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The Royle Family is an award-winning British sitcom. Famously minimalistic, the show almost entirely takes place in the house of the eponymous family, usually in the living room in front of the television. The show lacks any form of laughter track and actual gags are rare, most of the humour instead coming from the characters themselves: Jim Royle, cynical and sarcastic couch potato; Barbara, his hard-working and long-suffering wife; Denise, their lazy daughter; Antony, their extremely put-upon son; Dave Best, Denise's dim-witted but well-meaning fiancé; Nana, Barbara's elderly mother; and next door neighbours Joe, who's very boring; Mary, who's a bit gone in the head; Cheryl, who's always gaining weight; Darren, Anthony's criminal friend and Twiggy, Jim's criminal friend.

The show gets most of its laughs through the various characters interactions with each other, often mirroring real English families extremely well. The writers, Craig Cash and Caroline Aherne, also play the couple Dave and Denise.

The show ran for three seasons from 1998-2000. A special, "The Queen of Sheba", was produced in 2006, and since 2008, Christmas specials have been produced annually. There has since been "The New Sofa", "The Golden Egg Cup" and most recently "Joe's Crackers".

Came 19th in Britains Best Sitcom.

Tropes used in The Royle Family include:


  • Actor Allusion: In the 1999 Christmas Special, Nana asks what time the Vicar of Dibley is on. Liz Smith, the actor who plays Nana, also played Letitia Cropley in the Vicar of Dibley.
  • Aside Glance: Much humour comes from Jim's reaction from when people say stupid, weird, or otherwise unusual things. Usually this will be from Dave, Denise, or one of the next door neighbours.
  • Away in a Manger: the season 2 Christmas Episode
  • Butt Monkey: Antony
  • Christmas Episode
    • Though only two of the Christmas specials take place at Christmas.
  • The Couch: usually inhabited by Barbara, Dave and/or Denise, and occasionally Nana.
  • Epunymous Title
  • Hypocritical Humor: Anytime Jim calls out anyone else for being lazy.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jim will forever condemn everyone and everything as a swizz, too expensive, or just plain stupid. But when he knows he needs to say something (usually when it's his own fault), he well quietly reassure said character that he does indeed love them, and is there for Denise at her wedding and child's birth, and for Barbara at her mother's funeral.
    • Although in the recent Christmas specials he seems to have moved firmly into Jerkass territory, saying cruel and spiteful things seemingly because the show demands it.
  • Kitchen Sink Drama
  • Gargle Blaster: The "tropical punch".
  • Oop North: Manchester
  • Put on a Bus: Emma, despite being Anthony's wife-to-be and mother of his child, she disappeared after the second Christmas Special with no explanation and has never been mentioned since. Anthony's friend Darren hasn't been around since then either.
  • Real Time: used in most episodes, with the exceptions of some of the specials.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation
  • Slice of Life
  • Spot of Tea: it's a British show, after all.
    • Though here it's more commonly called a "brew".
  • Tear Jerker: Everyone cried at the end of The Queen of Sheba, no exceptions.
    • Jim comforting Denise when she's terrified after going into labour.
  • This Is My Chair: Jim always sits in his armchair in front of the TV.
    • And Anthony often has the other armchair.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The entire family. They spend most of their time bickering and making jibes at each other. But on times such as Denise's wedding or Norma's wake, they'll show that they really do love each other just like a family.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Jim always puts Anthony down, but when he knows he's gone too far he promises he'll be there if his son needs him.
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