Ricky and Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip: When does it start? Where is it filmed? Everything you need to know

The Royle Family's father and son reunite for a campervan adventure celebrating the towns, cities and spectacular scenery of the North of England.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 20 May 2020 - 12.56am
UKTV

Ricky Tomlinson and Ralf Little are being reunited on the nation’s favourite comedy channel Gold in the new series Ricky and Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip.

The actors, who are best known for starring together in The Royle Family as father and son Jim and Anthony Royle, will be heading out on a tour of the north of England in a campervan for six episodes sharing their memories and entertaining each other.

What is Ricky and Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip?

Ricky Tomlinson and Ralf Little in cowboy gear on Gold UKTV

The actors behind the Royle Family’s father and son duo, Ricky Tomlinson and Ralf Little, are reunited for a heart-warming and hilarious staycation, travelling the length and breadth of northern England in a quest to unlock each of its region’s own unique secrets.

We might not be going on any sunny holidays abroad in 2020, but Ricky and Ralf are here to prove there are still plenty of options for anyone wanting a break in Britain. It’s all on our very own doorstep in the mighty North of England.

Famed Scouser Ricky’s just turned 80, while Bury-bred young ‘Lurkio’ Ralf is approaching 40, as they hit the road for six weeks in their very own home-from-home – a sturdy campervan.

They’re visiting a wide range of locations, some of which hold a special place in their hearts while others are new to them.

From the urban banks of the Mersey to the beauty of the Lakes, from the steel works of Sheffield to the chocolate makers of York, and on to curry houses, football clubs, steam trains and the Angel of the North, it’s a fascinating route rich in natural beauty, culture, cuisine, sport and, of course, humour…

Along the way they meet some old showbiz friends – and make new ones at every port of call – as they explore what makes the people in this part of Britain so special. 

Ricky Tomlinson said: "People are always going on about exotic holidays here, luxury cruises there, finding your inner-self wherever.

"Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of sun on the Med as much as the next man – but for my money, there’s everything you could ever want on your doorstep here in the North of England – and no better way to see it than in your own home on wheels."

Ralf Little added: "I've been lucky enough to do a fair bit of travelling around various bits of the world – but this promises to be a holiday like no other. Weeks on the road, in a campervan with my 80-year-old TV dad.

"In the middle of autumn. What could possibly go wrong? Seriously, bring it on. Who knows, I may even be able to teach him a thing or two about the North."

Where is the series filmed?

Ralf Little and Ricky Tomlinson next to the Angel of the North UKTV

The first episode of the series saw the comedy duo start their journey in Ricky’s hometown of Liverpool.

Along the way, they took in Ricky’s birthplace, Blackpool, for high jinks at some of the best-loved attractions in the town they call the Vegas of the North. The pair also catch up with Ricky’s old pal, veteran comic Mick Miller, for the low-down on the entertainment and comedy scene in the North’s favourite seaside resort.

The episode also included a visit to a Preston soccer school and breathtaking views of the Ribble valley, where they ate at the UK’s best dining pub.

In episode two the duo explore the beauty of Cumbria’s Lake District and take in some of the most famously breath-taking scenery in the British Isles. Along the way, they get a taste of life in border-town Carlisle, laying a bet or two at the town’s famed racecourse with one of the natives, journalist and broadcaster Grace Dent.

There are plenty of other eventful stop-offs, making mint cake in Kendal – where else? – visiting the utterly unique pencil museum in Keswick (Cumbria is the birthplace of the pencil, after all), boating on beautiful Lake Windermere and treating themselves to a taster menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

As they cruise the countryside, the pair also discover they can both do a startlingly accurate impression of bearded acting legend and son of the North Brian Blessed – which becomes something of a recurring theme for them both as the trip unfolds.

Ralf Little and Ricky Tomlinson in Sunderland UKTV

Episode three takes the pair into Yorkshire, where Ricky joins Ralf for a boxing and fitness session at a men’s community health group.

The pair find out at an award-winning restaurant in official UK curry capital Bradford, Ralf fulfils a childhood dream when he gets to stoke the engine on a traditional steam train on the historical Keighley & Worth Valley line, made famous in the film The Railway Children – while Ricky opts for the more sedate option – sitting with the passengers.

And after getting stuck in as willing Oompa Loompas in a real-life York artisan chocolate works, the pair end their trip in beautiful east-coast town Whitby – a place linked inextricably with the Dracula story.

Meanwhile, in episode four, the Royle campervan hits the North-East, to experience the Angel of the North, a working coal mine and glass blowing – and meet local pigeon-racers, food bank heroes – and a soccer legend.

Watch this if you liked..

Ralf Little and Ricky Tomlinson playing football UKTV

The Trip, A League Of Their Own Road Trip, Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, An Idiot Abroad, The Royle Family.

Coming soon to Gold

Ricky Tomlinson filming his Very Northern Road Trip UKTV

As the nation flocks to TV classics during lockdown, where better to spend your evenings than with Gold?

Coming up on Sunday, May 24 is the premiere of Britain’s Greatest Comedy Characters – a countdown of the public’s most-loved funny men and women.

A jury, including Sally Phillips, John Thomson, David Quantick and Marcus Brigstocke have compiled the shortlist and the public’s final verdict will be revealed during the evening.

Meanwhile, May 30-31 will be a special summer weekend of Del and Boy and Rodney classics. You can look forward to classic Only Fools and Horses episodes Big Brother, Time On Our Hands and Modern Men.

Watch new episodes every Monday on Gold – BT TV channel 310/392 HD.

Gold is also available with NOW TV.