‘The Royle Family’ could be coming back this year, says Ricky Tomlinson

Plans in motion as actress Caroline Aherne recovers from period of ill health

The Royle Family could return to the BBC for new episodes later this year, according to actor Ricky Tomlinson.

The BBC sitcom, which follows its eponymous family and sees Tomlinson play family patriarch Jim Royle, ran for three series from 1998 to 2000, with one-off specials later airing from 2006-2012.

Asked whether new episodes were in the works, Tomlinson told The Sun at the premiere of new Sacha Baron Cohen film Grimsby, in which he also stars, that the show “possibly could” come back”.

“There could possibly be one this year,” he said before adding that actress Caroline Aherne, who plays his character’s daughter Denise in the comedy, is “so much better” now as she recovers from lung cancer. Aherne was diagnosed in 2014.

“She had a little rough patch and she’s so much better now and God willing we’ll probably do one this year,” Tomlinson continued.

Alongside Tomlinson and Aherne, The Royle Family stars an ensemble cast that includes Sue Johnston, Ralf Little, Craig Cash, Liz Smith and Jessica Hynes. It has won several BAFTA Awards.