Actor Ricky Tomlinson is 78 years old today.
Famous for his roles in Brookside, Cracker and the Royle Family, he is also renowned as the only person who uses the word arse more than my mum. Although, to be fair to my mum, if I wasn’t around my parents house so much I reckon her use of the word would significantly diminish.
Blackpool born and Liverpool bred, Tomlinson has led a more colourful life than someone who lives in a kaleidoscope. Not that people live in kaleidoscopes but I’m struggling for a suitable simile, so you got that I’m afraid.
You’d need a bloody big kaleidoscope to fit Ricky in as he’s not the most svelte of chaps! …………. Anyway, enough about kaleidoscopes already.
A detached three bedroom kaleidoscope. Ideal for first time buyer. Viewing recommended.
Tomlinson’s colourful life includes partaking in left wing political activism, which at one point led to two years in jail for ‘conspiracy to intimidate’. A sentence handed down for picketing activities in Shrewsbury.
His left wing ideology started in the 1970’s, after meeting controversial puppet Basil Brush at the BBC TV centre. Brush became his drinking buddy in the 1970’s, when their off the wall behaviour and anti-Tory rhetoric gained them a reputation as being disruptive individuals.
Tomlinson’s drinking buddy in the 1970’s, looking a bit worse for wear at the BAFTA’s
His big acting break came in 1982 when he landed the part of Bobby Grant in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, a role he played for six years. He has had many leading roles in TV and film since then. However, he is possibly best known for his role as cantankerous, workshy slob Jim Royle in the comedy The Royle Family.
This brilliantly written show created by the late Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash was shot to give it an almost documentary, fly on the wall feel. An affect not dissimilar to a northern England kitchen sink drama style of Ken Loach in the 1960’s. Only Aherne and Cash’s social comment was made through very funny comedic observations, not the grim monochrome existences of Loach’s characters.
His portrayal of the ill tempered, lazy scouser, who takes advantage of his selfless wife Barbara and feckless family, was kitchen sink comedy at its funniest . It wasn’t a catchphrase based comedy by any stretch of the imagination, however, the show did spawn him the catchphrase “My Arse” as a suffix to his many rants.
A keen banjo player, Tomlinson occasionally treat the Royle Family viewers to tune during the show. The instrument he utilised mostly was given to him by ex-Leeds United striker Noel Hunt. This was famously used by Hunt whilst at Leeds to try disprove the fans theory that “He couldn’t hit a cows arse with a banjo!”…….. He failed!
I have Ricky’s autobiography perched a few feet from me in my bookcase. Like most of the things in there I’ve not read it, but I always think a full bookcase is a sign of a well read, inquisitive, intelligent mind. It just goes to show how misleading owning lots of books can be.
They say ‘Never judge a book by its cover’. However, I recently read a really rubbish book which had an awful front cover, so that rule doesn’t always apply. In fact, it was one of the tomes penned by me.
Anyway, happy birthday Ricky Tomlinson………. “Birthday, My Arse!”