Derek: Season 1, Episode 0

Pilot (12 Apr. 2012)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Drama
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,269 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 2 critic

When a documentary team visits the retirement home where he works,kindly,simple, middle-aged Derek is delighted as he loves reality TV - especially Secret Millionaire - and has 35,000 ... See full summary »



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Title: Pilot (12 Apr 2012)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Kerry Godliman ...
David Earl ...
Ruth Bratt ...
Joan Linder ...
Kay Noone ...
Lizzie (as Kaye Noone)
Vilma Hollingbery ...
Tim Barlow ...
Arthur Nightingale ...
Grace Willis ...
Chav in Pub
Hana Minett ...
Chav in Pub


When a documentary team visits the retirement home where he works,kindly,simple, middle-aged Derek is delighted as he loves reality TV - especially Secret Millionaire - and has 35,000 autographs. Douglas,his co-worker and landlord,is less impressed. In the course of the day Derek falls into a pond,sets up his friend Hannah with a date with a handsome visitor and takes the death of a resident to heart. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Comedy | Drama





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12 April 2012 (UK)  »

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There is simply nothing here
28 April 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Office was a work of genius that will stand for time as such, that it spawned a successful US version and created a slew of comedies using the "fly on the wall" documentary approach just serves to confirm this. It was painfully well observed, all at once funny but tragically sad and it had great characters throughout it. And it seems such a long time ago doesn't it? I know this is because it is about 10 years old now but work like Derek just make it seem even more like a distant memory.

When it showed recently critics seem to be split but they were generally split on whether or not Gervais was giving a good portrayal of a simple type helping in his community or if he was being offensively insulting to those he was trying to represent with Derek. I'll comment on this but for me this was a side issue – the main thing was whether or not this half hour of comedy drama was any good. Frankly it isn't. In terms of structure, this isn't comedy/drama as in the two are merged together and play off each other like The Office, I mean it is comedy, then drama – and never the twain shall meet. This split is made worse by neither working. The comedy isn't funny – not even at all. I have read some reviews of it defending this saying "it isn't that type of comedy" as if it is more high-brow, but yet we have "high-brow" gags such as Gervais falling in a pond (a gag so signposted that it appeared in the previous programme on channel 4) and then running naked across the old people's home. Yeah – "high brow", sure.

Once we have had a chance to laugh at, sorry "with" the characters, we get into the drama in which the music is as obvious as it comes, Derek gets to stare mournfully from inside simple eyes and a "life goes on" message sort of comes out. It is terribly cloying and clunky to say the least. In terms of his character I do actually think that he is not being offensive – his Derek is recognisable as a real person and, although it conforms to certain clichés, it is not an unfair or cruel stereotype. However, this is not the same as saying he is a good character or that he is well written – because he is not. He has nothing here and nothing works for him – so his performance may well be "brave" and "well meaning" but it is also of little value to anything. Godliman is good even if her character is a bit exaggerated; I liked her and my only problem is that her "plain but likable roundfaced woman" character is the same as we have seen many times from Gervais now. Pilkington is OK but a bit gruff, while others in support are so-so. No character is particularly good and nothing really works here.

I have no idea why Derek exists and I mean that genuinely to the point where I could almost believe it is some sort of attempt by Gervais to put the whole "mong" controversy behind him and nothing more. It has no laughs, very little humanity, no real drama and instead is dull, emotionally simplistic and surprisingly poor across the board. I like Gervias but this was a terrible special.

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