With new Ricky Gervais’s new sitcom pilot ‘Derek’ due to air at a BAFTA screening next week, we wonder why commissioners Channel 4 appear so reluctant to simply order a full series.
The pilot features Gervais as Derek, a care home worker described as ‘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, Rolf Harris, Jesus, Deal or No Deal, Million Pound Drop and Britain’s Got Talent – but his main hobby is autograph hunting’. The show also features Karl Pilkington, in his first acting role, and (reportedly) Sean Connery.
So, with Gervais’s sitcom history and a big name cast, this would seem to be a significant opportunity for Channel 4 to score a sure-fire hit – why are they dragging their feet in only making a pilot?
In a statement the channel say: ‘Channel 4 is very excited to be working with Ricky Gervais on this new project and it’s wrong to say we have rejected a series. The pilot will be on TV in April and then there’ll be further discussions about the potential for a full series.’
However, after the critical disaster of Gervais’s last sitcom ‘Life’s Too Short’ and (relatively) poor audience figures it would appear either that Channel 4 have slightly cold feet about what would be a major series for them or that Gervais himself wants feedback before he commits to another less-than-popular project.
You get chance to decide for yourselves as the pilot airs on Channel 4 in next month.