Plaque stolen from Ricky Gervais After Life bench in Sheffield hours after unveiling

A plaque has been stolen from a new bench in Sheffield commemorating comedian Ricky Gervais’s hit Netflix show After Life – just hours after being officially unveiled.

By Darren Burke
Friday, 11th March 2022, 1:11 pm

The bench has been placed in Meersbrook Park as part of a campaign by star and mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and is one of 25 across the country.

But shortly after it was officially launched, a metal plaque on the bench was swiped – with Sheffield City Council launching an appeal for its return.

Sharing news of the theft on Facebook, a spokesman said: “There's always hope and we hope that whoever has stolen the plaque from our new bench returns it please.”

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The plaque has been stolen hours after being unveiled.

People reacted with fury to the theft, with one writing: “What is wrong with people? This is why we can’t have nice things!

Another posted: “Why would people do such a thing! Honestly!”

The hit series completed its third and final season earlier this year – and has been widely praised for its handling of issues such as grief after the death of a loved one, depression and suicidal thoughts.

The series follows Tony Johnson – played by Gervais, a writer at a local newspaper – who is still battling the grief of losing his wife, Lisa, to cancer.

In the show, he was often seen reflecting on life with Anne (played by Penelope Wilton) on a bench in a cemetery in front of his wife’s grave.

The pair strike up an unlikely friendship after it is revealed that she is also mourning the loss of her husband and both seek solace in each other as they come to terms with the deaths.

The bench, similar to those installed at various spots around the country, is inscribed with the message: “Life can be tough, but there’s always hope. Campaign against Living Miserably (CALM) is by your side.”

The purpose of the bench is to encourage people to reflect, talk to others, and get things off their chest. CALM wants people to know that it is normal to have these feelings and it is OK to talk about them.