Musician, activist, actor: The many lives of Ricky Tomlinson

As he prepares to tour Ireland with a new show, the Royle Family star talks politics, prison and what will be written on his gravestone

Ricky Tomlinson returns to the stage next month with Irish Annies, a musical comedy set in a fictional pub. Picture: David Munn

It takes Ricky Tomlinson only a minute to blurt out his first Ricky Tomlinson expression. “Andy Murray’s playing in the tennis. I thought he’d bloody retired,” the affable Liverpudlian says, aghast. “He doesn’t need to be playing anyway, does he? I mean, the money he’s got … .”

Not unlike the character he’ll forever be remembered for, The Royle Family star has been passing a rainy afternoon in Liverpool in front of the box. His ...