The Royal: Goodbye Mr Rose

The final scene

AND so we say farewell to The Royal.

ITV1’s long-running 1960s’ drama ended on Sunday evening with a cliffhanger worthy of the Scarborough rocks by the real life location for Elsinby’s St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital.

Stabbed Dr Gordon Ormerod (Robert Daws) lay at death’s door on the operating table as Mr Rose (Denis Lill) battled to save his life.

Gordon’s tearful wife Dr Jill Weatherill (Amy Robbins) watching through a window, supported by ever marvellous Matron (Wendy Craig).

“That was really unfinished,” declared my own disbelieving wife as the final credits rolled.

Knowing that we will now never find out if dear old Gordon’s alive – or not.

Dr Gordon Ormerod (Robert Daws)

She, like me, has been a fan of the show since the start.

And as a nurse, always impressed by the accuracy of the period medical equipment seen on screen and the hospital storylines.

I attended the press launch for the very first series of The Royal, when it was still partly attached to police cousin Heartbeat.

Having the pleasure of interviewing many cast members and production staff over the years that followed.

Cover of the autumn 2003 press launch pack for series three.

Unfashionable The Royal was never going to win the applause of TV critics lost in admiration for The Wire.

Like Heartbeat, it was looked down on as a soft, formulaic drama, not worthy of serious consideration.

An easy target to attack – even if you had only caught half an episode several years ago.

Was The Royal past its sell-by date? Perhaps. Though I’m not totally convinced.

What I do know is that the series, and those involved in making it, were underestimated by many who never bothered to watch the results of their hard work.

The Royal was skillfully put together by a talented team, both in front of and behind the cameras, and entertained millions.

Under the watchful eyes of producer Ken Horn and executive producer Keith Richardson.

Telling recognisable human stories that struck a chord with its audience.

An hour of TV that all the family could watch, also providing many children with their first experience of a “grown-up” drama series.

It may have been relatively undemanding. But there’s nothing wrong with that on a Sunday night.

And there was nothing wrong with the quality of acting – witness Linda Armstrong as Sister Brigid in what turned out to be the last ever episodes.

The end.

At the very least The Royal and its viewers deserved a proper farewell.

Not one filmed in 2009, before its ultimate fate was known, and held back from the screen until a quiet summer’s evening two years later.

On balance, I’ll miss Mr Rose and his pipe the most.

A man both Gordon, and I, would surely trust with our lives.

Mr Rose (Denis Lill)

Dr Jill Weatherill (Amy Robbins)

Matron (Wendy Craig)

Sister Brigid (Linda Armstrong)

Lizzie Hopkirk (Michelle Hardwick)

Alun Morris (Andy Wear)

Personally, I like to think that…

Although as one reader has pointed out, the use of Pink Floyd’s The Great Gig In The Sky over the closing titles may have been a clue that Gordon ultimately suffered the same fate as the series:

The Royal


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Filed under News

60 responses to “The Royal: Goodbye Mr Rose

  1. Mary

    Oh no … not another great British T.V. program. Just like Heartbeat! Gone because the genre doesn’t suit 2011 … ah I gather the big wigs of the TV studios need to develop reality TV programs to keep up with the times. I am not an avid fan of reality TV. I prefer quality programming and always relish new and the reruns of British programs TVO offers. I (continue to) watch The Royal here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the TVO channel and have been a faithful viewer for many years. I love the stories mixed with humour and drama. The acting and the period setting is captivating. I am saddened to hear of its end and agree with your comments another great period piece gone. Possibly the producers may wish to consider and provide an occassional 1 hour ‘TV.’ movie just to let the faithful Royal and Heartbeat fans an occasional catch-up. Wouldn’t that be nice!

  2. Wolfy

    The end of the Royal for me was like reading a book with the last page torn out 😦

  3. balisally

    I absolutely loved The Royal. (Even more than Heartbeat). Yes it was a gentle drama, but it was perfect for the Sunday nights it was shown in Canada. (Oddly enough, we saw the last episodes a couple of years before the UK did.) It had superb acting, a mix of characters and was quite believable for the most part. I am truly sorry that it is no longer produced.

  4. nicola chaplin

    bring it back please

  5. Christine Allan

    Please bring The Royal back with Amy and Robert and fabulous cast .It
    was brilliant and every bit as compelling and exciting as Heartbeat which is also very much missed .

    • Mary

      I agree … bring the Royal back …as well as Heartbeat … how about the TV producers do a 1 hour reunion movie of both every 3 months or so … or heck just bring the programs back …

  6. Lana

    I wish “The Royal” could have gone on forever….all my friend and family just love it and Heartbeat..which I am now watching for the third re-run.. Please consider another series ?????

  7. Julia

    Bring both lovely programmes back please, Heartbeat and The Royal. Good British programmes.

  8. Mrs Karen Wilson

    Please bring back a new series of the Royal. It was fantastic and so was the acting. It is cruel to leave the viewers hanging dry and not to know if Dr Ormerod survived or not. It is also very unfair on the programmes faithful followers who do not deserve to be treated with total disdain by the powers that be. Please let us have a petition to bring the Royal back.Karen August2013

    • Mary

      I totally agree with you Mrs. Karen Wilson. A petition may be one means. Hopefully our rants and comments on this blog site reaches the producers/t.v. big wigs.

    • Jackie

      Totally agree brilliant programme but a very unsatisfactory ending bring it back and finish it properly PLEASE…………

    • Kirstie S

      Totally agree there! Love The Royal like many have said u can sit down as a family an watch it, there something for everyone to enjoy x

  9. william sykes

    please itv listen to the viewers and bring back heartbeat and the royal, excellent tv viewing

  10. irene toon

    please please do anotner series of the royal cant leave gorden on the opperating room, and alan realy needs to settle downl

  11. bill farnam

    the ROYAL was a brilliant programme, much better than the garbage we are subjected to now, such as I’M A CELEBRITY, BIG BROTHER X FACTOR etc etc etc! Bring it back, Mr. Rose (Dennis Lill) was fantastic.

    • Lana

      “The Royal”…….I love this down – to -earth show… all the characters are perfectly cast for their roles…..and realistic , believable story lines that everyone can relate to……… I hope there will be a new series soon… Pretty Pulleezzzzze !!

  12. Sam Evetts

    Whist watching a catch up of the series I fell in love with the royal, I was absolutely devastated to see the end episode left the way it was. So many unanswered questions. A program with so many fans deserved to be ended with repect. With the utter rubbish that I’m supjected to watching every week, I can only hope and pray that you will reconsider making a new series/better ending.


    I’m a Johnny come lately to this show and started watching it early Saturday mornings where the showed 2 episodes. Had seen it before and use to just turn over considering it “boring” before even watching 5 mins. Now am totally hooked and was devasted at the ending not knowing whether Dr Ormerod dies or lives. I thought as this episode was just before Christmas I thought it was on holid until after the holidays and now hearing that was the last episode am thoroughly disappointed with such a messy ending. This was a fantastic show and totally refreshing viewing with all the violence and reality tosh that seems to bombard our channels now. Bring it back I say and smartish..

  14. A great series.It was a shame that the last episode had to contain a fashionable attack on the Catholic clergy with references to a predatory priest who colluded in having one of his victim committed for life. As it was becoming so p[olitically correct perhaps it was time to go.

  15. Eeva Heinonen

    The last episode took place in Finland yesterday and it left me so sad! Please bring back this wonderful series! I want to know what happened to our dear doctor! All the actors were super!

  16. P Yately

    Agree wholeheartedly with all comments re The Royal. PLEASE PLEASE make final episode . You cannot leave us guessing. What about a new series ?!!

  17. From Sotkamo, Finland thanks so much for this quality production. Hopefully British producers understand that quality is what saves countries and civilizations from falling into decadence. This fine and beautifully made production recreated a time that is important to many of us, even living in a country different from the UK. “The Royal”, please come back!

  18. May Johnston

    Please bring back the royal. Obviously will need new cast

  19. Couldn’t have been left on more of a cliff hanger! I wish there was a 9th series in which you could find out what happens to Dr Ormerod! Will deffinatly miss the show.

  20. IAN and chris pickup


  21. Mary bennett

    Heartily agree with all the above Bring back the royal PLEASE !!!!

  22. I Willsher

    My wife & I came late to this drama and were totally hooked from the first episode. The final ending felt like the powers that be just couldn’t be bothered. How can it be left like that. Better than most of the c..p on TV now.
    Ian & Jo

  23. ITV are a bloody waste of space, if they can’t afford to keep programs like the Royal and Heartbeat on they should just do everyone a favour and close down altogether out of the way.

  24. pat

    I have to agree with Brian,itv are making a big mistake not finishing off two great drama series. In fact, they could have continued the storylines in both Heartbeat and The Royal quite easily,shame on you itv.

  25. Sue Hughes

    Yes please bring back The Royal and Heartbeat .Some wonderful gentle dramas enjoyed by many ,but as usual ridiculed by the few who neither care or are bothered by good drama.

  26. Nanny.pow.pow

    Please bring l the royal back we all miss it thank you

  27. Nanny.pow.pow

    I really really really really really really really really miss the show!
    Bring it back right this instance!!!!

  28. SusieToronto

    ITV continues to air (repeats of) The Royal on ITV Player and I continue to watch it, ever hopeful they’ll realise their mistake and bring it back. For some reason, those reality shows of theirs take precedence. Cheaper to produce, I reckon.

  29. Sam Deakin

    Yes please! Let’s get The Royal back on our screens.

  30. Even though I’ve watched the whole series before, it’s been a total pleasure to watch the series again…it’s absolutely the highlight of my afternoon viewing, a series with strong characters, unusual/interesting story lines, good writing and excellent acting. Overall, a thousand times more interesting and watchable than the endless dull reality tv shows ITV seems to imagine is all viewers really want to watch. If ITV could be brave for once, listen to what viewers actually enjoy, and bring it back, well that would be exceptional. But I won’t hold my breath. The grey suits rule. No wonder we’re all turning off and selling out tv sets.

  31. Elaine dickinson

    Please bring back this fantastic show or at least a proper farewell. Miss it so much.

  32. carol

    please let us know what happened to dr omerod…really cruel to end the series like that !!!!

    • Mrs Katrina Robertson

      I can’t for the life of me understand why ITV decided to axe the Royal I loved it and also Heart beat the outstanding acting from everyone was brilliant especially matron sister brigid and amazing actress Amy robbins she’s a truly gr8 actress has always been my fav actress I just wished the royal got a gr8 ending that it rightly deserved not knowing what happened to Dr omerod left us on cliff hanger the way itv treated those actors of the royal was a disgrace yet they keep rubbish programmes like x factor!!!

  33. Sue Walker

    Having watched this series again on ITV3 while convalescing from major surgery I had forgotten how the last episode had ended until watching it. I am as disappointed this time as I was the first time. This was a fabulous series, which we watch every week. Real of corse not, entertaining absolutely, and to leave the fans unfinished was not cool at all. Quite frankly the rubbish ITV are producing at the moment is sad. I am not forced to watch the rubbish I know, but one more talent show, cookery show, singing show, get me it of here, dancing, or game show………..where are the dramas that all the family can watch………… Vera and DC Banks but ITV that is is really…. Get your finger out and bring back gentle, funny, gripping and entertains shows like The a Royal and Heartbeat which I am also watch the rerun ITV 3

  34. Angela


    • Pamela

      Why pay actors when you can make more money by getting stupid people to pay you money for making stupid banal programmes like BGT? It has even wormed it’s way into our language. How many knew what I meant? Most of you. WHY? because we have no choice. Did we choose to have it on every day of the week? Did we choose to have our weekend viewing changed because of ONE programme? Or our newspapers devoted to the winners? So who made these choices?

  35. Amanda Anderson

    Bring The Royal back! It’s an awesome drama

  36. james worsfold

    please itv listen to the viewers and bring back heartbeat and the royal, excellent tv viewing make a program to at least finish what you have started

    • Sharon

      I only recently started watching The Royal on ITV 3, but I quickly became hooked. I even purchased the 1st couple of series on DVD to catch up on the episodes I missed. I just watched the ‘last ever’ episode and could not believe that it could be left that way. I thought that it was just a cliffhanger end to a series, then realised it was THE END. ITV should take notice of all these comments from viewers, as clearly it is this type of series that people want to see. It does make perfect Sunday evening viewing, or any other time, for that matter. I am gutted that there is not a more satisfactory ending, not just to the fate of Dr Ormerod, but all the other characters’ storylines. ITV should definitely commission a proper final series. Hopefully all the actors are still available and willing to reprise their roles. This series was really evocative of a bygone era. I found the attitude to women and the advances in healthcare fascinating and difficult to believe that this was happening not that long ago. ITV PLEASE bring back The Royal!!

  37. Elizabeth price

    I agree bring back the Royal, I hate all the reality tv programmes and never watch them.the Royal and heartbeat are about real people with real problems and the actors are great.

  38. colin flowerday

    look itv bring back THE ROYAL and HEARTBEAT we love these series we need them back not endless crappy reality and talent shows ! I worked at ATV in Birmingham 50 years ago and Lew Grade knew how to legendary cult shows while all itv can make is ABYSMAL RUBBISH so wake up bring these lovely shows back or we will get rid of itv forever!

  39. Harry Rigby. Bolton.

    Are there any episodes of the Royal & or Hearbeat that have never been shown on Freeview such as ‘later series’.It’s always repetitive. Better still COME-ON ITV Launch a new batch.

  40. Lily

    Yes we all need to see some more, write some more stories for the Royal & Heartbeat. Come back Please x

  41. Chrissy

    Bring back the royal please,,didn’t see first time around , now an avid watcher,

  42. Mary Killington

    I have been watching the royal every breakfast time brill program why oh why did it finish without a proper ending not knowing if poor Gordon made it.please bring it back !!!!!!!!!!

  43. Gill Cook

    Please bring back the royal, watched all the ‘re- runs partner missing the classic cars, please please think about, 🙂 aye reality tv ,more British drama

  44. Diane Blackwell

    Please bring back the Royal and Heartbeat, I miss them so.

  45. The way ITV treat their viewers is appalling, they left it on a cliffhanger and not knowing what happens is just galling when you have got to know all the characters. Strange that they did the same with ‘Home Fires’, I wonder why? Why keep the X factor and all that rubbish? Expecially when the beeb did so well with ‘Call the Midwife’? There is a demand for nostalgia TV and some escapism.

  46. Dorothy Kazer

    I wish that the powers-that-be at ITV would rethink their policies.
    They just concentrate on “reality tv” now,
    You would think they would learn from the popularity of shows like Doc Martin and Downton Abbey that there is a need for good family viewing.
    Instead we are treated to a diet of “I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here” and “Britain’s Got Talent”

  47. Paul Leavett

    Watched it on ITV repeats, brilliant show, little tongue in cheek (as an ex fireman) but acting was superb, Linda Armstrong, Wendy Craig? how could it not be? Pity it never got the proper send off, it deserved.. They pulled the plug on an entertaining series, and started making total reality rubbish… There is NOTHING like it now, or heartbeat.. WHY NOT?

  48. Wish they would bring it back. Been watching the re-runs on ITV3😢

  49. Pingback: Dr Ellis The Royal Itv | cj

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