After Life series 2: Will Ricky Gervais’s comedy return? When is it released? What we know so far

The comedian has another sitcom hit on his hands with the bittersweet Netflix show about a struggling widower. But will we see more of Tony and his friends and colleagues?

By Katie Archer Published: 20 February 2020 - 6.17pm
Netflix Comedy

Ricky Gervais

Netflix

If you’ve been trawling Netflix for another series to binge on recently, chances are you’ll have come across Ricky Gervais’ After Life.

Like many of the comedian’s shows, he both wrote and starred in it, and it features his style of humour at its melancholy best. 

But if six episodes proved too few for you, the great news is that there will be a second series.

When is After Life series 2 on Netflix?

After Life returns to Netflix on April 24th 2020 with 6 brand new episodes.

Set in the small fictitious town of Tambury, the comedy-drama series follows Tony (Ricky Gervais), a writer for the local newspaper whose life is upended after his wife dies from cancer. 

In series two, whilst still struggling with immense grief for his wife, we see Tony try to become a better friend to those around him. Each grappling with their own problems and only to be intensified by the looming threat of the local newspaper being shut down.

Will the town's local Am-Dram show lift everyone's spirits?

First pictures - season two

The first pictures released from season two suggest that despite the ending of season one, Tony's life is still bringing him plenty of despair.

He's holding his head in his hands in the local newspaper office as his colleagues gather around him

The pictures also reveal that there will be more flashbacks to his marriage with Kerry Godliman back playing his late wife.

The cast reunited on the set of After Life season two Netflix
Ricky Gervais and Kerry Godliman share a loving moment in a flashback in After Life season two Netflix

Who will it star?

Ricky, obviously – but there are plenty of other main characters we’re expecting to see more of, too.

His character Tony had fallen back in love with his job as a journalist at a local paper by the end of series one, so we’d expect to see more from his colleagues.

After Life Ricky Gervais and Penelope Wilton Netflix

That includes Tom Basden as Matt, his brother-in-law and boss; Tony Way as the paper’s photographer and Tony’s mate Lenny; Diane Morgan as head of advertising Kath; and Mandeep Dhillon as new reporter Sandy who Tony took under his wing.

We’re also expecting flashbacks featuring Tony’s late wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman), scenes with his new love interest Emma (Ashley Jensen), and we’re hoping to see Tony’s new friends, prostitute Daphne (Roisin Conaty) and widow Anne (Penelope Wilton), make a return.

There could also be another appearance from comedian Joe Wilkinson as Tony’s inept postman, Pat.

Ricky Gervais has also teased the introduction of a new character, who is involved in a scene that was so funny the cast couldn't complete it in full.

What happened in series 1?

We first met Tony a few months after his beloved wife Lisa’s death from cancer, when he’d decided the best way of living was to do and say exactly what he wanted all of the time.

But erstwhile nice guy Tony was putting backs up at work, where his boss was also his late wife’s brother, and his social life had collapsed, with only a homeless drug addict for company.

His friendship with addict Julian deepened when they discovered they were both dealing with the deaths of the women they loved, but took a dark turn when Tony gave Julian enough money for the amount of drugs he would need to kill himself.

After Life Ricky Gervais and Kerry Godliman Netflix

Meanwhile, Tony’s dad was suffering from Alzheimer’s, meaning that most of the time he couldn’t even remember who his son was.

But slowly, Tony started to pull himself out of the depths of his depression with help from old friends and new, including sex worker Daphne who he bonded with over Julian, widow Anne who he met at the graveyard, and cub reporter Sandy who decided she wanted to help her new colleague out.

By the end of the series, Tony had even got himself a date – with his dad’s care home nurse Emma, who was not afraid to call him out on being far too grumpy for his own good.

There’s no question that death and grieving is far from being the easiest subject for a sitcom, but Ricky and his co-stars managed to pull off a series that was uplifting as well as hilarious.

After Life season two - First look - Ricky Gervais and Ashley Jenson in the pub Netflix

What could happen in series 2?

It may have looked like life was so much on the up for Tony by the end of series one that there weren’t too many other places it could go – but Ricky has assured fans that his character will still be capable of being as rude as ever.

He also teased that there was “a little clue” as to what would happen in series two during his final graveside heart-to-heart with Anne.

In the scene, Tony says: "I'm going to carry on saying and doing what I want and punishing the world, but I'm going to punish people who deserve it. I'm going to use my superpower for good."

Of course, we’re also waiting to see how things pan out between Tony and Emma, whether his little nephew George has an easier time at school, and if Matt manages to save his marriage and keep the paper going.

After Life series 2 is due to stream on Netflix in 2020.

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