Ralf Little: Playing Antony Royle stopped me getting bigger roles

5 February 2021, 13:55

Ralf Little in The Royle Family and as himself in 2020
Ralf Little in The Royle Family and as himself in 2020. Picture: Michael Bezjian/Getty Images/ITV/Shutterstock

The Death In Paradise star is only now playing the leading man 20 years after appearing as the "gawky teenager".

Ralf Little thinks his appearance in The Royle Family prevented him from landing a leading man role for much of his career.

The Death In Paradise star got his big break on BBC sitcom in 1998, playing the much put-upon son of Jim Royle. However, the actor believes being cast as the awkward character stopped him from winning bigger parts

He told the BBC: “I think for a long time, I was firmly rooted in the industry’s imagination, who had a mental picture of me as a gawky 20-year-old.”

Ralf Little with the rest of the cast of The Royle Family
Ralf Little with the rest of the cast of The Royle Family. Picture: Granada/Shutterstock

“I am incredibly grateful for my career. I have had a wonderful time and I’m having a really wonderful time now being able to be in the Caribbean for five months.

“But I’ve had a 20-year career and this is the first show I’ve actually been the legitimate lead in ... at age 40. Don’t get me wrong, anyone’s lucky to even have one, but it’s taken a while to even get here."

The sitcom came to an end in 2000 after three series and Ralf went on to star as Jonny Keogh in Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps for five years, along with other roles such as Joy Division bassist Peter Hook in the biopic 24 Hour Party People.

However, Ralf believes he could have made it to Hollywood if casting agents had not seen him as Antony.

He added: “I think that’s possibly the most astute question and observation that anyone’s ever put to me. I do feel that actually, since you bring it up.”

However, Little hopes his appearance as Detective Inspector Neville Parker in the BBC drama will stop the typecasting.

“It is a high quality show, with complex murder ... new characters, and it looks beautiful and everybody feels good about it," he said. "It takes a lot of effort to make it effortless. It is something I’m very proud of.”

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