Ricky Gervais says After Life season 2 "might resonate even more" in challenging times
The writer and star of the Netflix series also explains why a follow-up to the 2019 hit was important.
This Friday (24th April), Ricky Gervais returns as grieving widower Tony in season two of his acclaimed Netflix series After Life and the writer/star thinks the show's themes "might resonate even more" with audiences during these trying times.
The new episodes continue the story of Gervais's character, a writer for a small local paper, as he struggles to cope with the loss of his beloved wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) and keeps a watchful eye over his ailing father Ray (David Bradley).
"I think there's always the time for reflecting on family, and the elderly, and all the things that matter in life – safety, and comfort, and health," Gervais told RadioTimes.com and other press. "I don't think there's ever a bad time to do that, it's just that we usually take [those things] for granted.
"[The show is] not about now, but I think it might resonate even more."
He added: "I hope people are in the right frame of mind to enjoy it, and maybe it'll make them feel a bit better. But it's still entertainment. It's not life-changing, it's not a lecture – it's still a sitcom, it's just about a very, very important issue."
The BAFTA winner also joked that After Life's return might prove especially welcome since audiences are desperate "for some good programmes". "I think they're tired of watching telly and it's people on Zoom talking to each other!" he laughed. "They want a high-budget thing, whatever it's about!"
The first six episodes of After Life, which landed on Netflix in March 2019, ended on a positive note with Tony appearing to find some solace in the company of his father's nurse, Emma (Ashley Jensen) – but Gervais suggested that it won't be plain sailing for his character as the show goes on.
"People thought that he was 'better' at the end of [season] one," he said. "Why? Because someone asked him out on a date and made him feel better for a minute?
"Is he 'over' depression? Is he 'over' his mental illness, his anxiety, his grief? No, he's not. He's just trying different ways to cope with it. It's up and down, like life."