Ricky Gervais has revealed that he gets more pleasure out of making his own TV shows than others may get from watching them.

The funnyman – whose new series of Derek will premiere on Channel 4 on Wednesday night – admitted that making people laugh and making money could not be further from his mind when he creates new projects.

“I do this for myself. I do it for the sheer pleasure of it and I always have. I did it ’cause I loved it when I was poor and I do it because I love it now I’m rich,” he said.

“I don’t care if you watch, I don’t care if you don’t like it.”

Ricky added he is used to hearing criticism of his shows, including Derek – a comedy drama about a naive middle-aged man working in a care home – but said he wasn’t worried what others thought.

“People often think my work is cynical. I am always aware that whenever I launch a new show I feel like I am landing at Normandy, I can hear the bullets, but you’ve still got to open the door,” he said.

He added that Derek – whose pilot episode was screened on Channel 4 last spring – was the ‘kindest’ programme he had ever done, and said that his earlier shows were less cynical than most thought.

“The Office was always about hope. Same with Extras. It looked like a biting satire against fame, but it was about a group of friends, really. I like happy endings,” Ricky said.