The Royle Family set for return with special documentary to celebrate 25th anniversary

4 August 2023, 10:42 | Updated: 4 August 2023, 11:28

The cast of the Royle Family
The cast of the Royle Family in 1998. Picture: ITV/Shutterstock

By Jenny Mensah

A refreshed version of Royle Family: Down the Back of the Sofa will air on Gold next month.

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The Royle Family is celebrating 25 years with a one-off special.

The beloved 90s BBC sitcom - which chronicled the lives of a Manchester family as they spent their evenings watching television on the sofa - is marking the anniversary with an updated version of the 2010 documentary The Royle Family: Down the Back of the Sofa.

The show, which airs on Gold next month, will give fans another chance to hear interviews with the programme’s cast and co-co-creators, including Ralf Little, 42, Ricky Tomlinson, 83, Sue Johnston, 79, Craig Cash, 62 and the late Caroline Aherne, who died in 2016 aged 52.

READ MORE: Noel Gallagher recalls how Half The World Away became The Royle Family theme song

Jason Dawson, the commissioning editor at Gold, said: "A quarter of a century! The Royle Family has without doubt left a permanent mark in television history and we’re delighted to have commissioned this documentary for the 25th anniversary.

"Working alongside Craig and the brilliant team at Phil McIntyre is such a pleasure, and we hope viewers will enjoy reliving this celebration of one of the nation’s most beloved shows.

Gold’s bosses also welcomed the “nostalgic trip down memory lane” the refreshed telly special will bring about the comedy series.

The channel’s director Gerald Casey added: “We absolutely love an anniversary on Gold, and we know our viewers love these nostalgic trips down memory lane just as much as us. It is an honour to have this retrospective documentary airing on Gold this September."

The Royle Family, which was produced by Granada Television for the BBC, ran for three series from 1998 to 2000 and included specials which ran from 2006-2012.

The show is known just as much for its characters as it is for its theme song and Noel Gallagher's Oasis B-Side Half The World Away.

Speaking about how the song came to feature on the sitcom's soundtrack, Gallagher told Matt Morgan: "I knew (writer and creator) Craig (Cash) from Manchester. I didn’t know Caroline. Craig had a radio show in Manchester […] and they just asked could they use the track."

Asked what he thought when he saw it, the Ballad of the Mighty I singer replied: "Well, I instantly fell in love with it, because that house and the awkward silences and eating your tea on a tray on your knee like your Dad…

"My dad was a version of Jim Royle, which is like, ‘Everything on the telly is shit,’ and me Mam was like 'Jesus Christ, shut up’. So that was our house, and the long awkward silences, I was like ‘well, that’s our house,' you know and I instantly fell in love with the pregnant pauses more than anything."

Shortly after Caroline Aherne lost her cancer battle, Noel Gallagher dedicated the much-loved song to Caroline Aherne as a tribute during Channel 4's Stand Up To Cancer.

The track is still performed by Noel Gallagher today, with the former Oasis guitarist and songsmith performing the track at South Facing Festival below:

Noel Gallagher - Half The World Away at South Facing Festival 2023

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