Ricky Gervais’ ‘Derek’ picked up for full series by Channel 4

The story of retirement home worker Derek Noakes will continue

Ricky Gervais‘ new sitcom Derek has been handed a full series by Channel 4.

The pilot episode, following a “group of outsiders” who work in a retirement home, garnered an impressive 2.3 million viewers and the channel will now air a full series in 2013.

Gervais plays Derek Noakes, a “tender, innocent man” with a passion for YouTube and Deal Or No Deal, starring alongside Karl Pilkington in his first acting role as Dougie, the home’s manager. After the pilot was broadcast, Gervais was forced to deny accusations that the Derek character made fun of the disabled, saying: “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’s different. But then so are a lot of people.”

Gervais said of the commission: “David Brent was an egotistical, failed musician and the most annoying man in the world. Derek is a 50-year-old man with bad hair and clothes, whose best friend is a whinging Manc twonk. Where do I get my ideas from?”

Shane Allen, head of comedy at Channel 4 commented: “Ricky is a leading voice in British comedy and through Derek he captures and reflects something of the spirit of modern society. A kindhearted character in a world which TV normally shies away from, it feels like a perfect new direction for Ricky.”

“The pilot triggered an amazing response and Derek’s story had only just begun, so it’s brilliant that we can explore this world and its beautifully-drawn characters across a series.”