To celebrate the release of a brand new series of After Life, Netflix has teamed up with a mental health initiative to bring a part of the show to a number of cities in the UK. The series, written by Ricky Gervais, follows Tony a local journalist who is often seen sitting on a bench in a churchyard as he reflects on the death of his wife.
As part of the arrival of the third series, which came to Netflix on January 14, 25 benches across the UK have been commissioned with suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and one of the benches being donated by Netflix will be located in Bristol’s Ashton Court. The benches are inscribed with a crucial line from the show “Hope is everything” and will feature QR codes leading to online resources and a message of support.
Ricky Gervais, who shared a picture of the map of where to find an After Life bench near you, has urged people to “visit and take a selfie”. He tweeted: “We hope the benches will create a lasting legacy for After Life, as well as become a place for people to visit, and we are thrilled to be associated with Calm and the great work they do.”
One of the pivotal parts of After Life is when Tony meets Anne, a fellow widow who becomes his graveside confidante, on a bench. Their relationship begins thanks to a bench they share at the graveyard, allowing Tony to let his guard down and open up about how he’s feeling.
CALM explains: “And we know talking to someone you trust really can help. Opening up about to your mates or family is not an easy thing to do. But starting that conversation can be the start of getting the support you need. By helping them better understand and support you, you’re giving you – and them – the best chance of doing that.
“We know benches are a place where you can reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest. So we’ve worked with Netflix to put benches in parks across the country – inscribed with that crucial line from the show, “Hope is everything” – to help people have those conversations and to show it’s normal to have those feelings.”
If you’re experiencing feelings of loss and grief, you can contact the CALM helpline. Open every day, 5pm-midnight, with free, confidential, and practical support on 0800 58 58 58 or through webchat.