As an actor, Kerry Godliman has a pretty impressive back catalogue including dramas such as Save Me and Our Girl, but it’s After Life, a show created by Ricky Gervais, that has really put her name on the map.
While Godliman really enjoys being part of the show, she revealed that she’s only recently realised just how big it is thanks to Channel 4 reality show Googlebox.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time she said: “A penny drop moment was when - because my daughter loves Gogglebox, and they were doing After Life on Gogglebox as she was like, ‘Come and watch it’
“Then I was watching all of them watch it – that was weird! And they're all crying… I can't remember his name, one of the young lads, and he said, ‘Oh, he's meant to be a bloody comedian and I'm p***ing crying.’ That was a real moment of realising the impact of After Life - seeing it in that context.”
One thing that surprises her the most is that that while it’s the biggest show she’s ever been in, she actually only films for a few days each series.
“It's the biggest thing I've ever been involved in,” she told podcast host and close pal Kate Thornton.
“Me doing a tour is hours and hours and hours of being on the road, doing performances, working up a show… And then After Life is literally about four or five days of filming – and filming with Ricky is extremely fun. He's so laid back. “
Shooting the show, which Godliman calls “dicking about with Ricky” is great fun, partly because Ricky wants to create a very natural feel, so that it doesn’t feel too acted or forced.
She told Thornton: “It's very breezy. He wants to get that naturalism, so you don't overthink, you don't over feel it or shoot it because then it starts feeling sort of contrived.
“It all feels like a bit of a dream and then you wake up and go, 'Oh my God, I'm in this massive Netflix show' that felt like you're just hanging out with a mate and having a good time. And that's how he gets the spirit of it!”
The star, who also appeared in Derek alongside Ricky, revealed that he based his character of Lisa on her – something which she does with her own writing.
“He [Ricky] did ask me early on if I wanted to play Lisa and said that that helped with the development of the character,” she said.
“Ricky literally said, 'Oh, I've got this idea - and do you want to be my wife? She's dead'. And I was a bit like, 'Yeah, alright.' I didn't quite understand that it was a real job - and that has manifested to be this most watched British comedy show, which is sort of incongruous in a way.”
She continued: “It always makes a difference if you have got someone in mind, if you cast it in your head, even if it's a real actor, you know ‘Meryl Streep's playing Judy’. Even if you're not going to get Meryl, it does really help when you're writing because you've got your muse.”
Gervais’ writing must be good though as after season one was released, Godliman came home to find her husband Ben, who is also an actor, watching the show in tears.
“He was really upset!” she told Thornton. “I came back and found him in a real state and he was like ‘All the upset that people are going through at the moment with this show and what the show is stirring up in them… Times that by a thousand, because you are my wife!”
“He was fully immersed in the world that Ricky had created because it's such an authentic sort of little world, that Tambury world. You commit to it when you're watching it, you just get lost in it.”
Gervais recently revealed he’s writing a third series of the hit Netflix show, but all Godliman knows is that her character will still be dead.
“I'm just as curious as the audience are to know what happens next!” she said.
Hear Kerry chat more about working with Ricky and why she has stand up to thank for her acting career on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.