The ac­tor and writer has reprised his clas­sic comic fig­ure David Brent and thrown him into a very dif­fer­ent world than that of 15 years ago

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - LAURA HARD­ING

Ricky Ger­vais says his David Brent char­ac­ter is “not so bad” com­pared with the “ruth­less Dlis­ters” com­pet­ing on Celebrity Big Brother.

Ger­vais shot to fame play­ing the of­fice man­ager 15 years ago on the BBC mock­u­men­tary The Of­fice, but the ac­tor, writer and di­rec­tor says the na­ture of fame is very dif­fer­ent now.

His new film David Brent: Life On The Road catches up with Brent, who is now a trav­el­ling sales­man for a per­sonal hy­giene com­pany.

How­ever, Brent has not given up on his dream of mak­ing it as a rock star and is about to em­bark on a self­fi­nanced UK tour with his re­sent­ful band Fore­gone Con­clu­sion, who are just in it for the money.

“The im­por­tant thing about this film is, the world has changed. Back in the day he (Brent) was on one of those quaint do­cu­soaps where an or­di­nary per­son got their 15 min­utes and that was it,” Ger­vais, 55, said.

“Nowa­days fame is more ruth­less, it’s more in­sa­tiable.

“Peo­ple live their life like an open wound. They do any­thing to be fa­mous and he just can’t com­pete with that.

“There is a new breed of peo­ple that go on Celebrity Big Brother and they are re­warded for do­ing ter­ri­ble things.

“It’s an un­writ­ten con­tract with the pro­gram mak­ers.

“They prom­ise they will do ter­ri­ble things and the pro­gram mak­ers go: ‘OK, as long as you do ter­ri­ble things we will let you on the show and you can get another book deal or what­ever’.

“That is what it’s all about now and he’s out of touch and out of time and he’s al­most bul­lied now. He’s the un­der­dog, and we re­alise he wasn’t so bad com­pared to to­day’s ruth­less D-lis­ter.

“I watch Celebrity Big Brother and think: ‘This is like a zoo’, they are just run­ning around rut­ting. ‘You’re on telly mate, what are you do­ing?’ David At­ten­bor­ough should film Big Brother.”

Ger­vais said tele­vi­sion had changed greatly since he made The Of­fice, adding: “Even real doc­u­men­tary is more in­tru­sive th­ese days.

“You wouldn’t have heard about (Brent’s) break­down in The Of­fice be­cause they were po­liter times, but now it’s: ‘We will do a doc­u­men­tary but you had bet­ter go to your low­est ebb for us, you had bet­ter break down on cam­era’.”

Asked if he thought it had be­come a cru­eller medium, he said: “I don’t know if TV is cru­eller but it’s a vi­cious cir­cle be­cause if peo­ple didn’t watch it, they wouldn’t make it.

“We are all guilty. We watch Big Brother.

“I don’t watch Big Brother to see 12 peo­ple get along qui­etly, why would I do that?

“There is some­thing in us that does want drama, but it is like putting a red ant and a black ant in a jar and shak­ing it like when you’re a kid, we want to see which one wins.” opens Au­gust 25

Ricky Ger­vais, seen here as his al­ter ego David Brent, has his fin­ger firmly on the pulse on the ever-chang­ing price of fame.

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