Ricky Gervais rubs some people up the wrong way. Even those that you think would be on his side tend to be repelled by the sense of self-satisfaction that emanates from the screen when he’s on it, while his line of taste-busting humour has infuriated many. In Derek, his portrayal of a vulnerable man working in a care home is a whole other ballgame entirely. And yet, for a man who seems to have been born to cackle, his light touch when it comes to the tender side of life is assured. Anyone who followed The Office from start to finish would have surely been moved by David Brent’s meltdown, not to mention the Christmas conclusion of the Tim/Dawn story.
And here he is again, grappling with our emotions in After Life as he plays (mainly with a straight bat) Tony, a man who feels that his existence is pointless having become a widower when his wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) succumbed to cancer. In this second series, will he become a better friend to those around him or are they set to continually feel the sharp and sarcastic end of his grief-stricken wrath? ■ After Life is available on Netflix, Fri 24 Apr.
1 Apr–31 May 2020 THE LIST 13