Ricky Gervais to write second series of After Life for Netflix

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Ricky Gervais’s After Life, about a man who decides life without his late wife is meaningless, has been commissioned for a second series by Netflix.

Its second six-episode season will run in 2020.

“I have never had a reaction like this before,” he said. “It’s been insane. And heart-warming.”

Series one, which written and directed by Gervais, was released in March and was praised for both its comedy and handling of bereavement.

His co-stars included his Extras castmate Ashley Jensen, Penelope Wilton, Paul Kaye, David Bradley and Diane Morgan.

Comedian Kerry Godliman plays his late wife, who appears in a series of home videos, watched by Gervais’s character.

Gervais added: “I have to make sure the second season is even better so I’ll probably have to work much harder than usual. Annoying really.”

Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said: “After Life has moved audiences from laughter to tears around the world,” adding they were “thrilled” to announce the second series.

Gervais plays local journalist Tony Johnson, whose world is shattered after his wife dies. Although he considers taking his own life, he instead decides to punish the world by saying and doing whatever he likes.

Reviews of the first series included The Telegraph saying it “shines in a laconic, scorched-earth portrait of grief”, while The Guardian said it had a “wildly swerving tone – from obnoxious to sentimental to caustic to maudlin to pointlessly vile”.

The Mirror said it had “crushing honesty, showing us what loss is really like”, while Forbes added: “This is a show worth watching because the tight-rope it’s managing to walk is nothing short of astounding.”

Fan site FansFest said the show “teaches us that it’s ok to feel hurt and alone, but that we can also make the world a better place”.

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