Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Exclusive interview with David Earl - Derek’s Kev

Well, it’s another exclusive for – an interview with David Earl who Derek fans all know as Kev. Kev is the ultimate bullshitter – a lazy drunk who always has a can of Special Brew in hand. As David said in his interview on the Ricky Gervais blog, Kev is “like a dog that no one strokes. He just sits in the corner and wants to be fondled, but just gets ignored.” Kev is full of it, but he certainly has a place in the hearts of viewers. David’s acted some of the funniest scenes of the series – from his ‘8oz blood sausage,’ his ‘hand pump after hand pump after hand pump,’ to his pornography hunt in the library – all memorable, yet somewhat cringeworthy moments of the show.

Kev and Derek - "8oz of pure blood sausage"

So who is the star behind Kev? He’s David Earl, who, since his former job as a gardener, has graced our TV screens in hit shows Extras, Gittins and now Derek. He’s also appeared in films such as Cemetery Junction and you might have heard him on his online radio show.

David is well-known and well-loved on the stand-up circuit as his alter ego Brian Gittins. David supported Ricky Gervais on his 2009 tour and this year as Brian, he continues to tour the UK.

Brian Gittins - David Earl's alter ego

Besides knowing a lot about Kev and Brian Gittins, I didn't know a lot about David, so it was great to speak to him.

Wikipedia introduces you as a South African composer and pianist. Shit. That’s the wrong David Earl. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
No, that is me. I am a South African composer and pianist. I also dabble with trombones.

David Earl - South African composer and pianist

When I first contacted you, you stated that you don’t really enjoy interviews, what made you cave in?
Well, everyone else was doing it and I thought it might be a bit weird if I didn't. 

Kev has some great lines in Derek, but it’s your delivery that I love so much. Do you enjoy playing Kev?
Yeh. I do a lot of slouching around, grunting etc. And I very much enjoy saying words like 'quim' and 'venereal disease'. My Mum's over the moon.

Daniel Day-Lewis is known for staying in character throughout filming. Do you stay in character between takes?
No, that's insane.

What do the elderly actors in Derek think of your character? I only ask because my grandparents would be disgusted!
I think they all just thought Kev was a bit of an idiot. During one scene I had to do some stand up to all of them and so I took a few jokes from my own set and Margaret (91) in particular, was chuckling along. I genuinely couldn't believe it. Made my day. I wanted to carry on and do 40 minutes, but I had to get off as we were filming a TV show called 'Derek'. I wish Margaret would come to all of my gigs.

So far your on-screen chemistry with Dougie is very ‘chalk and cheese,’ but it’s a double act that works so well. Do they secretly have a soft spot for one another?
Yeh, definitely. If anything happened to Dougie, Kev would be there to help like a shot. More or less.

What was it like on set with all that array of talent?
I was fearful to begin with. I would very often sit and watch (Ricky, Karl and Kerry) from the sidelines and think 'oh, they're acting brilliantly again, oh, Christ it's my turn'. And then I'd watch the crew and think 'oh bloody hell they know what they're doing as well'. What am I doing here? I'm a South African pianist who dabbles in trombones!?

What advice would you give to anyone that thinks they are like Kev?
Put some talc down your pants and believe in yourself.

I've read that you’re a gardener by trade – how did you break into comedy? How did you get your big break?
Making a silly short film that Ricky managed to see. He liked it. That gave me the kick up the arse I needed. Just plodded on from there.

With appearances in Cemetery Junction, Extras, Gittins and now Derek, your career in the entertainment industry looks to be really taking off, where would you like to take it?
I've always loved sitcoms. That's what I would like to create. My own sitcom. Incredibly hard thing to get right though...

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Viv Richards. I was/am a huge cricket fan and he was a God to me when I was growing up.

Who do you most admire in the entertainment world and why?
Absolutely no idea.

Can you tell us one thing about David Earl that most of us wouldn't already know?
Lower back problems. Went up for a header in '85 and landed badly. Never really recovered.

What’s next for you? What are you working on?
My sister's lawn. It'll need mowing pretty soon.

Have you got a message for Derek fans?
Thanks for liking the show. It means a lot.

Thanks David for talking to me – it was especially great to learn about your lower back problems and your plans to mow your sisters lawn. I know you don’t enjoy giving interviews so this is very much appreciated.

If you don’t already, I’d urge you to follow @BRIANGITTINS1 on Twitter. There is so much wisdom and so much charm on his feed. You can also listen to his radio show at

© M. A. Sibson
Twitter: @tadpole_hitler


  1. What's got 2 legs & bleeds? Half a dog!

  2. Such come to bed eyes! You can bowl me over in Balcome David.