The Royle Family: A Thing Called Love

“YOU can’t see it with your eyes, hold it in your hand…this thing called love.”
Johnny Cash says it all in the new one-off episode of The Royle Family, screened on BBC1 at 9pm next Sunday.
It is, quite simply, The Royle’s finest hour. Or as Jim might say: “A bloody great work of genius.”
Writers and associate producers Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash and Phil Mealey have crafted a celebration of life, love and lamination which will have you laughing out loud one minute, and in tears the next.
TV trailers already feature one exchange between pregnant Denise (Caroline Aherne) and mum Barbara (Sue Johnston) involving Denise and Dave’s son Little David, who is now six:

Denise: “Can Little David stay over here on Friday?”
Barbara: “Oh yeah, of course he can. What time ‘till?”
Denise: “Till Monday.”
It turns out that Dave (Craig Cash) and Denise are planning a little break away…from Little David.

Dave is off to The Feathers and Denise needs to catch up with her Sky+ recordings of Trisha and Jeremy Kyle.
There’s so much to enjoy in the return of the Royles, including the latest answers to Barbara’s favourite questions: “Have you had your tea?” and “What did you have?”
As already revealed in a recent MEN feature, Nana (Liz Smith) is now living with Barbara and Jim (Ricky Tomlinson), who, of course, still owns that grubby yellow top.
In contrast, Antony (Ralf Little) is upwardly mobile in suit and tie – prompting Jim’s greeting: “Hey up, it’s Alan Sugar”. Our Antony is also now a dad himself.
There are re-appearances from several other characters, including Jessica Stevenson as Cheryl, Geoffrey Hughes as Twiggy and Doreen Keogh as Mary.
Both Jeremy Clarkson and Trevor McDonald are honoured with name checks and the MEN plays a supporting role.
The new hour-long episode also creates a bit of history by venturing outside the family’s Wythenshawe home.

Other highlights include a nod back to a previous Royle screen triumph, Barbara and Jim’s views on lamination and a cameo role for co-writer Phil.
But it’s scarlet ribbons and a scene with no dialogue for over a minute which may stop you in your tracks.
From opening credits to final freeze frame, it’s brilliant, award-winning telly.
As Johnny Cash sings: “Ever since time nothing’s ever been found that’s stronger than love.”
The Royle Family
Back By Royle Command



Filed under The Royle Family

13 responses to “The Royle Family: A Thing Called Love

  1. Michael Harrigan

    Does anyone know who sang the version of Scarelt Ribbons?

  2. Harry Smith

    Aherne and Cash have lost the plot. Simplicity was essence of the Royles of old. But they’ve tried to be clever, arty, and dark.
    This was the demise of a once great telly institution.

  3. Elaine Brooks

    Yes, I agree, the programme was wonderful and the Scarlet Ribbons part was heart stopping. What a lovely recording. Do you know who was singing?

  4. Ian Wylie

    Scarlet Ribbons was sung by Sinead O’Connor. It’s from her album “Am I Not Your Girl”.

  5. james

    I thought this was a very good episode. The original episodes never really had a beginning or an end, they could have gone on for as long as the Royles lived. It was designed as a one-off special to give you a bit more closure on the life of the Royles, and i think it did this very well. Also, the song is scarlet ribbons by Sinead O’connor.

  6. Fran Gorst

    I missed this very special one off and would like to know if it is to be repeated. If so, when.

  7. Ian Wylie

    Fran – as far as I am aware, the BBC do not have any immediate plans to repeat last night’s one-off episode – The Queen Of Sheba. But it’s now available on a single DVD, ahead of the release on Nov 6 of “The Complete Collection” – all The Royle Family TV series and specials, including The Queen Of Sheba.

  8. wyn connor

    never laughed and cried so much in one hours most brilliant entertainment ever you cant improve on excellence

  9. Dan

    Very good tv BUT it felt like a totally different show. The tone was just too different to the original series.

  10. Louise, London

    I started off laughing til I cried then I wept unashamedly through the rest……I wonder if it affected Southern middle-class people as much as it struck some of us Northern working class people to the core. Absolute genius.

  11. Stu

    Was very good, but i did not like the scene changes, to be honest another series would have been more sufficient.
    Does anybody know what happened to Emma?

  12. MARIE


  13. Ian Wylie

    Marie – see my answer further up the page dated Oct 30 2006.

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