The Royle Family cast members who shot to fame after the hit BBC show

The Royle Family is easily one of the most popular and best loved shows to ever grave our TV screens. The show has been making families laugh, cry and nod along at just how accurate some of the depictions of family life really are. Ever since it first aired in […]

The Royle Family is easily one of the most popular and best loved shows to ever grave our TV screens.

The show has been making families laugh, cry and nod along at just how accurate some of the depictions of family life really are.

Ever since it first aired in 1998, fans of the show have fallen in love with the characters and it hold a special place in many people’s hearts.

Created by Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash, the genius of the show was in its simplicity and ability to capture normal family life so perfectly.

Sadly, Caroline died in 2016 at just 52, after a battle with lung cancer, leaving her friends, family and co-stars utterly heartbroken.

Liz Smith, who played Nana in the show, passed away just a few months later on Christmas Eve in 2016, a decade after her character died in a tear-jerking special episode in 2006.

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Another talent from the show who has since sadly passed away was Wallasey-born Geoffrey Hughes, who played Twiggy.

There was never a dull moment when Twiggy was around, whether it was selling his latest dodgy deals or wooing Cheryl at the wedding.

Geoffrey died of prostate cancer in 2012, having been first diagnosed in 1996.

But despite losing so many beloved stars from this incredible show, viewers can still see many of their favourite Royle Family stars on TV and in films today.

The show helped launch a number of careers for budding young talents and also cemented other stars as national treasures.

Here’s what you may have seen stars of the show appearing in since The Royle Family left our screens for the last time.

Ricky Tomlinson

Ricky Tomlinson has been entertaining families on Merseyside for decades – and one of his best loved roles was undoubtedly Jim Royle in The Royle Family.

Lifelong Liverpool FC fan Ricky’s career has spanned television, film and theatre – and in 2014 he was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool.

Since The Royle Family left our screens, Ricky has starred in a number of roles including 2017 Steve Nesbit film Gloves Off and 2018 film The More You Ignore Me with his former co-star Sheridan Smith.

According to film site IMDB, Ricky is currently working on a production called Tales of the Creeping Death.

In 2010, he opened his own cabaret club on Duke Street called the Green Room, which hosts entertainers from around the world.

Outside his esteemed acting career, Ricky is a political activist

And most importantly, he still lives in Liverpool, telling The Guardian: “I will never, ever move away from Liverpool, I love it here.”

Sue Johnston

Royle Family and Brookside star Sue Johnston launched her acting career when she was 38, with a small role on Coronation Street in 1982.

Before her acting days, Sue worked in Brian Epstein’s record shop, taking the chance to follow her dreams of acting once The Beatles, and Epstein, relocated to London.

Her best-known role, as Barbara Royle in the BBC series The Royle Family, made her a household name throughout the UK.

Sue has rarely stopped working since her time on Brookside, and the much-loved actress was made an honorary fellow by Liverpool John Moores University in 2004.

Her roles since The Royle Family have included stints on Downton Abbey and Coronation Street and a part in BBC series Being Eileen, which was set in Birkenhead.

She has also starred in 2016 film Golden Years with Bernard Hill and TV shows Age Before Beauty and Hold The Sunset.

Craig Cash

One of the show’s co-creators, Craig Cash brought laughter to living rooms across Merseyside in his role as Dave.

From telling Barbara what he had for his tea to doing all the heavy lifting when it came to Baby David, his character was a national favourite.

These days, viewers are most likely to recognise Craig as the narrator of Channel 4 show Gogglebox, which was in part inspired by The Royle Family.

He’s also starred in and produced Early Doors and mini-series Rovers, with hi former co-star Sue Johnston.

Ralf Little

a man standing in front of a building: Ricky and Ralf's Very Northern Road Trip - Episode 1 Picture shows: Ricky and Ralf in Blackpool tower

© UKTV/North One
Ricky and Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip – Episode 1 Picture shows: Ricky and Ralf in Blackpool tower

Ralf Little’s role as the long suffering Anthony, otherwise known as Lurch, helped launch an amazing career in TV.

He went on to star in long-running show Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, with roles in other series including Death in Paradise and Married Single Other.

Ralf has also had one-off roles in popular shows like Inside Number 9, Doctor Who and Midsomer Murders.

In an emotional reunion which was filmed for the 2010 Royle Family documentary Behind The Sofa, Ralf visited Liz Smith in her assisted living facility.

The pair reminisced about filming the show and joked about their old characters in heartwarming footage capture before Liz’s death in 2016

Jessica Hynes

Forever on a diet and always unlucky in love, Jessica’s character Cheryl was often the butt of the joke in the Royle household.

Since the show came to an end, viewers will have notices Jessica in a number of productions – including a recent BBC series which had viewers hooked.

She stared as Edith Lyons in the dystopian BBC show Years and Years, which saw her playing a human rights activist and eco warrior on a quest to save the world.

Fans will have spotted the Royle Family star in Shaun of the Dead in 2004, playing the part of Yvonne.

Jessica has also recently starred in There She Goes with David Tennant, a 2018 TV series about a young girl with a learning disability trying to make her way in life.

On the silver screen, she starred in both sequels to Bridget Jones’s Diary, as Magda, and played the part of Miss Kitts in Paddington 2.

Peter Martin

A man of few words, Joe always managed to have viewers in stitches, despite only ever uttering a handful of lines throughout the entire show.

Peter Martin played Len Reynolds in Emmerdale for a number of years after his time on The Royle Family came to an end, and appeared on a number of other favourite soaps including Doctors and Casualty.

Sadly, Doreen Keogh who played Joe’s wife Mary in the show, passed away in 2006.

Sheridan Smith

Sheridan Smith with collar shirt

© PA
Sheridan Smith

Watching The Royle Family back today, it’s almost hard to believe that superstar Sheridan Smith started her career with a relatively small part on the show.

Playing Anthony’s girlfriend Emma, who comes from a well-to-do family, Sheridan’s character was a shy guest in the Royle household.

Since starring in the show, Sheridan has gone on to enjoy an incredible career, with her portrayal of Cilla Black winning her some serious praise.

a close up of a girl holding a sign: Sheridan Smith as Cilla in the acclaimed ITV mini-series

Sheridan Smith as Cilla in the acclaimed ITV mini-series

She also starred in hard hitting BBC drama The Moorside, about the search for missing Yorkshire schoolgirl Shannon Matthews, as Julie Bushby.

Her more long-running roles included Janet in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Michelle in Grown Ups, Brandy in Benidorm and Rudi in Gavin and Stacey.

Over the years, Sheridan has cemented her status as a national treasure thanks to her amazing acting talents and lovable nature.

Andrew Whyment

Andrew Whyment standing in front of a brick building: Coronation Street Kirk Sutherland ( Andrew Whyment )

Coronation Street Kirk Sutherland ( Andrew Whyment )

Another now-familiar face who popped up in the Royle’s front room is Andrew Whyment, who played Anthony’s friend Darren.

Since his role on the beloved sitcom he’s gone on to star as Kirk Sutherland, one of Coronation Street’s longest running and best loved characters.

In 2019, Andrew starred in ITV reality show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and has also featured on The Chase Celebrity Special.

Off screen, Andrew married his long-term girlfriend Nicola in 2007 and they have two children together, Thomas and Hollie.

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