Music

Ricky Gervais’ life with £10million home, 80s pop past and famous girlfriend

Ricky Gervais' name is synonymous with British comedy, as the brains behind The Office, Extras, and a Golden Globes speech that rocked Hollywood.

During the lockdown, Ricky entertained his fans with Twitter live streams of consciousness, answering their questions and lifting the curtain on his life.

This week, the comedy dynamo turns 60, as his friends and admirers in the entertainment world weigh in on his legacy as a writer, director and actor.

In celebration of Ricky's milestone birthday, Daily Star has taken a look at the lesser-known aspects of his life, from his sprawling North London home to his obscure pop past.

Pop career

Long before Hollywood came calling, Ricky was one half of the new wave group Seona Dancing, formed with his friend Bill Macrae.

The pair set up the group after getting to know each other at University College London, with Ricky writing the lyrics and Bill the music.

They got signed in the early eighties and released two singles – More to Lose and Bitter Heart.

While they failed the climb the charts in the UK, their track More to Lose became a sensation in the Philippines and was a club hit at school dances throughout the decade.

Seona Dancing split in 1984, with Ricky and Bill seemingly losing touch over the years – in a 2014 interview with Jimmy Kimmel, he said of Macrae: "I hope he got fat, too."

Despite leaving aspirations of pop success behind, Ricky found a way to infuse his love of music into his comedy routines and scriptwriting.

"I sneak a song into everything I do. I wrote a song for The Simpsons, I wrote a song with David Bowie for Extras. I'm a frustrated, failed musician," he once joked on The Graham Norton Show.

Rise to fame

Abandoning hopes of making it as a new wave pop star, Ricky landed a job in radio, working at Xfm as head of speech in 1997.

His stand-up comedy career had been flourishing in the years between, but the late nineties saw his profile start to rise.

At Xfm, he interviewed candidates for an assistant role, only to meet Stephen Merchant, who would become his longtime collaborator and friend.

Though Ricky was made redundant from the radio station in 1998, he would frequently contribute to Mary Anne Hobbs's Radio 1 show at the time.

His first project with Stephen was The Office, which stemmed from a short film Stephen had made while on a BBC production course.

David Brent was born and the series debuted in 2001, initially receiving little attention but going on to become a cult classic of British television.

The show's success made stars of Ricky and Stephen, forming the foundation for the likes of Extras, the podcast The Ricky Gervais Show, and An Idiot Abroad.

Spectacular house

Ricky and his partner Jane live in a sprawling North London mansion, where they moved after putting their Hampstead Heath pad up for sale.

The property has eight bedrooms, a pool and a summer house, and they have transformed the verdant back garden into a makeshift badminton pitch.

They have decorated the interior with beautiful antique furniture, with a carved wooden chair and a mirrored drinks cabinet in dark wood.

With a curved staircase, the home is filled with natural light and features a latticed bench in the hallway.

Jane frequently shares pictures of their pad to Instagram, showing off her office, which has bright pink walls and shelves of literature for inspiration.

They also own a second home in Buckinghamshire, which was built with its own tennis court.

Famous partner

Ricky has never married, but his relationship with partner Jane Fallon spans back decades, first blossoming in their university years.

A producer on shows like EastEnders and Teachers, Jane is also an acclaimed writer, receiving nominations in the popular fiction category of the National Book Awards.

Neither Ricky nor Jane feel the need to officiate their relationship, telling The Times: "There's no point in us having an actual ceremony before the eyes of God because there is no God."

Ricky has addressed their decision to not have children in the past, instead devoting their attention to their pet cat Pickle.

"I'd worry sick about a baby. I have a cat and I worry about that," he told Ellen DeGeneres in 2017.

"There's loads of reasons why I don't have kids. The world is overpopulated, no one's sitting around going, 'Oh Rick's not going to have kids, we're going to run out, there's loads."

Jane – who has seen 11 of her books climb The Sunday Times Bestseller List – has also spoken about her priorities in life, admitting she never felt drawn to motherhood.

"My dreams were all about becoming a writer, a vet or a gymnast, not having a family. As I got older it became something I actively didn't want to do," she wrote in The Guardian five years ago.

"I didn't want to have children because doing so just didn't feel like me. Being a mother wasn't who I was meant to be."

Animal lover

Jane and Ricky were devastated in 2020 when their cat Ollie died days before the coronavirus pandemic sent the country into lockdown.

The cat had been a present from TV personality Jonathan Ross, who bestowed the cat upon them on his chat show.

Following Ollie's death, they then adopted a cat named Pickles, who features occasionally on their respective social media feeds.

Ricky is a proud animal activist, using his platform to raise awareness of animal cruelty, with his work winning him the Genesis Award from the Humane Society in 2015.

Fans of Netflix's After Life know and love lead character Tony's dog Brandy, who appears by his side throughout the series.

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Though the show deals with the intricacies of death, Ricky recently confirmed Brandy would never get written out of the series, telling fans: "The dog does not die. Never."

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