In the second of our previews we journey to Christmas Day and see what the major TV channels are broadcasting on the 25th December.
Room on the Broom (BBC1, 4.35pm)
After the two adaptations of The Gruffalo stories this year sees the BBC adapt more of Julia Donaldson’s work with an adaptation of a kindly witch who lets various creatures climb aboard her broom. While the kids will enjoy the story the adults can enjoy spotting the celebrities lending their voices they include Simon Pegg, Rob Brydon and Timothy Spall.
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Fans of The Royle Family – me included – were of course gutted that last year’s Christmas special was cancelled due to writers Craig Cash and Caroline Aherne being unable to complete the script in time for filming.
However, the great news is that there is a Christmas special this year, though sadly, it won’t feature Twiggy as Geoffrey Hughes, who played the wide-boy, died earlier this year.
But the rest of the regular cast are back – with the exception of Ralf Little as Anthony and Jessica Hynes who plays Cheryl – for the festive special, including of course Ricky Tomlinson as patriarch Jim…
And Ricky has been talking to TV Times magazine about the long awaited special – which airs at 9.45pm on Christmas Day on BBC1 – and during the interview, he remarked that “everyone knows someone like Jim.” Read more & comment »
There’s a Christmas cracker of – the old and well worn word play puns are always the best – a line-up on the BBC this year, which includes the long awaited new Royle Family festive episode, and David Attenborough’s magnificent documentary, Africa.
Starting with the yuletide visit to Manchester’s Royle Family – which was of course delayed from last year when writers Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash failed to get the script ready in time – we’ll see that Dave’s (Craig Cash) planning to pitch an idea to the Dragons’ Den tycoons, while Jim (Ricky Tomlinson) is pinning all his hopes of winning big on a Christmas scratch card.
Meanwhile, a new neighbour has moved onto the street, and apparently, the fact that she has an “impressive cleavage” doesn’t go unnoticed by widower neighbour Joe (Peter Martin) who’s on the lookout for romance.
Here’s what the BBC say of the Christmas special, which will air on Christmas Day… Read more & comment »
The BBC have today announced the cast line-up for a new BBC Three zombie drama which is entitled, In The Flesh, which includes The Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson and Shine On Harvey Moon star, Kenneth Cranham.
Written by Dominic Mitchell, the drama will be directed by Jonny Campbell, who worked on the award-winning drama, Eric And Ernie.
The BBC’s press release states…
Playing the role of Kieren Walker, Luke Newberry leads the cast together with David Walmsley (best friend, Rick Macy), Emily Bevan (fellow zombie, Amy Dyer) and Harriet Cains (sister, Jem Walker). Joining them are Ricky Tomlinson (Ken Burton) Steve Evets (Bill Macy) and Kenneth Cranham (Vicar Oddie) (Hellbound: HellRaiser II).
In The Flesh is the story of teenager Kieren Walker and his reintegration back into both the local community and the heart of his family. After his death four years ago, his friends and family thought they’d never see Kieren again… Read more & comment »
The BBC have today announced the line-up of top shows that will air on Christmas Day, and they include the Doctor Who special – which of course introduces Jenna Louise Coleman as the Doctor’s new companion – and a festive special edition of Call the Midwife.
We’re also to be treated to ‘Up’, which is Pixar’s Oscar-winning movie animation about an old man who floats off on a balloon and encounters any number of adventures. The BBC will also air Disney’s family film Tangled and The Princess and the Frog on Christmas Day.
And of course, there will be the traditional visits to EastEnders, where yuletide misery is sure to reign, and in addition, The Royle Family Christmas special that was postponed last year will dominate the primetime timeslot.
As fans of the hit sitcom may recall, writers Craig Cash and Caroline Aherne failed to deliver the script to the BBC in time to have the festive episode filmed. And of course, this year, they’ll be writing out Geoffrey Hughes – who played Twiggy – who sadly passed away earlier this year… Read more & comment »
There’s very sad news this morning in that it’s been announced that actor Geoffrey Hughes has passed away after a losing his battle with prostate cancer. He was 68.
Geoffrey first shot to fame as bin man Eddie in Coronation Street, a role he played from 1974 to 1983, reappearing in 1987.
He later went on to star in a number of high profile shows – such as Keeping Up Appearances as lay about Onslow, and in Heartbeat – but most recently, he played the role of wide boy Twiggy in The Royle Family. The Sun reports that Geoffrey died “peacefully in his sleep” on Friday night.
Geoff’s Royle Family co-star Ricky Tomlinson paid tribute to his friend, saying, “Geoff wasn’t just an actor, he was my mate… Read more & comment »
Comedy star Ralf Little – who’s making a comeback to our screens next week in new Sky1 comedy, The Café – has revealed that Royle Family co-writer Craig Cash has threatened to kill off Our Anthony, who is of course Ralf’s character in the sitcom.
Ralf made the revelation while speaking to the PA at a press conference to launch The Café yesterday.
He said that Craig – who writes Royle Family along with Caroline Aherne – told him, “’Oh, isn’t it a shame about Anthony dying in that car crash. Let’s never mention him again’.”
However, Ralf added that he thinks Craig’s joking about killing off Ant, and let’s hope he is, because Royle Family wouldn’t be the same without him!
On the subject of the sitcom, the Christmas special of which was of course cancelled this year as Craig and Caroline didn’t finish the script in time, Ralf says he’s “fairly” sure that he will feature in next year’s special… Read more & comment »
I’m absolutely devastated to learn that this year’s Royle Family Christmas special has been axed, because apparently, Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash didn’t finish writing it in time.
The special had already been written into the Christmas Day schedule, and was set to go head to head with ITV’s Downton Abbey Christmas episode.
However, The Sun reports that BBC bosses have had to hastily rearrange the Christmas Day line-up since Caroline and Craig couldn’t deliver the script in time for filming. The paper adds that the BBC have asked the pair to ensure early delivery of a script in time for next Christmas.
A show insider told the paper, “Bosses are really disappointed. Caroline and Craig had said they would deliver a new script for a Christmas special this year and it had already been scheduled… Read more & comment »
Sue Johnston, who of course plays long suffering wife and mum Barbara in The Royle Family, will appear in ‘Lapland’ – a 90 minute show to be broadcast on BBC One over Christmas – alongside ‘This Is England’ actor Stephen Graham and ‘Waterloo Road’ star William Ash.
‘Lapland’, which will also star Elizabeth Berrington, Julie Graham, Zawe Ashton and Keith Barron, sees Sue play mum Eileen Lewis, who saves each year for a special Christmas her family will remember.
This year, the Lewis family decide to go to Lapland to meet Father Christmas, but they end up getting a lot more than they bargained for.
Of the role, Sue said, “Lapland won’t know what’s hit it when the Lewis family arrive, it’s a hopeful, bittersweet comedy and I’m delighted to be a part of it.” Read more & comment »
The Sun’s TV Biz reports today that Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash, stars and co-writers of hit sitcom The Royle Family, have been spending hours watching shows like Loose Women and The Jeremy Kyle Show to get inspiration for the show’s Christmas special.
Caroline and Craig, who of course play Denise and Dave on the show, are hoping that the daytime TV shows will provide “a perfect source of gossip” for characters Jim (Ricky Tomlinson) and Barbara (Sue Johnston).
And despite some pressure from the BBC to deliver the finished script, it seems Craig and Caroline are notorious for leaving everything to the last minute… Read more & comment »
In her new autobiography, Things I Couldn’t Tell My Mother, Brookside and The Royle Family actress Sue Johnston has revealed the horror of being attacked by a would be rapist.
As viewers of Brookside may recall, as Sheila Grant, Sue played the part of a rape victim in the ‘80s, but the storyline mirrored Sue’s own real life trauma…
Sue recalls for the Daily Mirror, “It was November 7, 1970. I was 27. I’ll always remember the date.
“I got off at my Tube stop and took the path I usually took – along a lane and under the bridge.
“I heard a noise behind me and turned around. A young man was leaning against the fence… Read more & comment »
Sue Johnston, star of The Royle Family and former star of Brookside, has revealed that she’s battled with bulimia and depression for most of her adult life.
Sue made the revelations in her autobiography, which is entitled, Things I Couldn’t Tell My Mother.
Speaking to the Daily Mail about her book and the revelations in it, Sue said that her “self loathing” first took hold when she was starring in Merseyside soap, Brookside.
She said, “I became acutely aware of my appearance. I began making myself sick.
“I didn’t think what it was doing to my stomach, my gums and my teeth, which began to decay… Read more & comment »
It’s Christmas Day at the Royles and Barbara is up to her eyes in it as Jim is out of action due to an unfortunate incident in the precinct. Dave and Denise are obviously feeling the effect of the coalition the most and worry that Anthony’s lavish gifts will eclipse their present of a fridge magnet.
Joe reminisces about a tipsy evening of naked wrestling in front of the fire with Bobby Carter while Cheryl recounts her romantic encounter in the local supermarket car park.
Ricky Tomlinson is Jim Royle, Sue Johnston is Barbara Royle, Caroline Aherne is Denise Best, Craig Cash is Dave Best and Ralf Little is Anthony Royle. This Christmas special also includes appearances from Joanne Froggratt as Saskia, Peter Martin as Joe Carroll and Jessica Hynes as Cheryl Carroll.
Saturday 25 December
9.00-10.00pm BBC ONE and BBC ONE HD
After GOLD’s sneak behind the Royle’s sofa, uncovering unseen material and revelations about how the sitcom and characters were conceived, it’s time to hand over to the cast and the legion of celebrity fans to pick the bits they hold with highest esteem.
Not only will the cast and celebrity fans – like Catherine Tate, Paul Whitehouse, Jimmy McGovern and John Prescott – pick their favourite Royle moments, but creators, writers and stars of the show Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash will also pick their all time, top ten personal highlights and talk us through what each moment meant to them .
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The cast and crew of The Royle Family revisit its best bits, and the writers present their own top 10 highlights from the popular comedy.
The first programme features warm and witty interviews with Royle cast members Liz Smith MBE, Sue Johnston OBE and Ricky Tomlinson, Ralf Little, Jessica Hynes, Sheridan Smith and Geoffrey Hughes. Writer Phil Mealey and luminary fans of the series Catherine Tate, Paul Whitehouse, Willy Russell, Jimmy McGovern and Henry Normal also share their fondest recollections of this enduring comedy.
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