During the NRW Medienforum, EMC hosted the session “Shaping The Things To Come: Comedy” with Charlie Hanson and Alison Rayson being interviewed by Christoph Fey.
Charlie Hanson’s work as a producer and director spans over two decades of television drama and comedy. He has among many others produced Ricky Gervais’ Life’s Too Short, Derek, Extras and Cemetery Junction. In this session, Hanson shared the backstory of Ricky Gervais’ new YouTube channel. Gervais’ iconic character David Brent from cult tv show ,The Office’ returned after a 10 year hiatus as a one-off for the charity event Comic Relief. This online video and music performance with comedian and rapper Dom Johnson became an overwhelming success and has since led to the resurrection of the David Brent character on Gervais’s own YouTube channel.
Hanson also talked about Gervais show ‘Derek’ that had its début on Channel 4 last year and went on to critical acclaim. The programme s set in a care home and was inspired by Gervais personal relations: “Half my family are care workers. My sister works with kids with learning difficulties. My sister-in-law works in a care home for people with Alzheimer’s. And four or five of my nieces work in old people’s homes. I always write about what I know.” #KindnessIsMagic spread on Twitter as hashtag.
Q: Is kindness one of the predominant ideas behind this show?
Ricky Gervais: Absolutely. If there is a theme, it’s kindness. Kindness trumps everything. And that’s why the main characters have to be outsiders and losers. They all have to be deficient in everything except doing the right thing. They’re still better people than you if you’re not kind. Derek is so non judgmental but he sees through bullshit too. He only has one agenda- “What’s the right thing to do?” And he doesn’t even know it’s an agenda. He’s just “good” and nothing takes his eye of the ball. He sums it up in episode 6 when he says “I don’t think it matters if there is a god or not. I’ve met people who believe in God that are good and that are bad. And I’ve met people who don’t believe in God that are good and that are bad. So, just be good. I’m good. Not cos I think I’ll go to heaven but because when I do something bad, I feel bad. And when I do something good, I feel good.”