Ricky Gervais agreed not to end Netflix smash hit After Life with a suicide over fears it would upset vulnerable viewers.

In the black comedy he plays local journalist Tony Johnson, who is on the verge of killing himself after losing his wife.

And experts warned if the character went through with it, fans battling ­similar trauma would be distraught.

Ricky, 60, told the Daily Star Sunday: “While I was writing the show, therapists came up to me to talk about it.

“One counsellor said to me, ‘Please don’t let Tony commit suicide’. They explained they were using the show as part of grief counselling, so they really didn’t want him to kill himself at the end of the ­series.

"I took that on board. And it decided it for me. That’s the reason I didn’t write that as the ending.”

Instead, Ricky penned a happy climax to the show, which ran for three series.

In the final scene, his character is seen leaving a fair with his dog before they fade away.

Ricky said: “In the show, Tony went home and carried on and eventually he won’t be around anymore.

“My ending was saying that everyone dies, but not today. And when they do, life goes on. Eventually all there are is memories.”

Ricky has been amazed by the reaction to After Life since it first aired on Netflix in 2019.

He said: “So many people come up to me and say they identify with it and say they were like that when they lost their partner or their mum or their brother.

“I think the important thing about After Life is it deals with grief more openly.”

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