Ricky Gervais, whose BBC2 sitcom Life’s Too Short failed to capture viewers’ imagination, has made a comedy pilot for Channel 4 in which he plays a care worker in a nursing home.
Gervais plays the lead role in Derek, which is described as a spoof documentary in the style of Extras and The Office.
The Channel 4 project also stars his sidekick Karl Pilkington, who appears with Gervais on his podcast and in Sky1 show An Idiot Abroad, in his first acting role.
Gervais said on Twitter that he was working on a second series of Life’s Too Short, the BBC2 comedy starring Warwick Davies which lost half its audience during the course of its seven-part run.
The controversial sitcom began with 2.5 million viewers last month but finished with just 1.2 million across BBC2 and BBC HD on Tuesday, a 5.8% share and far below the audiences who watched Extras and The Office.
The pilot for Derek was filmed last month in London, expanding a short sketch idea that Gervais had a decade ago about a man with learning difficulties who lived with his grandmother and aspired to be a standup comic.
Pilkington plays one of Derek’s friends. Gervais wrote on his blog: “It’s an ensemble piece which includes Karl in his first real acting role.
“He’s nervous, but he shouldn’t be. He’s great and I’m only bringing out what’s already there, if you know what I mean.”
A Channel 4 spokesman said a pilot had been commissioned but no decision had been made on whether it would be broadcast or turned into a full series.
A BBC spokesman said discussions have taken place about a second series of Life’s Too Short but no decision had yet been taken on a recommission.
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