Interview: Kerry Godliman On Working With Ricky Gervais In After Life: Page 2 of 2

Ricky Gervais' After Life Scoops National Television Award

After Life portrays the relationship between Tony and Lisa as perfect. They are best mates as well as lovers. In the footage that he repeatedly watches she laughs uproariously as he endlessly plays childish tricks on her, sneaking up on her or tipping water over her. Godliman wonders if this is what he does to his actual partner Jane Fallon. “I felt for Jane doing those pranks - he’s always on a wind up.”

While Godliman says she can understand Tony’s misery after Lisa's death, her life could not be going better. At 45 she is busier than ever, combining acting and stand-up. When casting directors want a down-to-earth everywoman they have her number on speed dial. She was not a million miles from Lisa when she co-starred with Jack Dee in the recent ITV1 sitcom Bad Move.

“It’s nice to be wanted, but it didn’t half take me a while to get there,” she chuckles. After studying drama at Rose Bruford College all she was getting was bit parts as nurses and wives of drug dealers in Casualty and The Bill. “My agent at the time said there’s not much you can do to shape your acting career, so that was when I started to do stand-up.” She immediately felt in control and loved it: “Stand up is a dinner party where I haven’t cooked and I’ll be doing all the talking.”

Godliman quickly made an impact with her distinctive brand of pragmatic feminism. In an early routine she took potshots at the cosmetics industry, quipping that if gravity-defying cream was so effective why wasn’t it floating above the shelves. Later when she became a busy mother her family inspired her. She used to joke during club sets that she had left her two toddlers in the car parked outside.

Her stand-up career helped her land television roles but she has no plans to give it up. In fact Godliman recently made history as part of the first-ever all-female bill at The Comedy Store marking International Women’s Day. She is proud to be part of the current wave of successful female comedians. “I’ve ridden a nice curve and now there are so many more women doing it.” She has always been in demand. “I benefited from positive discrimination. Promoters wanted women on the bill and once I’d proved I could do it I was booked.”

She has recently diversified and moved away from comedy onscreen. Her last acting job was on the thriller Treadstone, the American TV spin-off of the Bourne films, in which sleeper agents are “awakened” in each episode. “We filmed in Budapest and on an island in the Arctic. It’s a proper action thing with guns and impressive top end fight scenes.” She is certainly open to different work, but if she goes back to playing wise-cracking wives she is more than happy. “It’s better to have a niche than be uncastable.”

After Life is available on Netflix.


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