The cast of Derek on The Special, Ricky Gervais... and why we need more kindness on TV
Is it really the end for the Channel 4 comedy? Kerry Godliman, Holli Dempsey and Brett Goldstein are all keen to return to Broad Hill Care Home in the future...
For Derek fans, this really is the end. After two series, Ricky Gervais is closing the door on Broad Hill Care Home with a special released on Netflix today (in an extended form from its 2014 Channel 4 airing). But before we bid farewell to Derek, Kev and the rest of the comedy's cohort, we caught up with three of the stars – Kerry Godliman (who plays Hannah), Holli Dempsey (Vicki) and Brett Goldstein (Tom) – to hear all about the last days of filming, Ricky's on-set larks and why we'll all miss Derek's dose of kindness. Here's what they had to say on...
Working with Ricky Gervais
Holli Dempsey: It’s a privilege because he’s a genius and he just makes work on the spot. He’s constantly making things up but really giving as well. I never feel like I can't suggest something. Sometimes it won’t come to anything but sometimes it will. We all really collaborated and made the world ourselves.
Kerry Godliman: He’s exactly what you think he’s like. He discloses a lot of outtakes and I think that's partly because his fans have an affection for seeing him dick about and corpsing and it’s all pretty true – that is what goes on. It’s like playing with a kid – it’s a lot of fun. And it almost ruins you for other jobs. He’s been very complimentary and I have a lot to thank him for because it’s been quite a break for me, playing Hannah.
Brett Goldstein: He immediately puts you at ease because he laughs and he’s fun. He's very encouraging and positive. When you do a good take, you’ll hear him. For someone who’s very funny, he’s not competitive. He’s very generous as a director, with other actors.
The plot of the special
BG: "Hannah and Tom are getting married and Tom’s got a new job, Derek is still dating Tracey, Kev causes some serious trouble and Vicky is training to become a manager.
KG: There's a bit of a turning point for Hannah and Kev in the final. Her tolerance is tested and he pushes her too far.
HD: Vicki's grown up a lot. She's training to, at some point in the future, be able to do what Hannah does.
The last few days on set
KG: The last scene that we filmed was playing bingo – they decided to put that at the end of the schedule because it was a funny scene and everyone was in it. I was really embarrassed because I got a bit tearful and Ricky found it hilarious and started teasing me.
Derek's female characters
HD: I spoke about it to Ricky the other day and we both agreed Hannah and Vicki are feminists – they seriously protect their family and that’s the most womanly thing you do as a mother, not that I’m a mother, but we’re a bit wired to do that and it’s nice to show. They back each other no matter what because they’ve got such a family. Both women feel really integral to Derek, and Hannah – people have said this to me before – she’s almost the lead. Derek is obviously the lead but she’s almost the catalyst for the whole piece because she holds it all together. She’s the mother hen. Ricky writes great female characters.
Kindness on TV
HD: I think in this day and age there are a lot of depressing things out there and a lot of stuff on telly that doesn’t make you feel anything – sometimes you don’t want to feel anything – but with this I think it’s so heartwarming and it comes down to human characters. It’s not anything more. It’s just humans and kindness and being nice to the person next to you but it’s made people cry. There should be things out there like that that make you feel things and think about other people.
BG: I can’t think of a thing that’s like Derek. That’s what’s interesting about it because it seems to me that people really love it or really hate it and I think one of the reasons is it isn’t like anything else and I think that annoys people. I can’t think of an equivalent – most shows are about murder, or they’re very cynical.
The End (or is it?)
HD: I wouldn’t want it to go on forever but I do feel that there is at least another series. I’d love to come back in the future – I think we could at least do another special. Hopefully Twitter won’t let [Ricky] stop.
KG: It’s a good gig. I’d have happily kept going, but it feels like a natural ending – I think some things go on too long and sometimes it is better to quit when something’s strong and people still have an affection for it rather than keep going and dilute the quality. I admire that.
BG: I think we all would [have kept going]. We're very close friends so it's just nice hanging out all day. We would all very happily do it much longer, just for that.
Derek: The special is available on Netflix now