The Royle Wiki

James Randolph Royle

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Liverpool, England


Manchester, England



Marital Status:

Married to Barbara Royle née Speakman


Barbara Royle (wife)
Denise Best (daughter)
Antony Royle (son)
Mr Royle (father) †
Mrs Royle (mother) †
Mr Speakman (father-in-law) †
Norma Speakman (mother-in-law) †
David Best (son-in-law)
Saskia Royle (daughter-in-law)
David Best (grandson)
Norma Best (granddaughter)
Lewis Royle (grandson)
Unknown Royle (grandchild)

First Appearance:

Bills, Bills, Bills

Last Appearance:

Barbara's Old Ring

Portrayed By:

Ricky Tomlinson

James Randolph 'Jim' Royle is a main character in The Royle Family. He is the husband of Barbara Royle and father to Denise and Antony Royle.

Characteristics & History

Jim is renowned for his slovenly and workshy attitude, sitting all day in an armchair watching the television, relying on his wife Barbara to bring in an income from her job at the Bakery. In the first series, Antony is heavily relied on to perform household tasks for the family such as make cups of tea and bacon sandwiches and answer the door. As Antony becomes increasingly busy with his girlfriend Emma during the second and third series, the tasks are passed on to Barbara as Jim barks commands at her, once ironically remarking that he "never has a minute in this house". To compliment this, Jim maintains a vulgar and derogative dialect, frequently using swear words in sentences, most frequently "bloody", once so frequently that Barbara remarked "Jim, how many "bloodys" is that?" Furthermore, he likes to announce his trips to the toilets by using various euphemisms and rhyming slang, such as "Eartha Kitt", "Tom Tit", "Morning dump", "Mustapha crap" and occasionally more vulgar dysphemisms such as "shite", "shit" and "crap".

Jim is also a scrimper and is heavily parsimonious, determined on saving as much money as he can. As a result, he frequently remarks as to the extortionate price of BT's phone bill ("98 quid?") by belittling their slogan ("'It's good to talk' my arse"). He also complains if his family members have the immersion heater (central heating) on, petrified by the thought of them having unnecessary baths all the time, so much so that he once woke abruptly in the middle of the night thinking the immersion had been left on. He has also been flabbergasted by the extortionate catalogue spending spree of his daughter Denise, his son-in-law Dave's purchase of a £200 washing machine that his wife has never used and the excessive cost of Denise's wedding, angry at the fact that Dave's dad David Senior, is contributing nothing financially to the ceremony.

Jim is also an avid fan of belittiling members of his family, particularly his son Antony, who in the original series was frequently put upon to perform household tasks for the family, such as making cups of tea and going down the shop for chocolate bars and cigarettes. He was nicknamed "Lurchio" by Jim and often insulted by being regarded as a "lazy little sod" or "lazy little get" at ironic moments when Antony was often performing tedious tasks for the family, such as making bacon sandwiches for example. Jim has gone to extremes with his taunting of Antony by calling him a "gay boy" "sausage jockey" and a "little old bummer" joking that he could be homosexual because of his initial lack of a girlfriend. Similarly, Jim mocks his lack of a job by confining his future career to a job at McDonalds ("You're not working for McDonalds, yet"). His daughter Denise has also been subject to minor insults from time to time by her father as he regards her as being lazy and slovenly through her refusal to look after her child or do anything that requires effort, apart from watching chat shows. Jim, rather obliviously, then, contemplates where she gets her lazy streak from - resulting in looks of surprise from Barbara and the rest of the family. His mother-in-law Norma, though, bears the brunt of most of his anger and frustration, through her incessant needs to converse and complain, resulting in Jim berating her, often non-verbally, but occasionally in eruptions of anger, causing a quarrel in the family home.

Jim was once described by Barbara as being two-faced through his insincere attitude towards his friends, often being nice and amicable to them when they are in the house visiting, but the minute they leave, he berates them by exemplifying their flaws and audacious attitude and requests. This is true of friend Twiggy who Jim described as having a "brass neck" after he came for Sunday dinner. Dave remarked by saying Jim had invited him, although Jim confessed he hasn't expected him to accept. Similarly, Jim once nicknamed next door neighbour Joe "Mastermind" before he entered the house and, along with the whole family, mocked him after his close encounter with the cheese grater. Jim has also mocked the weight of their next door neighbour's daughter Cheryl's weight, with Jim describing her as having an "arse like O'Reilly's bull" and, to her face, joked "How much do you owe her?" in reference to Cheryl's mum sponsoring her to lose weight.

Despite his hurtful attitude, Jim has shown signs of caring and sensitivity towards his wife and children throughout the series. Most notably, when a pregnant Denise was lying on the kitchen floor after her waters had broken, Jim tearfully reminisced about Denise and Antony's births, declaring that he knew, the second he has seen them, that we would do anything for either of them. Similarly, after Denise had declared her concern for Antony on his trip to London in Series 3, Jim reciprocated by telling Antony to be careful in London and told him to call home if there was any trouble. He showed sensitivity to Barbara in The Queen of Sheba after Norma had died, comforting her and confessing that he would "give all the money in the world just to have one more bloody row with her".


Jim's appearance has rarely changed throughout the show's history, which is testament to his character's slovenly nature. Jim is typically seen dressed in a yellow t-shirt with brown stripes and conventional blue jeans. In the first episode, Jim is seen to be wearing regular trousers and remarked "I don't wear jeans" but relents when Twiggy brings some around later. Jim also appears dishevelled, as his clothes are dirty and unwashed and occasionally he appears in just a vest which is covered in dirt. He has always possessed a facial beard which has greyed over the years to symbolise his gradual aging. He also wears a pair of black-rimmed spectacles and a watch.


Since the first episode, Jim's catchphrase has been "My arse" which is often preceded by a noun or something that he despises, for example "Anne Robinson, my arse" and "Detector vans, my arse".

See the full list on the My Arse page.