The Royle Family cast now – Gogglebox star, Our Yorkshire Farm and tragic deaths

The Royle Family captured British working-class life and truly captured the hearts of the nation.

The iconic BBC comedy had us in fits of laughter during its impressive life-span of over two decades, with the hilarious telly-loving Royle family getting up to all kinds of shenanigans in their living room.

During its initial run, the BAFTA-winning series aired from 1998 until 2000 when co-creator Caroline Aherne announced she would no longer be starring in or writing any more episodes, and Ricky Tomlinson pulled out to ensure the show's end.

However, the sitcom was revived for a second series with five special episodes which aired from 2006 until 2012, and a sixth was in the pipeline before tragedy struck when Caroline Aherne, who played Denise Royle, sadly passed away from cancer in 2016.

After her tragic passing, many of the cast asserted they would not reunite for more episodes without her alongside them.

The council-house-based show has since been etched into television history, after it was palced 31st in the British Film Institute's list of 100 greatest British television programmes in 2000.

Just like The Royle cohort, The Royle Family cast ended up becoming like one big real-life family, and apparently the stars loved playing pranks on one another.

But many fans might not realise that some of its stars went onto appear in some major British TV shows after their success in the BBC sitcom.

So the Daily Star have taken a look at where the stars of The Royle Family went after leaving the show.

Ricky Tomlinson – Jim Royle

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Ricky, 81, played lazy sofa-slob Jim Royle, who enjoyed doing nothing more than sitting in his armchair watching television.

Famous for his catchphrase "my a**e", Jim was always mocking his family and judging the celebs on telly, but his caring side came out when his family needed it.

After his leading role on The Royle Family, Ricky went on to star as the front man in the satirical comedy film Mike Basset: England Manager, as well as Hillsborough, a TV film about the Hillsborough disaster.

In 2006, he also popped up as a celebrity guest in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown and retraced his family history in Who Do You Think You Are?

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But he also turned his hand to music in 2006 when he released a Christmas single called "Christmas My Ar*e" – a clear reference to his Royle role – which reached number 25 in the charts.

He also went on a comedy tour in 2008 and 2009, set up a cabaret club in Liverpool and appeared in a string of TV adverts.

In 2020, he also joined his Royle Family co-star Ralf Little when the pair presented a travel series called Ricky & Ralf's Very Northern Road Trip for Gold.

Caroline Aherne – Denise Best

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Caroline of course co-created and starred in The Royle Family with her close pal Craig Cash.

Caroline played Jim and Barbara's pretentious and obnoxious daughter Denise Royle, who tends to pass on most of her parenting duties to everyone else despite having two children of her own.

When she decided to end her beloved sitcom, Caroline actually became the narrator on Gogglebox when it began in 2013 – highly fitting given how much the Royles loved their telly.

She also narrated Pound Shop Wars in 2012 and wrote a number of shows including The Security Men in 2013 alongside Jeff Pope for ITV, which starred Paddy McGuinness.

However, sadly Caroline suffered from both bladder cancer and a rare cancer which affects the retina, and underwent treatment for lung cancer in 2014.

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While she took time off from Gogglebox to receive her cancer treatment, Craig filled in as the Gogglebox host.

The star passed away from lung cancer in 2016 at the age of 52, and she'd only told her family and close friends about the terminal state of her illness.

Discussing her passing, Caroline's co-star Ricky said: "Her death is the biggest shock in the world. It’s knocked me for six,".

"I’m so bl**dy shocked. She was absolutely wonderful and amazing to work for. Kind, funny, witty,"

Fellow Royle Sue commented: "For me, she was the most generous of women and that showed in her spirit,"

"She was very funny, naturally funny, but her generosity was extraordinary."

Sue Johnston – Barbara Royle

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Sue, 77, played over-worked mum Barbara, who kept the house in shape and cooked every meal for the clan as Jim stayed rooted to the couch.

When her time cooking Christmas dinner for her on-screen family came to an end, Sue went on to star in BBC crime drama Waking The Dead for over ten years.

She then turned her talents to the famous ITV cobbles and played Gloria Price in Coronation Street from 2012 until 2014.

The star, who won a BAFTA for Best Comedy Performance in 2000 for her time as a Royle, also bagged herself a role in the manor-house-hit-series Downton Abbey as Miss Denker between 2014 and 2015 alongside acting great Maggie Smith.

And if you're a Downton fan, you can check out our feature on what happened to the Downton Abbey stars.

Ralf Little – Antony Royle

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Ralf, 41, played Barbara and Jim's young son Antony on the sitcom, and he was always called a "lazy git" by his dad despite having to do all the chores.

Following on from his time on the sitcom, the actor interestingly enjoyed a semi-professional football career and played for Maidstone United, Staines Town, and other clubs as well as playing for England in 2010 during Soccer Aid.

He has also appeared in huge shows like Doctor Who and Inside Number 9, and joined BBC crime show Death in Paradise as the lead in 2019.

But you might not realise that he's also the narrator of Channel 5's family farm show, Our Yorkshire Farm.

Craig Cash – Dave Best

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Craig played removal man Dave Best who was the husband of Denise and son-in-law of Jim and Barbara, and a rather simple man altogether.

Craig, 60, co-created The Royle Family after meeting Caroline at a Manchester pirate radio station in the early 80s – with the two creative heads becoming best friends.

After The Royle Family, Craig wrote the BBC sitcom Early Doors, and he also wrote for The Fast Show and reunited with cast-mate Ralf Little to direct The Café.

In 2015, he also starred and directed in Sky One comedy drama After Hours.

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Craig then filled in for his friend Caroline as the Gogglebox voiceover during her cancer treatment, later becoming the permanent voice of the show when Caroline passed.

Speaking to the Radio Times about when Caroline asked him to take her Gogglebox role, Craig said: "Of course, I said yes; it was a very sad time and I wanted to do right by her and by the programme.

"Caroline was well and then unwell, well and unwell, so I filled in whenever she needed me to."

Liz Smith – Norma 'Nana' Speakman

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Liz played everybody's favourite TV nan – Barbar's demanding elderly mother Norma, called 'Nana' by Anthony and Denise.

Liz Smith wasn't just known for her time on The Royle Family, though, because she also played Letitia Cropley in The Vicar of Dibley from 1994 to 1996.

She also starred as Zillah in classy BBC costume series Lark Rise to Candleford, and she was even made an MBE in the 2009 New Year's Honours list for her services to acting.

Sadly, the screen legend passed away at the age of 95 at her home in Worthing, West Sussex.

Jessica Hyynes – Cheryl Carroll

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Jessica, 48, played Denise's best friend and Joe and Mary's daughter Cheryl, who constantly struggles with her weight.

The star has gone on to enjoy a highly successful career and has been nominated for five BAFTAs (winning two), a Tony, a Laurence Olivier Award and three British Comedy Awards (winning two).

She's starred in an array of massive films including Bridget Jones' Diary 2, Shaun of the Dead, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (where she provided a voiceover role for the character of Mafalda Hopkirk).

She also appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who as well as Magicians alongside comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb, and more recently in 2019 she starred in BBC and HBO production, Years and Years.

Peter Martin – Joe Carroll

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Peter, 86, played the role of Mary's husband and Cheryl's father, Joe, a very shy character who is often the butt of Jim and Antony's jokes.

After his time as Joe, he has gone to work on both the screen and stage, but most readers might recognise him from the village as he starred in ITV soap Emmerdale between 2001 and 2007.

However, he's also racked up acting credits on Chucklevision, Corrie, Victoria Wood and Last of the Summer Wine.

Most recently, he acted in the 2018 comedy film, Walk like a Panther.

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