Monday, 19 August 2013

Exclusive Q&A with Derek producer Charlie Hanson

Most fans of Ricky Gervais and his work so far will know who Mr. Charlie Hanson is; as he is a long time collaborator with Ricky Gervais. For those who are not familiar with Charlie's work, here is a brief introduction.
Charlie is a critically acclaimed British Director and Producer, whose award winning work spans over two decades, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He has a history of working on diverse projects and in 2003 he produced his first feature film 'A way of Life', which went on to win 12 international awards, including 4 Welsh BAFTA's. 
During his early career, he was involved in 'No Problem!' (1983), the first Black made sitcom for British TV (broadcast on Channel 4). Charlie later went on to produce notable shows such as 'Desmond's' 'Birds of a Feather','Chef!,'Sketch Show' and 'Harry Hill'.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Hanson

Desmond's sitcom set in a Black barber shop in Peckham (1989-1994)

His collaborations with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, are producing 'Extras', 'Cemetery Junction' and 'Life's Too Short.' Now he is Producer on Ricky's heartwarming new comedy drama 'Derek'.

I put these questions to Mr.Hanson which he kindly answered.

Q: Derek will be the first show that you've produced that will be shown to a large global audience in one go on Netflix, how do you feel about this?
A: Both curious and excited. Particularly as the audience will have access to all episodes in one go. The impact of twitter and other social media also means we can expect a pretty instant response from some quarters. I'm looking forward to it!

Q: As a Producer was it your job to find cast members for Derek? Kerry Godliman, Karl Pilkington and David Earl have previously worked with Ricky, but where and how did you discover the talented Holli Dempsey who plays young Vicky?
A: As Producer my role is to surround Ricky with the best talent, behind and in front of the camera. He wrote Dougie for Karl Pilkington, and Kevin for David Earl. We had both worked with Kerry A. Godliman on Extras and Life's Too Short, but she came in for a meeting to discuss the part and read. She was offered it straight away. But we work with a casting director too. Tracey Gillham is terrific at bringing new talent to our attention, and when Holli Dempsey first auditioned we knew immediately she was the one for Vicky. She had Ricky laughing, as only he can, at some of her ad libs. And when he turned to Katie, our Associate Producer and said "write that down!", even Holli must have known she had nailed it. But as a true professional, she didn't show it. She is a terrific actress and will go on to great things.

Left: Holli Dempsey as Vicky with Comedian/Rapper Doc Brown
who makes a guest appearance in Derek (Photo courtesy of @HolliDee)
Q: What was your favourite part of filming Derek? 
A: Meeting and getting to know some of the older actors. They had amazing stories to tell. Also seeing how Ricky inhabited the role of Derek, and played him with such affection.

Q: Did any scenes make you emotional? 
A: The pilot episode when Derek spoke about his love for Joan had me crying on set and in the edit. As did the passing of Lizzie (played by Kay Noone) , and the scenes with Derek's dad.

Actress Kay Noone who plays Lizzie in Derek

Q: You have worked with Ricky Gervais since 'Extras', what do you enjoy most about working with him?
A: His energy and work ethic is amazing. I have never had to wait for a script. Whatever he promises he delivers. He knows what he wants, so we don't waste any time shooting unnecessary scenes. He, like me, wants to enjoy his work, so we have surrounded ourselves with a terrific crew who are great at their jobs and love their work. It sounds a cliche, but it is like a big happy family reunion every time we regroup to start a new series.

Q: What is your favourite Gervais collaboration to date?
A: I loved the challenge and variety of Extras, with different guest stars and situations each episode. But it has to be Derek, as Ricky loves the character so much. It has been a great experience working on a show that has the capacity to make people laugh and cry.

Ricky Gervais as Derek (photo courtesy of Channel 4)
Q: When can we expect to see Derek back on our screens in the UK?
A: Spring 2014

Q: What other projects are you currently working on?
A: I am developing feature film scripts with Sarah Solemani (Him and Her) and Steve Oram (Sightseers).

A huge thanks to Mr. Charlie Hanson for taking the time to answer these questions. 
You can follow @charlietantrum on Twitter to keep up to date with his latest projects.

All 7 episodes of Derek (including the pilot) and 'making of' documentary, will be premiering on Netflix in the US, Canada, Brazil, Latin America and the Nordics on September 12th 2013.
Here is the Official Netflix promotional trailer for Derek:

And here is an 'Introduction to Derek':

At the time of publishing this post, Derek has started airing in Australia on ABC1 every Thursday night at 10pm, and the reaction to it is very positive.
Yes TV (Israeli TV station) have also bought Derek but an air date is yet to be announced. For viewers in the UK who have not yet seen Derek, you can watch it on 4OD, the Channel 4 catch up service by registering online here

The DVD and Blu-ray of Derek Series 1 with deleted scenes and out-takes is also available to Pre-order and will be released on 11th November 2013. Pre-Order from Amazon here.
For more information on Derek follow @Derektvshow and @belikederek on Twitter. 
You can also visit which is a dedicated Derek fan site.
Thanks for reading.

©ZA 2013 (@Gervaisaholics)

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Extras Posteritty signed print Competition Winners!

Firstly, thank you so much for the large response that this competition generated and well done to all who entered, all entries were fun to read. The main man himself was sent all the entries to judge and this is what he had to say:
"From the thousands of entries one scene kept coming up over and over again. I decided to pick the winner from this most cited group. I chose the following entry because it simply summed up the platonic friendship of two average "screw ups."  Thanks to everyone who entered. I really enjoyed reading them and I'm sorry that there can only be one overall winner. Cheers."- Ricky Gervais

The Winning Entry

Winner of this awesome main prize is @milapantovich
"My favorite (as cliché as it might be) is the final scene between Andy and Maggie -- their very realistic platonic friendship turned out to be one of television's most memorable love stories. The scene may seem a bit sad, with Andy's dream of fame finally an empty reality, but it brings such hopeful longing for the future. Reunited, they drive away giggling and happy. Gervais' ability to infuse biting satirical comedy with a deep soulful humanity, always allowing redemption, is the reason why I love his work so much. If these two screw-up's can start over, anyone can. The brief design of the moment makes you miss the characters deeply the moment the credits roll, something I never take for granted in today's general need for the overdone "Big Finish." I adore the final scene." (@milapantovich)

"The second most popular scene was the David Bowie song. I chose this entry because they guessed that I probably couldn't believe my luck in getting to co write a song with my musical hero." - Ricky Gervais
The Runner Up
"David Bowie singing ‘Little Fat Man’, simply for the fact that it is such a unique and hilarious piece of television. I’m such an avid fan of both RG and Bowie, being able to enjoy a moment like that is not something that every TV show can offer. I can only imagine the joy that Ricky Gervais must have experienced in writing that scene and knowing that David Bowie will soon be singing a song that he had written about him, albeit a song about being fat. The scene is such an awkward moment for him, at the height of his fame and unhappy that those around him are so close to him still (It wasn’t the best place to have the VIP area cordoned off halfway through a sitting area, I suppose). Truly a hilarious scene and I thank you for it."(@_RPS.)
Winner of this brilliant Runner Up prize is @_RPS

WELL DONE TO BOTH @milapantovich and @_RPS and thank you again to all that entered, a massive thanks to Ricky for taking the time to judge the entries and for Posteritty for donating these brilliant prizes.