The Royle Family
The Royle Family broke the mould of British Soap Operas, when it was introduced in 1993. Written by the talented Caroline Aherne (Mrs Merton) and comedy writing partner Craig Cash , the programme won many awards including a BAFTA.
The programme concentrates on a working class family in Manchester called “The Royles”, consisting of a lazy father Jim, worn out mother Barbara, even lazier Denise and Anthony otherwise known as “lurch”. Denise is married to long suffering Dave and they have a child, baby David. Barbara’s mother (Nana) makes a regular appearance as does Denise’s best mate Cheryl (always on a diet); Anthony’s girlfriend Emma and his best friend, Darren. Nana and Jim do not like each other and make constant jibes and Nana seems obsessed with telling the family all about Elsie (who no one has met). Dave and Jim get on well and there are many references to spending time in the local pub, The Feathers, which Denise’s nemesis, Beverly Macca frequents.
The programme is slow moving and mainly set in the Royle’s living room as they drink tea, smoke, watch television and eat biscuits. Barbara works part-time in a bakers and occasionally brings back discounted cakes. Much commentary is made about whatever is on the television and Jim has a habit of slagging everyone off and being jealous of their money. He is quite a mean man and does not like Denise taking advantage of Barbara. However he does have a soft side which comes out now and again. Denise palms off her son on everyone, treating them as unpaid baby sitters whilst she worries about fashion, hair, make-up and whether she is getting fat. She cannot cook and is the butt of many jokes from Jim.
Although The Royle Family is centred around the more dull aspects of life, it works well as we explore the relationships between characters and appreciate how well it is written. It is a classic series.