Meet Derek Noakes (Ricky Gervais) a tender, innocent man whose love for his job and the people he cares for shines through. He's 49 years old and loves animals, Jesus, Robbie Williams, âDeal or No Deal', âSecret Millionaire' and âBritain's Got Talent' - but his main hobby is autograph hunting. He works in a retirement home with his mate and landlord, Dougie (Karl Pilkington in his very first acting role). Derek cares deeply for old people because they're kind and funny and tell him stories about the olden days. Hannah (Kerry Godliman) is a care worker at the home and is Derek's best friend. She's smart, witty and hardworking, but unlucky in love, and like Derek, always puts other people first.
I had high hopes based on reviews but I found the gurning and pathetic acting so obnoxious I had to fast forward until I could take no more and switched off. Seemed to take the Office 'style' and thoughtlessly misuse it in totally the wrong context with Ricky out of his depth as an actor looking like a toddler trying to be a grownup. Bad!
I'm writing from Australia and the last episode just screened last Thursday. Derek is brilliant. Each episode is a statement on the value of life, respect for people, and the potential for kindness. You see annoyance between characters, but also the deeper commitment of acceptance. I have read the negative reviews-and I suppose this review is a response and I have to disagree. In my mind, the show isn't about all Derek and whatever his disability might be. To take issue with his representation misses the point. He's neutral foil for everybody else, without vices, vulnerable and he reflects everybody else's foibles. Frankly, you have to focus on the show as a piece, not TV entertainment. Ricky Gervais has used the medium as a venue for his feelings, especially about the elderly and those who can't speak for themselves. It's not the Office and it's not Extras and certainly not a feature film. More than one episode-especially that last one, has lurched at my insides and I'm crying. Talking about hard human issues without apology, Gervais has outdone himself. Thanks Ricky.