then given the green-light to become a full series, which premiered on 30 January 2013. It is also notable for featuring Karl Pilkington's first full acting role.
The show documents the lives of those who both work and live at Broadhill Retirement Home. The main character, Derek, is a shuffling, simple and innocent 50-year old man who is an employee at the home. He spends the majority of his time indulging in his fascination with animals and bothering the other staff with inane questions. He is also good friends with Hannah (Kerry Godliman), who spends the series being overworked and under-appreciated whilst trying to maintain a relationship with her love-interest Tom (Brett Goldstein).
The other employee primarily focussed on is Dougie (Karl Pilkington), an outspoken caretaker who regularly complains about his life and intervenes to defend his fellow employees when he sees them being unfairly picked on. The staff are often joined by Kev (David Earl), a grimy unemployed slob who is persistently concerned with sex and always has a tin of beer in his hand. The show revolves around these four characters as they deal with council intrusions, raising money for the home and residents passing on.
- Derek is an innocent and warm-hearted man who is a popular figure at Broadhill Retirement Home. He loves animals, reality TV, autograph hunting, pop music and the elderly. Though Gervais strongly refutes the claim that Derek has learning difficulties, he is portrayed as a man who has difficulty grasping concepts such as ventriloquism, often gets sidetracked by his own thoughts while speaking and has a rather naive view of the world in general. Despite this, Derek is an employee at the home and his kindness is often praised by the likes of Hannah and Dougie.
- Kerry Godliman as Hannah
- Hannah has been an employee at Broadhill Retirement Home for 15 years, and often works hours well beyond the amount for which she is paid. She is shown as a hard-working, robust and caring individual who treats the residents of the home as her family. A lot of the show is centered around Hannah, with various subplots involving her relationship with Tom, her confrontations with nefarious visitors and her appreciation for her friends also working at the home. She is seen by the residents as the backbone of the home, and fights tooth-and-nail to keep it running after the council enforce budget cuts.
- Karl Pilkington as Dougie
- Dougie is described by Gervais as "Karl, if he'd never met me". The caretaker at Broadhill, Dougie does indeed possess a lot of the characteristics of Karl, including his outspoken nature, his bemusement at many aspects of modern life and his general dissatisfaction with everything. Dougie is very unhappy with the way his life has panned out, bemoaning everything from the friends he has to the ridiculous hairstyle he has been cursed with. Despite this, he is very protective of his co-workers, especially Hannah whom he defends on multiple occasions while she is being chastised by visitors.
- David Earl as Kev
- Kev is an unemployed man who lives in Dougie's flat and spends most of his time hanging around Broadhill Retirement Home. He is a rude, boorish man who is usually preoccupied with sexual thoughts or dirty jokes. His main passion is autograph hunting, although it is questionable as to whether or not he's had any real success in his pursuits. He has very little regard for his own personal image, proudly soiling himself during one staff meeting just because he was getting bored. Though Kev shows little affection for anything in his life, he does get involved in efforts to raise money for the home and entertain the residents.
- Holli Dempsey as Vicky
- Vicky is a young woman who initially joins the staff at Broadhill to fulfill her community service. At first, she has no interest in helping the residents, watching in horror as she sees the duties that Hannah endures during the working day. However, over time she begins to build a relationship with the elderly and decides to stay on as a volunteer after her community service finishes. While her main interests are fashion and social networking, she displays her sympathetic side once she has been won over by the home.
- Brett Goldstein as Tom
- Tom is the love-interest of Hannah, having been introduced in the pilot as one of the residents' sons. Hannah is initially very reserved towards Tom, but gradually she opens up and the two of them establish a relationship during the series. Tom does get frustrated at Hannah's inability to relax and let her hair down away from work, but quickly finds himself roped in by the caring environment of Broadhill.
- Doc Brown as Deon
- Deon is another individual who spends his community service at Broadhill, having been arrested for stealing trainers. During his time at the home, he gets to know the employees, including Derek who he appreciates a lot for his good-nature. He is a rapper, and performs a song during Broadhill's cabaret evening which speaks of his view-changing experience at the home.
The series will appear on Netflix for international audiences during the summer, and the DVD is expected to be released in November. A second series was commissioned by Channel 4 on March 4th, 2013 (during the original run of the first series).
|Episode One||Series 2||23 April 2014||TBA||8|
|A year after the events of the first series, all the old Broad Hill faces are back, alongside some new ones. Derek's happy that his dad's moving in, while Tom and Hannah are taking things to another level. New volunteer Geoff has joined the clan, but Dougie and Vicky have no time for him. Dougie, fed up with his job, quits.
Note: Karl Pilkington's final episode.
|Episode Two||Series 2||30 April 2014||TBA||9|
|There are job opportunities at Broad Hill so Kev decides to clean up his act. Vicky's taste in men worries Hannah, while a visit from city boy Pete stirs things up for Derek.|
|Episode Three||Series 2||7 May 2014||TBA||10|
|Hannah and Tom have happy news, and Derek's dad Anthony goes on a date with Tom's grandmother. But matters of the heart are taking a downward turn for Kev who calls on his brother Cliff for help.|
|Episode Four||Series 2||14 May 2014||TBA||11|
|Derek and the Broad Hill gang go on a trip to London Zoo. It is Derek's best day ever, meeting giraffes, penguins, aardvarks, and in Vicky's case, the man of her dreams. Throughout all the fun Hannah is caught off guard and must deal with the unexpected.|
|Episode Five||Series 2||21 May 2014||TBA||12|
|The Meadway animal rescue centre comes to visit, and for Derek that means playing with Ivor. Kev exercises his artistic talents, winding up Hannah in the process, while Derek deals with sad news.|
|Episode Six||Series 2||28 May 2014||TBA||13|
|Derek goes on a date with a girl from a dating website. He is excited but worried about his dad's health. True to form, Geoff nearly ruins things for Derek, but Kev stands up to him.|
Feedback for the series has been mixed, with some praising the show for being both poignant and funny, and others criticising it for being emotionally manipulative and generally too mawkish. While there was an undercurrent of controversy surrounding the perceived learning difficulties suffered by the character Derek, most critics concluded that this was not something that was worthy of taking offence to, especially given that Derek is shown as a kind-hearted man.
During the original run of the series, members of the Pilkipedia forum submitted their own reviews for each episode. There were contributions from mars bah bah bah, Barry, Jenson's Beard, ScottHanson, Dam Helder and Doctor Frog.