Ricky Gervais has said Hollywood stars should speak out for the elderly.

The comedian's new sitcom sees him starring as the titular 'Derek', a worker in an elderly care home, but he claims it's not the show's intention to joke about the homes nor the people in them.

Instead, he thinks they're a misrepresented part of society who get ignored by the public, which he thinks is part of a wider problem of being scared of growing old.

Speaking to The Observer newspaper, Ricky said: ''No one cares. There are no Hollywood stars speaking out for the elderly. They're forgotten, bewildered, and I don't think it's because people are cruel or don't care.

''It's because you don't want to think about your own mortality. I think people don't talk about it enough. There's a strange arrogance.

''Sometimes being old is used as an insult, which is bizarre because, if you're lucky, that's literally going to happen to you. It's a strange thing to gloat about: being born recently.''

These feelings are reflected in his writing of the show, which is meant to be more dramatic and sincere than other sitcoms.

He explained: ''I've left behind the veil of irony. This is more sincere. The characters are exactly what you think they are, which makes it more dramatic because it's a show about kindness ... I've made the home the sweetest, nicest place to be because I didn't want it to be a political swipe.''