Gervais: I wish I was more like Derek
Ricky Gervais wishes he was more like his kind-hearted character Derek Noakes.
While the fictional care worker - who he portrays in Channel 4 comedy 'Derek' - is "odd-looking, scruffy and gets things wrong", the 51-year-old comedy-drama actor insists he wants to be "as good as" his alter-ego because his thoughtfulness is more important than any of his other characteristics.
He said: "I wish I was more like Derek - as good as him. He is all of us at eight years old when we're not scared of what we say, when we're not scared of being uncool.
"Derek doesn't care. When he says, 'I love Stacey Solomon' he's not worried that we'll say, 'Really?'
"That's why Derek had to be odd-looking and scruffy and get things wrong. He had to be an outsider because I wanted kindness to come along and trump it all.
"I wanted Derek to look like the people you see walking around and think, 'They're not interesting'.
"The train-spotters, the autograph hunters, the weird kid at school. The people you dismiss. But they've all got a story."
Ricky - who is also the writer, director and executive producer of 'Derek' - says he based the series on real life and he therefore wasn't afraid to include some "serious bits" among the comedy aspects of the show.
He added to The Sun newspaper: "After the pilot I got thousands of tweets saying, 'Is it a comedy or a drama?' because they laughed or they cried.
"And I said, 'Well, what is real life? Is it a comedy or drama?' There are funny bits and then you find a lump. I've always put in serious bits.
"Deep down 'The Office' was a romantic comedy, but it was also about a middle-aged man having a breakdown. And 'Extras' looked like it was a middle-class smart-a**e swipe at celebrity, but it was actually about a group of friends."
'Derek' returns to Channel 4 tonight (30.01.13) at 10pm.