Kerry Godliman interview for Derek


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Derek is on Channel 4 on Wednesdays at 10pm from 30th January 2013.

Kerry Godliman plays The Home's manager Hannah

Q: Please describe your character to us.

A: Hannah is the manager of the care home. She is very passionate and devoted to her job. She's a very loving person who doesn't want to judge at all. That's quite a rare trait. It's sometimes difficult to manage not to be judgemental. But Hannah just doesn't judge people at all, and that makes her a very good carer. It also makes Kev's presence manageable!

Q: Are there any similarities between you and Hannah?

A: I'd like to be more like Hannah. It's nice to play her because she is so kind and non-judgemental. Those are characteristics I'm working on in myself!

Q: How would you characterise Hannah's relationship with Derek?

A: They are friends who go back many years and have always enjoyed working together. She adores Derek. They have a very lovely friendship, and she thinks he's a great bloke. Her affection for him is really sweet. What she adores above all else is his selflessness, and she wishes more people would be like him. She has developed this affection for him that he values enormously. They depend on each other - Hannah doesn't have anything outside work. She feels Derek is one of the kindest people she has ever met. There is an absence of that in society, and he should be celebrated.

Q: Could it ever develop into a romance?

A: No. It's a platonic marriage. His understanding of that is not the same as yours or mine, and she could never reciprocate it. But it remains a very sweet relationship.

Q: Is there another love in her life?

A: Hannah is a bit unlucky in love. She fancies Tom and fantasises about a relationship with him, but that doesn't exist beyond her imagination. It doesn't ever quite get going - sometimes things just don't have the wind behind them. She's not enormously confident and gets frustrated.

Q: Do you think it's a good thing that this show does not always deliver happy endings?

A: Yes. I love the fact that Ricky says things are not always going to turn out how you'd hope. That's true of a lot of relationships. It's not due to a lack of will, but sometimes it simply feels like pushing a boulder uphill. Tom and Hannah are very scared of jumping into a relationship, making a horrible mistake and hurting each other. You could have shot them running across Broadstairs beach and leaping into each other's arms like a glossy, traditional love story. But this show isn't like that.

Q: How have you found it working with Ricky?

A: It's been brilliant. He works really fast, so it can go by in the blink of an eye. But there are still tons of opportunities to try out new ideas. Overall, though, we don't take the mick because it's so precisely written. Ricky arrived with the characters really well formed - they were very well fleshed out from the beginning. But we are still able to do loads of improvising. Ricky is so creative - it's a pleasure being able to enjoy his whole world.

Q: What has it been like working on the care home set [in fact, a disused RAF base in Uxbridge]?

A: It's been great. Broad Hill Residential Care Home for the Elderly is a lovely world, and now it has started feel like my world. It felt very warm and magical and cosy. As the shoot has gone on, this has felt more and more like a real creative bubble. It's a very nourishing environment. You feel the benevolence and love and affection between the carers and the residents. There's a lot of tenderness and respect there. That's been great.

Q: Have you enjoyed working with Karl?

A: Yes, it's been really good fun. I didn't know him before, but he is the most unpretentious person I've ever met. I don't know how he has remained so unaffected.

Q: Do you think this series could help to overturn a few stereotypes about older people?

A: Yes, I think it could help audiences view older people differently and be more respectful towards them. I don't think we're very respectful towards the elderly at the moment. We're scared of old age. But people forget that old people were once young. Sometimes you hear youngsters say, "You mustn't swear in front of that old man," but the old man replies, "swearing was not invented just 20 years ago, you know. I wasn't always old." It's about keeping a young mind. We're obsessed with youth in this country, so it is great to see a show like this that celebrates older people.

Q: You also have a very successful career as a stand-up comedian, don't you?

A: Yes, it's great because it means I always have something to fall back on. It makes me more relaxed when I'm acting, because I know if I have a quiet period, I can always go back to stand up. They're both forms of performance, but very different worlds.

Q: You are recording an episode of Live at the Apollo soon. How will you prepare for that?

A: I'll sit on a tiny box in the foetal position for a day, dribbling [laughs]. No, I'm sure I'll have a mild panic attack and then just get on with it. I have played the Hammersmith Apollo before, when I supported Micky Flanagan, and it's a lovely room. Sometimes bigger crowds are nicer than smaller ones, because the laughs spread out across the venue. It can be tremendous fun. It's a great thing to do.

Q: Finally, do you see a long future for Derek?

A: Absolutely. It's not just about Derek and Hannah. It's about all the residents. So many lovely characters reside at the nursing home, and they all have amazing stories. It could go anywhere. There are endless tales still to be told.

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