DEREK 1.05 Review

Can Ricky Gervais's new comedy finally pick up some speed?

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro


Writer: Ricky Gervais

Director: Ricky Gervais

Last week on DerekEpisode 1.04 Review

Clinton's Cards is a greeting cards shop that stocks aisles upon aisles of nicely decorated, expensive little messages to pass onto your loved ones. These messages could be interpreted as heartfelt when, in actuality, they're entirely devoid of sincerity. Derek is the TV equivalent of Clinton's Cards.

Derek's frequent attempts to tug at its viewers' heartstrings has come across as desperate in previous weeks, and unfortunately this is still the case in the penultimate episode of its first series. In episode 5 we're introduced to Deon (Doc Brown), an aspiring rapper (though he's "more 2Pac" than Will Smith, he says) sent to Broad Hill Retirement Home as part of his punishment for stealing some trainers. Cue an excellent line from caretaker Dougie (Karl Pilkington): "I've been here 10 years – what did I do?"

Deon catches the eye of Vicky (Holli Dempsey), though aside from some awkward flirting this plotline remains unexplored. His real romance in Broad Hill is with the titular Derek (Ricky Gervais). In his simple way, Derek explains that he believes that despite his misgivings, Deon is kindhearted. Deon proves this when he consoles Derek whilst he explains his sadness over the death of one of the elderly residents.

However, much like Vicky before him, no sooner has Deon warmed to Broad Hill and its staff, is he then taken away as the focus of the episode and shuffled back into the deck of cards that is the supporting cast alongside Vicky and the nameless residents.

Much of the episode is dedicated to the organising of an evening of fun, where Derek, Kev (David Earl) and a couple of the male residents have organised to perform as a Duran Duran tribute act. Their performance is predictably shambolic, with Dougie having to stand in for one of the ill male residents as the drummer, but the old folks are happily treated to an impromptu closing performance in the form of Deon.

Yes, Deon returns in order to perform one of those raps he was discussing earlier, but this one is dedicated to the old folk at Broad Hill. After he's done, Derek tells him that his performance was "brilliant". "No, you're brilliant", Deon informs him, offering the finest example of Derek's sickly sweet dialogue yet.

As the first series of Gervais's self-proclaimed "best work yet" draws to a close, I'm left hoping that the praise inevitably heaped upon him by his legions of loyal fans doesn't lead him to believe that Derek is anything more than just a misstep in an otherwise great career. 

DEREK 1.05 Review