we are all going to die and there's nothing we can do about it

Publication Date15 January 2022
Publication titleBirmingham Mail (England)
Lisa Godliman)

One of the reasons After Life has been such a success is how raw and emotional it is; seemingly out of nowhere, you'll be a hit with a gut-wrenching moment.

After all, the subject of death and life after death is something that we often avoid. Has creating, writing, directing, and starring in this show made Ricky think about his own mortality more?

"I've always thought about it," he muses. "I studied science and biology. I know the circle of life.

"I knew that from an early age; that you live, you get old, you die and that's it. I've been an atheist since I was about eight or nine.

"I studied philosophy, so I had to think of those things.

"I do a podcast with (neuroscientist) Sam Harris and it always gets around to mortality, death, morality, 'what's the point' - all those things.

"But I don't think of it in a morbid way; we are all going to die and there's nothing we can do about it.

"I think it's beautiful that life is finite."

A few of the quirky and outlandish characters Tony has met through his work at the Tambury Gazette come further to the fore in these six episodes - such as Brian, played by David Earl, who has some of the more vulgar jokes in the series.

I think beautiful that is finite Ricky

Then there are the scenes with Matt (Tom Basden), who is Lisa's caring younger brother and Tony's boss, as the editor of the Tambury Gazette.

There's a poignant exploration of how Matt's grief was put to one side after his sister's death because the focus was on Tony. It feels rare to see men talking about their emotions and mental health on screen in such a candid way.

Ricky thinks that's partly the fault of broadcasters and creators, because "they're second-guessing the audience and they go, 'Maybe they don't want to see this'.

"And I think that's not true - I think people want to see themselves," he continues.

"All the feedback I've had was people going, 'When I lost my partner, or my mum, I was angry like that', and they think, 'Oh yeah, that's normal. It's OK to be not OK'.

"And also, most TV comedies don't want to go there - they don't want to bring people down, because they think they can't make it funny.

"Most heroes in dramas, you don't see them crying, because it's like a weakness and heroes shouldn't have weaknesses which, again, it's not true."

it's life Gervais

Some of the lighter moments in the new episodes come from Tony and Matt competing against each other in various sports.

It's Matt's idea because he's worried about Tony's...

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