Gervais: Derek is not mentally challenged

'He's brighter than Baldrick'

Ricky Gervais has denied that his new character Derek is mentally disabled.

Channel 4 is about to air a pilot based on the retirement care worker, which Gervais introduced in a 1999 sketch.

Based on that footage, many commentators had assumed the simple-minded character was mentally challenged.

But at an event to launch the pilot lasy night, Gervais insisted: ‘I’ve never thought of him as disabled.

‘He’s not that bright but... he’s cleverer than Baldrick and Father Dougal and he certainly hasn’t got as big a problem as Mr Bean.’

He added: ‘When portraying someone with disabilities I usually get someone with that disability to play them.

Gervais caused controversy when he repeatedly used the word ‘mong’ as an insult – although he backed away from defending it as a word which ad lost its stigma after being challenged by disability campaigners.

Click here for a full report of yesterday’s Q&A and here for our verdict on Derek.

Published: 28 Mar 2012

Today's comedy-on demand picks


The UK's longest-running improv team are putting a show online for the very first time since they started in 1985. They will be live-stream an hour of Sunday night footage from their archives from 7.30pm.

The line-up will feature Paul Merton, Richard Vranch, Neil Mullarkey Josie Lawrence, Lee Simpson and Andy Smart.

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... including Andrew Maxwell Breaks The Internet and a streamed version of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe curio Panopticon, from the Consignia sketch group.

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