'Derek' Review Series 2 Episode 1 - Ricky Gervais Returns With More Bittersweet Retirement Home Antics

TV REVIEW: Derek Returns For More Bittersweet Antics

'Derek' was back on our screens last night, with Ricky Gervais' comedy drama set in an old peoples' home providing us with the same gentle laughs and poignant asides as first time around.

The big change was the arrival as a resident of Derek's father Anthony, the man who'd abandoned Derek as a boy, but who'd been welcomed back in last series' emotional finale. This opener established two things - that his father liked a drink, and he liked a woman, or two.

In Derek's words, many of Ricky Gervais's preoccupations

In between the inevitable granny-talks-about-sex embarrassment and one of the residents sporting a miraculous new head of hair - "it grew back" - there was plenty of room for Ricky Gervais, through his screen alter ego, to pronounce on the things he holds dear - namely kindness to all creatures, especially the furrier ones.

Derek even had his own hashtag (#DerekSays) sneakily woven into the script, no doubt for trending purposes. We saw Derek's kindness meet Gervais's social media acumen head-on, and there was LOTS of the latter sneaking in. Sometimes he even forgot to do the voice.

Karl Pilkington gives the most naturalistic performance of all - hardly acting as caretaker Dougie

A welcome new addition - Vicky, in-house beautician, born hustler, and happy to hand over a brand new pair of slippers to her favourite resident, once she'd removed the shop tag, with the help of an industrial-looking de-tagger that she happened to have on her person.

And Karl Pilkington back in his overalls as Dougie - was his hair that 'tonsured' first time around? That perfect oval was quite something to behold, even before he got the electric shock treatment.

Would this have been recommissioned if it had been anybody but Ricky Gervais behind it? Probably not. Is the TV schedule better for it being included? Definitely.


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