Ricky Gervais is dismayed by celebrity culture and finds it worrying that so many people are "desperate" to be known.

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais

The 55-year-old actor is shocked by modern society's obsession with fame and the effect it has had on people's behaviour, and he believes social media trolling has directly come from it.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper, he said: "There's no difference now between fame and infamy. I don't know where it's going to end. We've got trolls who are rewarded with a column in a newspaper. People would rather be laughed at and despised than not be known. They need to go, 'I was here.'

"People want a voice and they get desperate and go, 'Look at me.' Serial killers want to be famous.

"Not all celebrities are terrible. But it's often the ones who shout loudest that get heard. I think it is quite dangerous."

The comedian - whose long-term partner is author Jane Fallon - also claimed that talent shows such as 'The X Factor' are to blame for people's increased interest in becoming famous, describing Simon Cowell's show as a con.

He added: "We're all victims of it. We are conned all the time. When people go on 'The X Factor', they know deep down it's a lie.

"They know that for every one person that's got a career, 10,000 are back in the shoe shop. It's the same mentality as people playing the lottery. They think, 'Someone's going to win it, it might be me.'

"Everybody wants to be famous. Now, anyone can get on television if you're willing to either be good or make an absolute prat of yourself."

Gervais - who can be seen in new comedy film 'David Brent: Life On The Road' - also hit out at the success of the Kardashian family, insisting the actions of Kim Kardashian West and her sisters do not set a good example to young people.

He said: "If a little girl sees Kim Kardashian making £50 million from just being herself, why is that little girl going to train to be a doctor?"