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Ricky Tomlinson Podcast
Tomlinson was born Eric Tomlinson in Blackpool
and has lived in Liverpool most of his life.
Before turning to acting, he worked as a building site plasterer for
many years, becoming involved in trade union politics and activism. In
1972 he joined the flying pickets in a building workers dispute in
Shrewsbury. He was sentenced to two years in prison after being
found guilty of 'conspiracy to intimidate' as one of the so-called
Shrewsbury Two, and in 1975 disrupted the TUC conference by
shouting from the wings after he had been prevented from speaking
from the stage. It was revealed in 2002 that he had been monitored in
the 1970s by MI5.
In his 2003 autobiography he revealed that between 1968 and 1972,
prior to his involvement with trade union politics, he was a member of
the National Front, which he now bitterly regrets and puts down to
being "politically naive and poorly educated".
As an actor he has found considerable success, appearing as Bobby
Grant in the soap opera Brookside, as DCI Charlie Wise in Cracker (UK
TV series) and as Jim Royle in the sitcom The Royle Family.
In 2002 Tomlinson starred in the BBC TV Series Nice Guy Eddie
playing a Liverpool private investigator. Using down-to-earth cases -
actually based upon real life cases by Liverpool private investigator
Tony Smith - the show also starred Tom Ellis and John Henshaw.
He has also starred in several films, notably Mike Bassett: England
Manager, Raining Stones and Hillsborough, a made-for-TV film about
the families' of the victims of the Hillsborough stadium disaster.
Tomlinson has fronted a series of commercials for privatised former
nationalised utility British Gas. In 2003 he published an
autobiography, entitled Ricky.
Tomlinson is also a keen banjo player, and has played the instrument
in many episodes of The Royle Family. In 2001 he teamed up with
fellow Brookside actor, Michael Starke and other friends for his own
rendition of well-known folk songs including It's A Long Way To
Tipperary and a cover of The Pogues' Are You Lookin' At Me?. A CD
album entitled Music My Arse was released the same year. He released
a single at Christmas 2006 entitled Christmas My Arse which reached
#25 in the UK Singles Chart.
On 19 June 2006 Tomlinson made his debut as the guest celebrity in
Dictionary Corner on the popular and long-running UK Channel 4
game show Countdown.
In the summer of 2006, Tomlinson toured at theatres across the UK
with his show An Evening with Ricky Tomlinson where he was
interviewed about his life by Elton Welsby.
In December 2006 he presented a programme in Five's Disappearing
Britain series entitled When Coal was King, in which he made
controversial comments about Margaret Thatcher's potential death.
In March 2007, Tomlinson presented BBC's One Life: Guilty My Arse,
detailing his version of the Shrewsbury Two case, in which he
compared his political activism as a trade unionist to the work of the
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Interviews by Vince
An Interview with Ricky Tomlinson
Vince Tracy interviews Ricky Tomlinson. To listen to
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