Ricky Gervais has spoken out in defence of his new comedy show, Derek. According to the Bbc, the show is billed as "the story of a simple, vulnerable man working in an old people's home" but many have criticised the show, saying that it makes light of people suffering with mental illness or learning disabilities. Gervais' argument is that Derek is not intended to have a "specific and defined disability."
"Derek is a fictional character and is defined by his creator, me" said Gervais. "If I say I don't mean him to be disabled then that's it. A fictional doctor can't come along and prove me wrong." He went on to stay "He's different. But then so are a lot of people. He's not the smartest tool in the box but he's cleverer than Father Dougal [from Father Ted], and not as different as Mr Bean." The disability rights campaigner Nicky Clark has criticised Gervais for the content of the show, and wrote an article in The Guardian, aimed at the comic, pleading with him "If you find abuse of disabled people sickening, then please don't use the terminology of bullies and thugs." After watching an episode of the show, though, she wrote on her website "I've laughed and cried. I haven't seen cruelty."