His latest sitcom Derek deals with life in an old peoples' home, and Hollywood star Ricky Gervais thinks it's time more people spoke out about the neglect of elderly people.
Despite his new series generating controversy itself, over accusations it mocks those with mental difficulties (the character of Derek, who works in the home displays common signs of learning difficulties), Gervais seems more concerned about the elderly issue than the controversy that blew up around the show on its first airing last year.
The comedian told The Observer: "No one cares. They're forgotten, bewildered, and I don't think it's because people are cruel or don't care. It's because you don't want to think about your own mortality."
Ricky Gervais as Derek (Photo: WENN)
He added: “I think people don't talk about it enough. There's a strange arrogance. Sometimes being old is used as an insult, which is bizarre because, if you're lucky, that's literally going to happen to you.”
However The Office star thinks he's not gone out to ridicule those involved in the comedy, saying: “I've made the home the sweetest, nicest place to be because I didn't want it to be a political swipe.
“It's nothing to do with ‘care’ or ‘care in the community’ – it's a backdrop rather like selling paper was the backdrop to The Office. But that was about turning 30. This is about turning 80.”
On why people had kicked up a fuss about Derek Gervais said: “Most people are offended because they think they should be or because they mistake the target of the joke with the subject of the joke."
"I understand nobody deserves to be persecuted or ridiculed because of something they can't help. But I am allowed to ridicule someone who believes the Earth is 5,000 years old or a gay child will go to hell.”