Amazing coincidence involving much-loved dog from hit Ricky Gervais Netflix series After Life to raise funds for Aylesbury cause

Antilly has becomes one of the most recognised dogs around and now she is helping an Aylesbury hospice

By Reporter
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 3:17 pm

An amazing and poignant coincidence featuring the canine star of hit Netflix series After Life is set to raise money for a wonderful Aylesbury hospice cause.

Ten year-old German Shepherd Antilly stars as Brandy alongside Ricky Gervais in the critically acclaimed black comedy, which is a tear-jerking but often hilarious look at grief.

And Florence Nightingale Hospice, which is based in Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, is set to benefit from a heartfelt donation after an amazing coincidence that could have come straight out of the show.

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Ricky Gervais with Antilly on the set of After Life. Photo: @antilly_the_wonder_hound / Animal News Agency

The fundraiser came about after Antilly's owners Beth Heale, 35 and Ashley Foster, 34, from Bicester, took their star dog along to a photo shoot for the cover of The Radio Times.

While Ashley is Antilly's full time trainer, Beth works for the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, and following the shoot asked top photographer Hamish Brown if he wouldn't mind donating a print to auction for the good cause.

And the pair were amazed to discover that not only was Hamish more than happy to help, but his own mother Ann had lived in Haddenham near Aylesbury and was cared for by Florence Nightingale Hospice 20 years ago.

Award-winning photographer Hamish, from South London, whose work has graced the covers of publications including Vogue, British GQ, The Observer and The Telegraph, said: "I jumped at the chance to help and you can't escape that it is After Life and all that it deals with, and this coincidence giving me another nice way to remember my mum.

Antilly is supporting Aylesbury's Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity. Photo: @antilly_the_wonder_hound / Animal News Agency

"Over the years these things dissipate, but she died too young, and my memory of the Florence Nightingale Hospice was that it was incredibly peaceful.

"The peacefulness that the people that volunteer and work there bring make that happen, and not enough people realise that these things are charity, and not provided by the government.

"I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, it could have been any number of other photographers that took that picture."

After Life tells the story of local newspaper reporter Tony Johnson (played by Ricky Gervais), who struggles to navigate life without his beloved wife Lisa, who has passed away from cancer.

Ricky Gervais with Antilly on the set of After Life. Photo: @antilly_the_wonder_hound / Animal News Agency

The show, which is now into its recently released third series, was shot at locations around the Home Counties, including Hemel Hempstead Old Town and Beaconsfield.

Antilly 'The Wonder Hound' has appeared in every series as Tony's faithful companion, and was picked by hand by Ricky Gervais to star alongside him.

Owner Ashley took Antilly to meet the Office star on Hampstead Heath and after seeing what the clever canine can do, she was signed up for the high-profile programme.

Ashley said of Antilly, who has starred in a string of blockbusters and was once described by George Clooney as 'the best trained dog I have ever seen': "She is a really good actor and everything she does is a trick that she has been trained to do.

Ashley with Antilly as a puppy. Photo: @antilly_the_wonder_hound / Animal News Agency

"Everyone thinks that she is Ricky's dog in real life because of their rapport on camera, but she is also working for a sausage too.

"In most things Antilly plays a mean dog, she has bitten Michael Fassbender and been killed by Ron Pearlman!

"So in After Life is nice that she gets to play herself, a nice dog. My whole life has been propelled by her and I don't know what I would do without her."

As well as taking part in the fundraiser Antilly regularly calls into the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity shop in Broadfields, Aylesbury where Beth works, and supports the cause at shop events where Ashley also plays the ukulele.

Lily Caswell, head of at Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, said: “Antilly is a frequent visitor to our showroom, so she feels like one of our team.

"We already knew that we were lucky to have such a lovely and talented dog as part of our team, but we are blown away by the generosity of Hamish, Ashley, Beth – and Antilly of course – for donating these prints to raise money for the charity.

"The money from the sale will support the best hospice care for local people, so it is a very generous gift indeed”.

The professionally printed photo, plus paw print, shot by Hamish Brown is not available for offers on the Florence Nightingale Hospice Ebay shop.

To find out more go to the website.

You can find out more about Antilly by searching for @antilly_the_wonder_hound on Instagram.