The third season of Ricky Gervais’ black comedy-drama After Life has finally dropped on Netflix – and thankfully, its return is as bleak and brilliant as ever.


However, the arrival of After Life season 3 is bittersweet for Gervais fans, who will have to wave goodbye to Tony Johnson and the rest of the Tambury crew in season 3, which marks the last instalment of the series.

But as disappointing as that is for those who would happily remain in the company of Tony Johnson and co for further episodes, fans will be pleased to hear that it’s ending on Gervais’s own terms. After Life wraps up as a fully formed series, complete with a conclusive ending, which will be music to the ears of those who have followed it from the beginning.

After Life wraps up as a fully formed series, complete with a conclusive ending (which you can read about here, but be warned: spoilers follow), which will be music to the ears of those who have followed it from the beginning.

"The reason I thought it had legs for a third series, unlike the others [I've made], was that I've created such a big world," Gervais told "It's a massive world, with so many characters, and it's about a bigger issue and bigger subjects. I needed a bit more time."

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He went on to say that he "didn't plan the third", adding: "I never plan a second. I hope there's a second, but I even made the first season [in a way] that it could end there if something happened. Like if no one watched it, if the broadcaster said, 'That was the biggest flop ever', or I got hit by a bus.

"And I never really planned the third until it happened. I said to Netflix, 'I'll do a third if the second goes down a storm', because you don't want to do it for the sake of it. You want it to be demanded."

Would Gervais ever be tempted to revisit these characters and the fictional town of Tambury, especially given that 100 million households have watched the series to date, according to Netflix's own figures?

"I've really got to end it now," he said. "It's mad to end it now. It seems mad on every level, but I think it's the right decision artistically. It's a finite story, and that's its strength.

And that's a definite no?

"Never say never," he said diplomatically. "You never know what's going to happen. But at the moment, I'm 99% sure this should be it. I don't think I can top that ending. And it's not the end. It's there forever. It'll always be around. People are watching it for the 10th time. And hopefully, they're going to be watching it when I'm dead.

"I think it's the right decision [to leave it there]. In 10 years' time, I think I'll be proved right.'

Ricky Gervais blowing an airhorn
Ricky Gervais in After Life season 3 (Netflix) Netflix / Ray Burmiston

While it's unlikely that we'll meet the likes of Kath (Diane Morgan), Lenny (Tony Way) and Brian (David Earl) again, Gervais intends to reunite the cast further down the line: "I'm going to work with all these people again. The chance of us all getting together again is astronomical."

But whether any of them will appear in his next project with the streamer remains to be seen.

"[Netflix] are happy with me," he said. "They bought the next thing. It was either the fourth series of [After Life], or the first series of the new thing, and I'm going for the new series. And I don't even know what that is yet. But they're very happy for me to carry on. They're happy with [After Life] ending.

"I don't want to play one role or write one thing for the rest of my life. And the public don't either. They think they might, but they don't."


After Life season 3 is available to stream now on Netflix. See what else is on with our TV Guide, or visit our Drama hub for all the latest news.