After Life season 4: Ricky Gervais shares real reason series had to end ‘Perfect length

Ricky Gervais says he 'can't think of a better ending' for After Life

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The third and final season of After Life will bring grieving Tony’s (played by Ricky Gervais) story to an inevitably tear-jerking close. Netflix viewers have watched Tony battle with the death of his wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) over the course of two seasons so far but have been uplifted by the love and hope he’s found from those around him in the fictional town of Tambury. Speaking to Lauren Laverne on her BBC Radio 6 show on Wednesday, Ricky opened up about what fans can expect from the final run and why season four won’t happen.

During the chat with Lauren, she asked: “Is season three about him finding fulfilment for himself? Finding his own reasons to keep going?”

Ricky delved into the details of what lies ahead for Tony in his final stint.

“No spoilers, but he finds the reasons to live in that he can be some good in the world even if he’s not completely happy,” he began.

Ricky continued: “There’s a part of it that he’s resigned to he’s had his life and he’s happy with it. 

“He’s not trying to replace Lisa because he knows he can’t but he does say, ‘If I can find a reason to get up in the morning, I’d love that’. And he does in a way.”

When probed about Tony’s relationship with Emma and an all-around conclusion, Ricky replied: “I mean, there’s sort of a conclusion.”

The After Life creator revealed he toyed with more than one potential endings for the hit Netflix show

He added: “It ends – I can’t think of a better ending than it and I came up with about four or five and I plumped for this one. 

“The problem with ending a sitcom is – it [After Life] almost negates the genre. With a movie say, it’s got a beginning, middle and end whereas a sitcom is all middle.”

“It has the natural reset it’s called?” Lauren chipped as Ricky continued: “Exactly, and this is slightly different to that because this does have a beginning, middle and end.”

The Office star then admitted why the reasons After Life can’t go beyond season three, explaining the number of episodes is the “perfect length”.

“You have to decide when that [the ending] comes and I think 18 episodes is about as long as it can be,” he continued.

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“It might even be the perfect length. They’re [the episodes are] shorter than your average sitcom, they’re 26 minutes, you know, 

“So I think you look at it like it’s seven or eight hours in a man’s life and I think it’s just about right.”

While the 18-episode run may come as a blow to fans of the series, it’s not out of the norm for Ricky.

The award-winning writer and actor is no stranger to bringing his projects to a close while they remain in their peak.

The BAFTA-winning The Office only ran for two seasons and a festive special and remains one of the highest-regarded British comedies to this day.

Similarly, with Emmy-winning sitcom Extras, Ricky and writing partner Stephen Merchant decided two seasons and a special was enough.

However, while Ricky may be saying goodbye to Tony and After Life, he shows no signs of slowing down as he confirmed his return to the stage for his stand-up tour, SuperNature.

After Life season 3 premieres on Netflix on Friday, January 14.

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