A BENCH seen in the popular After Life TV series has been placed in Taunton’s Vivary Park to raise awareness for mental health.

Netflix commissioned and donated the bench to Somerset West and Taunton Council alongside suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which offers help, advice, and information to anyone who is struggling or in crisis.

The bench was installed today, Wednesday, January 19, and it is inscribed with a quote from After Life third season, ‘Hope is Everything’, and a plaque with ‘This bench is donated by Netflix to commemorate Ricky Gervais' 'After Life'.’

A bench was also donated to Blenheim Gardens, in Minehead.

They have both been installed by the council’s open spaces team.

The initiative also marked the show’s third series.

After Life is renowned for its scenes showing Ricky Gervais’s leading character, Tony, on a bench at his local churchyard, as he continues to grieve for his wife Lisa, played by Kerry Godliman.

The bench serves as a place for Tony to reflect, share, listen and, ultimately, to grow and find hope for the future.

Somerset County Gazette:
Cllr Derek Perry, executive member for Sports, Parks and Leisure, with Cllr Andy Sully, executive member for Environmental Services starting a conversation in Vivary Park

Ricky Gervais said: “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.”

To mark the launch of the final series of much-loved series of After Life, Netflix has donated 25 benches to local councils around the UK at points of interest to create a space for communities to visit.

Those who visit a bench will be able to access resources from CALM via a unique QR code with the wording “Life can be tough, but there’s always hope. Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is by your side”, and online by visiting https://www.thecalmzone.net/afterlife/

Cllr Derek Perry, executive member for Sports, Parks and Leisure, said: “SWT appreciates how much these tranquil spaces are valued by our residents and visitors, particularly during the last two years when they have played a vital role as a place to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely.

“We are committed to supporting people to live healthy lives and encouraging good mental health so are delighted to receive these benches which we hope will act as conversation-starting points for those suffering from grief, helping them to get the support they need.

“We’re encouraging our communities to reflect and start that conversation in the beautiful surroundings of our award-winning Vivary Park and Blenheim Gardens.”

Somerset County Gazette:

A detail of the bench in Vivary Park

Simon Gunning, CEO, CALM said: “Park benches provide opportunities to reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest.

“That is why we’re delighted to team up 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.”