As he celebrates his 59th birthday today, we look back on Ricky Gervais’ very successful career so far – both as an actor and comedian.
Whether you know him as David Brent from The Office or just as a much-loved British figure, Ricky Gervais is a true British talent that has brought us some of our favourite comedy moments.
Gervais was born in Reading on this day back in 1961. During his final year as a student at University College London, Ricky began his journey in the music industry as him as his friend Bill Macrae formed the pop duo “Seona Dancing”. They were signed by London Records, however they failed to get any of their hits into the official UK Singles Chart.
After his stint in music, Gervais turned towards comedy and TV. His early years in Television saw him contribute several sketches towards the BAFTA winning show The Sketch Show. However, his mainstream- TV on-screen debut was in September 1998 on the Comedy Lab. Ricky attracted more attention from the public when he appeared in The 11 O’Clock Show as a character who made a few politically-incorrect statements…
In August 1999, Stephen Merchant had to make a short film for his production course and created a docu-soap parody with the main character David Brent. The tape was passed on to the BBC Head of Entertainment Paul Jackson, who then passed it on to the Head of Comedy Jon Plowman and The Office was commissioned for a series.
Ricky Gervais was of course cast as arrogant boss David Brent for a six-episode series. The series aired in July and August 2001, however it did not gain much attention, only through word of mouth and repeats of the episodes. After the series gained more popularity and the second series was broadcast, Gervais’s portrayal as David Brent named him the “most powerful person in TV comedy” by the Radio Times.
The Office won the “Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy” and Gervais won “Best Actor for Television Series Musical or Comedy”. Not only was Gervais recognised for his comical character, but this opened more opportunities for him and his career in America.
Gervais went on to produce many more series which proved popular with audiences over the next few years including Extras (2005-2007), The Ricky Gervais Show (2010-2012), An Idiot Abroad (2010-2012), Derek (2012-2014), and more recently, the critically acclaimed Netflix series After Life.
Currently, Gervais lived between his homes in London and Buckinghamshire, as well as having other places such as an apartment in the Big Apple (not too bad). He lives with his long term-partner Jane Fallon – a producer and author – whom he has been in a relationship with since 1982.
They have always decided to stay unmarried as they have said: “there’s no point in us having an actual ceremony before the eyes of Hod because there is no God.” They also decided to not have children together as they “didn’t fancy dedicating 16 years of [their] lives”.
Ultimately, Ricky Gervais is a true British talent that is not only good at what he does but have provided us all with some amazing comical highlights on our TV screens. Who can forget David Brent’s infamous dance?!
By Katie Green
Feature image: The Talks