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Ricky Gervais: Women are treated as 'props' in film, TV and 'particularly comedy'

The Derek creator says he loves to write more interesting female characters

Ricky Gervais has criticised the way that women are often portrayed in film and television.

The British comedian, 52, told Radio Times that he loves writing more complex female characters "because usually they’re props, particularly in comedy".

"Even in Hollywood, they're usually air heads or if they’re ambitious they're straight away cold and need to be taught a lesson," he said. "They need to show that getting a man is more important than getting a career. Or they’re just props for men to do funny things."

Gervais, creator of hit shows Derek and The Office, continued to speak about his own childhood.

“People think that men rule the world but they don’t, really,” he argued. “That was never my experience growing up and certainly not at Broad Hill (the elderly care home in Derek). Men, when they’re together, revert to the playground.”

Next month sees Derek return for a second series on Channel 4, with Gervais hinting at some “good, modern girl power” and a “real sisterhood” between Broad Hill manager Hannah (Kerry Godliman) and her younger employee Vicky (Holli Dempsey).

Gervais plays the title character, Derek Noakes, a compassionate helper at the home who seems to have learning difficulties.