Royles return

BBC confirms new Christmas special

The Royle Family is to return for another Christmas special, the BBC has confirmed today.

All the regular cast will return for the new show, which will also reunite writers Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash.

The new episode comes more than two years after The Queen of Sheba, in which Liz Smith's character Nana died – which had, until now, widely been considered as the show’s final instalment. That programme attracted an impressive 7.8million viewers.

Since the fourth series of the Royle Family ended in 2000, Aherne has appeared only twice on TV: for the Queen of Sheba special and as a barmaid in Cash’s comedy Sunshine earlier this year.

Phil Mealey, who co-wrote Sunshine and Early Doors with Cash, also collaborated on the script of the new Royle Family special, which will air on BBC One on a date to be announced.

The news came as the corporation confirmed a line-up of old favourites for its festive schedules, including one-off revivals for Rab C Nesbitt and Shooting Stars, with Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Matt Lucas, and the return of Blackadder for a one-off documentary, Blackadder Rides Again.

Although cable channel GOLD made new documentaries about the sitcom earlier this year, the BBC One show, to coincide with the comedy’s 25th anniversary, will include the first in-depth interview with Rowan Atkinson on the subject.

Christmas specials for Gavin And Stacey, which moves to BBC One, My Family, The Peter Serafinowicz Show, After You've Gone and Lead Balloon are also in the pipeline; while Alan Davies reprises his role as Jonathan Creek for a new mystery.

Also, Wallace and Gromit return in a new adventure, In A Matter Of Loaf And Death, while David Tennant stars in a special edition of Doctor Who.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, repeats of classic comedy sketches will replace a planned New Year version of the sitcom Still Game, following a reported fallout between stars Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill. Instead the Comedy Resolution compilation - featuring clips from Scottish shows such as Scotch & Wry, Chewin' The Fat, Naked Video, The Karen Dunbar Show, A Kick Up The 80s and Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee – will take its place in the schedules.

Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, says: ‘We've really pulled out all the stops this year to ensure a truly wonderful holiday schedule featuring the very best of British talent.’

Published: 24 Nov 2008

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