Ricky Gervais reveals why his shows have short lifespans: “The exciting thing is starting again”

Could his Netflix series After Life end after two seasons?

David Bradley in After Life

You might be on your gazillionth rewatch of The Office or Extras while in lockdown, but Ricky Gervais has revealed he’s never watched one of his old shows back.

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The writer/star of Netflix’s After Life told RadioTimes.com that while he’s always “very proud” of past projects, he’s always eager to move on to new ideas and concepts.

“I don’t let it go, I’m still very proud of it… but I don’t watch it again,” he said of series past. “I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and watched an old series. I watched it 70 times in the edit!

“But I’m still very proud of it, and you learn from it, and you change and you evolve.”

though he’s admitted to being tempted to write a third series of After Life, None of Gervais’s previous series have lasted longer than two series and a special – because, he says, “the exciting thing is starting again”.

“It’s very tempting when you hit a winning formula to do a 100 episodes, but apart from the money, and the ease of it, [there’s no reason to],” he explained. “The exciting thing is starting again, that challenge again… and it is like starting again.

“People think that if you have a massive, succesful series, the second thing you do is the same. It’s not, it’s worse! People go, ‘Go on then – let’s see if you can do it twice, I bet you can’t!’ – that’s what the attitude’s like.”

After Life – Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen
Netflix

Gervais previously told RadioTimes.com that he would only make a third season of After Life for Netflix if it was “a real demanded-for encore”.

“I wouldn’t do it for the sake of it,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it just to get paid, or because they [Netflix] want another three hours on their platform. It’s got to be that people really want more.

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“It’s a really daunting task, a third series… so it’s really got to be wanted.”

After Life season 2 is streaming now on Netflix. To watch RadioTimes.com’s full interview with Ricky Gervais, head to facebook.com/radiotimes at 7pm on Friday (1st May) for a live premiere.