The Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson reveals his brother has died from Covid as he pleads with Liverpudlians to join mass testing pilot scheme
- He said: ‘Covid is a killer. I know only too well… one of my brothers has just died’
- The actor urged people to send for a kit and ‘save your life and your loved ones
- Call The Midwife actor Stephen McGann also encouraged people to take part
The Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson has revealed one of his brothers died from coronavirus as he urged people to take part in a mass testing pilot in Liverpool.
In a video message posted on the Liverpool City Council Twitter account, the actor, 81, said: ‘Covid is a killer. I know only too well, because one of my brothers has just died from Covid-19.
‘Don’t let it happen to you, send away for your kit today and do what you’re supposed to do. Save your life and your loved ones around you.’
The Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson has revealed one of his brothers died from coronavirus as he urged people to take part in a mass testing pilot in Liverpool
Ricky Tomlinson (front and centre) with the cast of the Royle Family, a British sitcom that ran from 1998 to 2000
The comedian, who played Jim Royle in the British sitcom that ran from 1998 to 2000, said he had used one of the testing kits.
Holding up his packaged testing kit, he said: ‘I sent away for one of these testing kits. I’ve done it and I’m sending it back.
‘Then I’m going to send for another one and repeat it again, do the test and send it back.’
Tomlinson is the second of four brothers – Albert, him, David and Ronnie – who grew up in Everton in the aftermath of the Second World War.
In an interview with the Guardian in 2014, he said: ‘We lived in a typical two-up, two-down house with a toilet in the backyard and us four boys in a big bed. Luckily, we all got on and are still very close.’
As part of the pilot scheme, which began on November 6, anyone who lives or works in Liverpool can have a coronavirus test, even if they are not showing symptoms.
In a video message posted on the Liverpool City Council Twitter account, the actor said: ‘Covid is a killer. I know only too well, because one of my brothers has just died from Covid-19’
Soldiers work at The Exhibition Centre, which has been set up as a testing centre as part of the mass coronavirus testing in Liverpool
Call The Midwife actor Stephen McGann also encouraged people to take part.
He said his brother Joe, who appears in soap Hollyoaks, and their mother had been for a test.
In a video posted on Twitter, he said: ‘My own mum and my big brother Joe have already been down for a test and they’re going to go back next week and have another one and I am absolutely chuffed about that because this mass testing pilot puts Liverpool at the front of testing, at the front of research.
‘We are where we should be in public health, all coming together to find out how to do this properly to benefit everybody else.
‘I think it’s a brilliant scheme. If you haven’t been down there yet please consider going down.’
Figures from Thursday showed 144,548 Liverpool residents had been tested since the scheme began, with many using the lateral flow tests which give results within an hour.
About 2,000 soldiers have been deployed to the city to deliver the tests.
Speaking when he visited a testing site in the city on Monday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the scheme was ‘going in the right direction’ but they would like more people to take part.
The pilot was planned to run for 10 to 14 days initially but is now expected to last until the end of November.