Ricky Gervais appears to be fuelling the debate over referencing the disabled in his comedy. The creator of David Brent caused outage in 2011 after using the word "mong" on Twitter, and his new show focuses on a carer who seems to have learning difficulties, reports the Independent.
The comedian appears to be heading for another collision course with his new Channel 4 show, Derek. Gervais plays the eponymous Derek Noakes who works as a "simple" helper at a nursing home though appears to suffer from learning difficulties himself. During an interview to discuss the new show, Ricky failed to specify Derek's condition, saying, "I've never thought of him as disabled.He's not that bright but he's cleverer than Baldrick, he's clever than Father Dougal (Ardal O'Hanlon's character in Father Ted)... he hasn't got as big a problem as Mr Bean.When I portray a disabled person I get a disabled person to play them - the woman who was wheelchair-bound in The Office, the guy in Extras with Down's syndrome was a Down's syndrome actor. If it was autism I'd get Dustin Hoffman". Gervais began developing the character for his early stand-up routines more than 12 years ago, long before he found initial fame with The Office, saying, "Originally the character was an excuse to see the world differently.He lived with his mum but I thought that was quite restricting for a sitcom".
The first episode of 'Derek' premieres on Channel 4 on April 12, 2012, featuring Ricky's 'An Idiot Abroad' co-star KARL PILKINGTON.