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Friday, 8 March, 2002, 11:46 GMT
Royle Family star's 800,000 book deal
Tomlinson: Has had a colourful life
Ricky Tomlinson, star of TV comedy The Royle Family, has signed an autobiography deal worth 800,000, one of the largest sums offered for a UK star's life-story.

Tomlinson, 62 finalised the book contract with Time Warner Books after being hotly pursued by several publishers.

His partner Rita is said to have been in control of the negotiations, which took place on the phone from the couple's Liverpool home.

Tomlinson, who played Bobby Grant in Channel 4 soap Brookside when it launched, has had a colourful life including a two-year prison sentence in the 1970s.

Ricky Tomlinson
Tomlinson: Jim Royle made him a household name

A spokeswoman from Time Warner Books said: "We just think he's got a really exciting story to tell and he's very much admired as an entertainer.

"It's the combination of a brilliant story and an excellent personality. He is a great storyteller."

Tomlinson's book does not yet have a title but it is expected to be published in the autumn of next year.

The amount offered by Time Warner equals that paid to pop star Robbie Williams and well surpasses the 50,000 paid to comedian Frank Skinner.

Slob

Liverpudlian Tomlinson has made a career and life around his working class, Socialist image and roots.

As trade unionist Bobby Grant in Brookside, he spent a lot of time taking industrial action and raising money for striking miners.

This was followed by his role in award-winning drama series, Boys From the Blackstuff.

It chronicled the attempts of five former members of a tarmac gang to find work in a Liverpool hit by unemployment and depression.

But it was as coach potato and slob Jim Royle - with the catchphrase "My arse" - that Tomlinson became a household name.

It has led to numerous awards, ad campaigns and even his own album showcasing his banjo skills.

But beyond the glare of showbusiness attention, Tomlinson, the son of a baker, has led a very down-to-earth existence.

Background

As a young man, he turned down a football trial offer from Scunthorpe United. He went on to play the banjo in pubs and take up plastering.

In 1973, he was jailed for conspiracy during the builders' strike. On release, he was struck off the builders' list, which led to him pursuing a career as an entertainer.

Tomlinson: Working on a new series of Nice Guy Eddie

Tomlinson's most recent acting roles include a lead part in BBC One drama series, Playing the Field and Clocking Off.

Last year he starred in the football comedy film Mike Bassett: England Manager. He also featured alongside Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson in 51st State, which was filmed partly in the UK.

At the moment, Tomlinson is filming a second series of the BBC TV series, Nice Guy Eddie.

See also:

07 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Royle star lands Hollywood role
05 Oct 00 | Entertainment
A right Royle arrival
15 May 00 | Entertainment
A Royle night at the Baftas
09 May 00 | Entertainment
BBC admits Royle mistake
18 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Royles clean up at comedy awards
28 Sep 01 | Newsmakers
Ricky Tomlinson: Royle Rebel
28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Royle slob turns down nude offer
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