Ricky Tomlinson makes passionate speech in favour of striking NHS workers
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The actor, best known for his portrayal of lazy family man Jim Royle in the classic BBC comedy The Royle Family, appeared on the ITV chat show and was asked to give his view on the ongoing NHS strikes. The 83-year-old responded with a candid tribute to the health service and vowed to stand “on the picket line” with striking staff.
Ricky appeared via video link to talk to Loose Women hosts Janet Street-Porter, Christine Lampard, Coleen Nolan, and Gloria Hunniford.
The actor didn’t need to hesitate for a second as he fiercely defended striking NHS workers.
“How do you feel about all the striking doctors and nurses at the moment?” Janet asked him as he talked to the panel from Liverpool.
“Listen, I’m sitting here, I’ve got no veins in my arms because they’re wrapped around my heart,” Ricky began.
He continued: “I had open heart surgery, a four-way bypass, I’ve had both cataracts done, I’ve had a growth on that eye taken off and I’m asthmatic. I wouldn’t be alive except for the National Health Service.”
A round of applause broke out from the ITV audience and the presenters at Ricky’s words.
The national treasure went on: “We’ve got the best National Health Service in the world, and we’ve got to support them.
“And if they come out on strike, I’ll be on the picket line with them every morning!”
He concluded with a warning to viewers, adding: “Don’t spoil what we’ve got.”
Ricky starred as Jim in the comedy The Royle Family, which aired on BBC from 1998 to 2000.
The series also went on to produce some successful Christmas Special episodes from 2006 to 2012.
The acting legend had also played Bobby Grant in Brookside.
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With the soap now reairing on TV, he was also asked about the potential of reprising his role.
Coleen wondered if he’d be willing to return to the series if it made a comeback.
“Well, there is talk, and it’s only talk, that after this subset of Irish Annie [his current theatre role], there might be making a couple of us, me, Sue, and a few more of them, go into a nursing home,” Ricky replied.
He added: “The first episode is very, very funny. I’ve read the first episode, when I’m saying to the nurse ‘give me a kiss’.
“And the nurse is saying ‘stop it, stop it’, and I say ‘come on nurse just give us one little kiss.’
“And she says ‘Bobby will you stop it’, and I say ‘I only want one kiss’ and she says ‘I shouldn’t even be in bed with you.'”
More applause and laughter followed his jokes and several viewers took to social media to praise the actor’s interview.
Loose Women airs on weekdays from 12.30pm on ITV.
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