Do you really feel that films are more 'important' than TV?
"Well, I don't personally. I think they're equally as important. But most people do - and that's why there's so much bad TV.
"A lot of people think of TV as throwaway. It can be, and some disposable television is fun. But I don't want to make it. There's plenty of it to go round.
"People in TV, they make a bad programme and they get promoted. They're literally just filling a schedule with all this 'cheap' programming.
"I just think, 'Fuck that. Let's do The Sopranos! Let's just do things as good as The Sopranos and have telly not start until 8 O'Clock. If all you do is feed people cheap shit, then that's all they know."
The people who watch nothing but throwaway telly... If you could get them to watch the good stuff, they'd probably enjoy it.
"I think they would. People are smarter than they know. There is something abhorrent about force-feeding them crap because it's what they want - or what they think they want.
"It's self-perpetuating. It's like the magazines that show a picture of Cameron Diaz with a pimple or somebody getting out of a car accidentally showing their knickers... I don't know who wants that. If the magazines weren't there, would people be going, 'I need to see Lindsay Lohan getting out of a car!' They wouldn't..."
Is that what you're trying to do with The Invention Of Lying? Smuggle in a subversive message in the guise of something that looks like a traditional romantic comedy?
"Yeah, we did it on purpose. I like the high-concept nature of it, because it gets you to a very clean place, where you can dispense the comedy or satire. It's a nice, clean idea - a world where lying doesn't even register as an option.
It's also escapist. If I'm gonna do a Hollywood comedy, I don't want to do something like The Office or some kind of worthy documentary. I want to do something lasting and timeless like It's A Wonderful Life."
A sort of godless version of the Frank Capra universe.
"Yeah, exactly. As much as I love those films, they all assume an afterlife. This one does the opposite for a change.
"The Invention Of Lying was criticised by some quite erudite, intelligent reviewers who said it would have been a fantastic film had it not been atheist propaganda. I thought, 'Really? Atheist propaganda!?' Reviews that said, 'Why oh why does Mr Gervais have to shove this down our throat?'
"I thought, 'Hang on! It's the other way around. People sell bibles door to door. People preach every Sunday, they send their children to denominational schools. That's shoving it down your throat. One person dares to suggest there might not be a god and he's lambasted for pushing an agenda! The balance is still pretty strongly in favour of the religious side! Let's get this in context..."