Airdate: Royle Family: The New Sofa

rfBritish comedy The Royle Family is back this month for a Xmas special “The New Sofa.”

Filmed in 2008, this plotline was apparently inspired by Nigella Lawson.

The series on the working class family in a telly-centric living room ran in the UK for three series from 1998 but another special is due to air in the UK on Xmas Day.

It’s Christmas, my a*se!

It’s Christmas in the Royle family household and this year, for the first time, Denise is cooking the dinner… which means patriarch Jim has to leave his beloved armchair, something he’s all the more reluctant to do when he knows Dave’s parents are also invited.

The day starts well. Denise and Dave are up nice and early, (if you can call a quarter to twelve early), which leaves plenty of time, since their guests aren’t due until 2pm… if only the turkey wasn’t still frozen. As Denise takes to the kitchen to prepare the starter – “‘Cup-a-Soup’, with a twist” (she’s serving it in a bowl) – Dave desperately tries to thaw the frozen bird, in between serving a rather ominous-looking, home-made tropical punch from a trolley as their guests “mingle”.

Denise and Dave show off their new “flame retarded” sofa complete with additional feature: it reclines! Much merriment ensues as Barbara, Jocelyn and David Senior each take it in turns to “have a recline”. Jim, unimpressed, looks on in disgust and continues to get drunk by slurping punch directly from the bowl. Meanwhile Twiggy shows up with his unique take on life, as well as two bottles of spirits complete with optics, and so the line-up is complete as the family sit down expectantly to dinner.

But unfortunately for poor Denise, she’s managed to burn the only six potatoes she has, and what with the still-frozen turkey, has to tearfully admit her Christmas dinner is a failure. But in true Royle family fashion, they rally round and make the best of what they have, with David Senior’s allotment carrots and Barbara’s gravy-from-a-stockcube saving the day. Because who needs Christmas when you’ve got each other… and a new sofa?

It may appear to be hum-drum and low on incident, but with its deftly-crafted script from Bafta-winning writers and acute observations on working-class life, The Royle Family returns to form with its usual irreverence in a programme packed with witty one-liners.

Starring: Ricky Tomlinson (Clocking Off, Mike Bassett: Manager, Down to Earth), Sue Johnston (Waking the Dead, Jam & Jerusalem, The Street), Caroline Aherne (The Fast Show, Mrs. Merton and Malcolm), Craig Cash (Sunshine, Early Doors), Tom Courtenay (Little Dorrit, The Golden Compass) and Geoffrey Hughes (Keeping up Appearances, Skins)

It airs Thursday December 24th at 8.30pm on UKTV and is simulcast in HD.

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