Channel 4 commissions full series of Ricky Gervais in Derek

Following high-rating pilot, more episodes of controversial comedy drama to air next year

C4 will air a full series of the Ricky Gervais comedy drama Derek in 2013, the channel has confirmed. 

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More than 3 million people saw the pilot episode which was broadcast last month, according to C4 – making it the channel’s highest-rating scripted comedy in nearly two years.

The series will be written and directed by Gervais, who stars as Derek Noakes, a vulnerable man working in an old people’s home. Karl Pilkington and Kerry Godliman return to play Derek’s colleagues.

The pilot episode was met with a mixed reaction from critics and viewers: many hailed it as a successful change of direction by Gervais, with others criticising its portrayal of the central character as heavy-handed. (Read Radio Times’s full review here.)

Announcing the series commission, Channel 4 head of comedy Shane Allen said: “Ricky is a leading voice in British comedy and, through Derek, he captures and reflects something of the spirit of modern society. The pilot triggered an amazing response and Derek’s story had only just begun, so it’s brilliant that we can explore this world and its beautifully drawn characters across a series. It feels like a perfect new direction for Ricky.”

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Gervais said: “David Brent was an egotistical, failed musician and the most annoying man in the world. Derek is a 50-year-old man with bad hair and clothes, whose best friend is a whinging, bald Manc twonk. Where do I get my ideas from?”