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I TALK TO Kerry Godliman & Holli Dempsey

I caught up with Kerry Godliman & Holli Dempsey ahead of the new series of Derek and here's what the two of them had to say about becoming a 'double act', working with Ricky and the public reaction to their characters.

They play Hannah and Vicky.Hannah has worked at Broad Hill Retirement home for over 15 years and runs the place day-to-day.

In this series we get to learn a lot more about as we witness her and Tom trying for a baby. Whilst there are some very funny moments, these are often mirrored with really dramatic moments - something Derek does really well but one thing remains, and that's that Hannah is still the salt of the earth.

We were first introduced to Vicky in Series 1 when she had to carry out community service at the home, and back them she was quite a hard character with not a lot going for her, or a lot for us to love about her.

But now, working for Hannah, the two of them over the course of series 2 build up a very close relationship that plays out beautifully on screen and off-screen too it seems.

Are you beginning to feel more like a double act now that your characters are more established?

Kerry: It's nice yeah. It has sort of fleshed out with Ricky being able to go further with the second series and now Hannah's function isn't solely to be the manager of a Retirement Home, there's our connection and friendship is shown.

So that's been quite nice because it fleshes it all out doesn't it?

Holli: Yeah, I think it's a bit of an accident as well, because I didn't come in with any of that intention, it's happened organically.

I think Ricky (Gervais) saw bits, and even watching series one, my mum said there were similarities between our attitude.

I think Vicky and Hannah see similarities in one another and I think I'd like to be a bit like you (Hannah) and you see a bit of your younger self in Vicky.

Kerry: To rescue that younger self. Because she can see that Vicky could potentially go off the rails and to prevent that from happening - because she hasn't got much of a mother figure and doesn't have any role models, Hannah takes it upon herself to say - "Well I'll get you on track... get you on the straight."

Do you see the relationship between Hannah and Vicky more like mother and daughter as opposed to sisterly?

Kerry: I think Hannah would say - "Older sister, younger sister" (Laughs) - but yeah, I think it's got a mentory vibe to it.

How would you describe Vicky then? Would you say she's a 'chav with a heart'?

Holli: I don't like the word chav personally, it demonises the working classes. (Laughs) But... I do know what you mean but that and she has been described as that before. But yeah, she definitely has a heart. 'Tart with a heart' I quite like! That's OK. (Laughs). I think you see a lot more of it in series two. Series one she's a year younger, and that's a big year at that age. She's got a tough exterior which she's always needed, and she comes in with it, and nothing in there is cool. But I think in series two she's grown up a bit and she's seen what's important in life and that's taking care of people and looking after people.

Kerry: What I like about that character is that she's had a crap life. And she hasn't had a good deal. She probably didn't have a good schooling and she hasn't had a nice family support and that is possibly the outcome of not having a good start. And you might fall into crime and you might get lost and that can happen and if you don't find someone or something like kindness and love that she seems to have found in Broadhill.

There's that lovely scene in episode four where Hannah's about to go the Doctor's and Vicky drops everything...

Kerry: Yes! That was beautifully set up... she (Vicky) wants this guy to ring and then the guy's history once there's this need. It was nicely set up that scene.

Is it strange when Ricky's on set in full Derek mode and then suddenly switches into Director mode? Is that how it works?

Kerry: It's interesting isn't it?

Holli: I'd say it's more the other way around. It's more sort of being on set with Ricky and then his jaw comes out and I love seeing that. I mean there's nothing better than seeing that. This is why I admire him so much, because you see him thinking things and then he just goes into it. I think he lives through Derek quite a bit.

Kerry: It's fluid. He can move around the two characters alarmingly well! (Laughs). It's interesting.

What has the feedback been like for Vicky and Hannah? What have people been saying?

Kerry: Lovely. Lovely feedback. Holli never got any negative feedback even when she (Vicky) was a bit feisty did she?

Holli: No.

Kerry: They're very warm people. Possibly in difficult predicaments, but Hannah without a doubt has had a blanket response of niceness.

Holli: I think Derek the whole show, gives you more of an insight into real humans. Whereas if Vicky was just doing a short interview, she'd come across exactly how she wants you to think she is. But you see deeper than that, like with Geoff, you can think - "He's an asshole", but then you see just behind that that - "Oh, actually he's just a loser" and you feel sorry for him.

I think that's what Ricky wanted for his character, he didn't just want people to hate Vicky or Geoff, you want to feel a bit sorry for them - because that's real life. People aren't usually horrible for no reason, there usually seems to be a reason behind it.

Does Ricky (Gervais) give you any freedom to change the dialogue or is he quite strict with what he's written?

Kerry: There's a parameter. There's certain necessity because of narrative obviously, but then there's certain lines that of course he wants in or to be hit but there's a looseness as well. We're allowed to pitch in and stay in character, the camera keeps rolling and if he likes it he'll keeps it.

Holli: Yeah, it has been from the very beginning. I know from my first audition I was able to just riff and got the job on some of the things I came up with. I think he knew you (Kerry) beforehand so he had an idea for the character.

Kerry: Yeah, but we're allowed! Especially with the talking heads, because sometimes within a scene it's a bit more prescriptive and certain things have to be achieved but with those talking heads - again they're kind of written, but also we're allowed to improvise and that's good for those because they have to be super naturalistic. To make a talking head seem real, you've got to be in a certain place, because you're not performing at all. It's meant to be a complete real moment.

Would you say there are any similarities between yourselves and the characters you play?

Kerry: Oh I wish there were. (Laughs) I wish I was more like Hannah. She's so good. She'd go straight to heaven that woman. Patience and compassion... I could do with a bit more of that! She has the capacity to be very aggressive, and it's probably not something she's very proud of.

In the pilot she sort of expresses shame about her capacity to be like that, because it's a loss of control but... similar to Vicky's background she is from the streets a little bit. That is where she gets her power. It's very easy, especially with women characters sometimes, to make them very broad and the mother, the carer or the bitch or the whore or whatever, so you're playing around with those stereotypes. She is the carer and the mother - although she's not a mother but a motherer, yet she'll nut you. (Laughs). Totally justified aggression.

Derek returns Wednesday 23rd April at 10pm on Channel 4

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