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Ralf Little thinks playing ‘gawky’ Antony on The Royle Family has held him back for years

Ralf Little has admitted that he thinks portraying ‘gawky’ Antony on The Royle Family has held him back from playing leading TV roles.

The actor, 40, who is DI Neville Parker in Death in Paradise, said he thinks he’s been ‘firmly rooted in the industry’s imagination’ as a ‘gawky 20-year-old’ for years. 

Speaking with The Mirror, he explained: ‘I am incredibly grateful for my career… and I’m having a really wonderful time being able to be in the Caribbean for five months.

What could have been: Ralf Little, 40, has admitted he thinks portraying Antony on The Royle Family has held him back from playing leading TV roles for years as the industry sees him as ‘as a gawky 20-year-old’ (pictured on Death In Paradise as DI Neville Parker)

‘But I’ve had a 20-year career and this is the first show I’ve actually been the legitimate lead in… at age 40. 

‘I think for a long time, I was firmly rooted in the industry’s imagination, who had a mental picture of me as a gawky 20-year-old.’ 

When asked if he thought he could have broken Hollywood if he hadn’t played Antony, Ralf replied: ‘I do feel that actually, since you bring it up.’

Antony’s character was often seen doing jobs around the house for his parents Jim and Barbara during the show and also became engaged to girlfriend Saskia while she was pregnant. He also had a son, Lewis, with ex-girlfriend Emma.

Always making a brew: The actor played Antony Royle on the hit show which ran for three series from 1998

Always making a brew: The actor played Antony Royle on the hit show which ran for three series from 1998

Ralf, who is from Oldham, gave up on studying medicine to appear on The Royle Family, with the sitcom being his big break.    

Despite thinking the show may have stopped him from landing more TV roles sooner, Ralf spoke fondly of the show, saying he thinks it appealed to so many because it ‘transcended geography and class’ by being about real conversations families have. 

Ralf also insisted that he’s not heard anything about The Royle Family being set for a comeback, joking that perhaps he’s just not been called.

The show was co-written by Caroline Aherne, who played Denise, and ran for three seasons from 1998. Ricky Tomlinson played Jim while Sue Johnston was Barbara.

What a family: The show also starred Caroline Aherne as Denise, Craig Cash as Dave, Ricky Tomlinson as Jim and Sue Johnston as Barbara (pictured back centre is Ralf as Antony)

What a family: The show also starred Caroline Aherne as Denise, Craig Cash as Dave, Ricky Tomlinson as Jim and Sue Johnston as Barbara (pictured back centre is Ralf as Antony)

Since impressing viewers as Antony, Ralf has appeared in other popular shows such as Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.  

It comes after Ralf revealed he was separated from his fiancée throughout filming the most recent series of Death In Paradise due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The actor is engaged to playwright Lindsey Ferrentino, 32, and told how the couple’s wedding has been put on hold after she suggested they get married in Guadeloupe where the show is filmed.

Speaking on The One Show, he said: ‘Well they’re [wedding plans] pretty much on hold. She couldn’t even come out to the island this time. 

‘That was an idea she had, “why don’t we get married out here?” I was like, “cause I’m busy trying to film a TV show where I’m in every scene”.

‘She said, “OK, maybe next year.” That’s why I organised the pandemic, to make sure I had an excuse to put it down the line,’ he joked. 

Ralf, who got engaged to Lindsey in September 2018, also admitted that she has to use subtitles when she watches his sitcom The Royle Family. 

Asked if it was true his wife-to-be couldn’t understand some of the show, Ralf said: ‘No, it’s true. She’s American, that’s why I’m over here in Florida, she grew up here.

‘How do you explain the Royle Family to Americans? She said: “I did get lost around episode four, series one and I had to put the subtitles on.” 

‘How does an American understand what Ricky Tomlinson is on about?’

Couple: Ralf is engaged to playwright Lindsey Ferrentino, 32, but the couple's wedding has now been put on hold after she suggested they get married in Guadeloupe where Death In Paradise is filmed (pictured together in New York in 2018)

Couple: Ralf is engaged to playwright Lindsey Ferrentino, 32, but the couple’s wedding has now been put on hold after she suggested they get married in Guadeloupe where Death In Paradise is filmed (pictured together in New York in 2018)


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