By Joe Cunningham | The Playlist April 4, 2012 at 12:40PM
These may just be the opinions of this particular writer, but is Ricky Gervais slowly losing his touch? His third stint as a presenter at the Golden Globes was tepid in comparison to the previous two, his recent sitcom “Life’s Too Short” was extremely weak in comparison to “Extras” and “The Office,” while none of his cinematic efforts have really impressed. But still, he’s probably the most famous comedian in the world right now and he’s not slowing down in terms of creating content.
In the U.K., his sitcoms have all previously aired on the BBC, while his documentary series “An Idiot Abroad” aired on Sky, but his new comedy-drama “Derek“ will air on the same channel as “The Ricky Gervais Show” did over a decade ago, Channel 4. The official synopsis on the channel’s website describes Gervais’ eponymous character as “a tender, innocent man whose love for his job and the people he cares for shines through. He's 49, adores animals, Rolf Harris, Jesus, "Deal or No Deal," "Million Pound Drop" and "Britain's Got Talent" - but his main hobby is autograph hunting. Derek works in a retirement home with his mate and landlord, Dougie (Karl Pilkington). Derek cares deeply for old people because they're kind and funny and tell him stories about the olden days.”
The first previews have aired (as well as a couple of not-particularly-funny out-takes – are there any other kind?) and it’s hard to get a handle on what the tone here might be. We weren’t particularly impressed by any of what we've seen so far, but we certainly won’t be writing Gervais off at this stage either. One thing we are concerned about, however, is that his character seems to be rather eccentric and Gervais is portraying him with the same gurn that was present in the twitter images he posted when he found himself at the centre of a scandal for using an offensive term (historically used to describe the mentally disabled). But Gervais has always been one to tread the line of controversy, and usually has negotiated it well. We’ll find out how successful he has been when this premieres in the U.K. on April 12th. No word on when the rest of the world will get to see it, but we'd wager it won't be long. [Bleeding Cool]