Royles revealed

New characters for Aherne's sitcom

Two new characters are to be introduced in the Royle Family's Christmas special.

David and Jocelyn Best, the parents of Craig Cash's character Dave, will make their debut in the much-anticipated new episode going out on BBC One at 9.30pm on Christmas Day.

They are slightly snobbish lower-middle-class couple, keen to make the right impression – in contrast to the plain-speaking Royles.

The Bests are played by Tom Courtenay and Helen Fraser, the first time they have worked together since they starred as a couple in John Schlesinger’s classic 1963 film Billy Liar.

Fraser told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s wonderful to work with Tom again, and of course it’s fantastic to work on a show like The Royle Family.

She said of their characters: ‘David drives a Mondeo, of which he’s very proud. He was in the RAF and then he worked at the Prudential insurance company. He likes growing parsnips and rhubarb and we all have to drink his rhubarb wine

‘He’s deeply boring but Jocelyn adores him. She’s quite a snob.'

The latest episode is called The New Sofa and for only the second time in its ten-year history Craig and co-writer Carlone Aherne have shifted the action away from the Royles’ front room. Christmas Eve will be spent at the Royles, before the family spends Christmas lunch with Dave and wife Denise.

Fraser added: ‘We go to lunch at Denise’s house where we “mingle” because, according to Denise, “that’s what you do at Christmas, mingle”. She’s never done lunch before and, as you might expect, it’s all a bit of a disaster.

'The turkey isn’t cooked, the potatoes are burnt and I think we end up with not much more than a plate of carrots. For starters, we had tomato Cup-A-Soup and I don’t think I ever want to see another one ever again – I did about 16 takes. And afterwards, there’s no Christmas pudding but Viennetta ice cream.

Published: 14 Dec 2008

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