The Royle Wiki
Norma Speakman
Norma Speakman in 2000

Birth Name:

Norma Jean Speakman

Date of Birth:


Date of Death:

2006 (aged 90)





First Appearance:

Sunday Afternoon

Last Appearance:

The Queen of Sheba

Portrayed By:

Liz Smith

Norma Jean Speakman ("Nana") (1916-2006) was a character in The Royle Family.

History & Personality[]

Norma Speakman was the mother of main character Barbara Royle and grandmother of characters Denise Royle and Antony Royle.

She is introduced in the third episode having come round for Sunday Dinner with her family. From the offset she is presented as quite hypocritical, loud, and outspoken as she compliments her daughter's chicken, adding immediately that she's "not keen on chicken." Her constant commentary over The Antiques Roadshow irritates her son-in-law Jim as she claims to have owned all the antiques on auction.

She next appears in the sixth episode of Series 1 as the family prepares for Denise and Dave's wedding. Throughout the episode she irritates her family with frequent demands for a piccalilli-spread sandwich and stressing over her need to change her shoes between the wedding ceremony and the reception, which Barbara calls a trivial demand.

She appears in the second episode of Series 2, as the family prepare for another Sunday lunch. Once again, the tensions between her and her son-in-law Jim heighten as she rambles on about unimportant subjects including a boat ride with Elsie and a husband and wife's rivalry in Kwick Save.

She next appears in Episode 4, sleeping through most of it with a patch over one eye; she has had a cataract operation and is recuperating at the Royles'. Jim constantly berates her, calling her a "greedy old cow" because she refused to share a bag of Revels with him earlier that day. Upon waking, she incessantly asks about an advert she cannot recall featuring "a man dressed as a chicken" which is likened to the Chicken Tonight advert, which provokes Jim to escape down to The Feathers with Dave.

She then appears in Episode 6 when she attends Antony's 18th birthday party. She arrives with Dave and Denise, and when she finds out that Antony's girlfriend Emma is a vegetarian, she constantly asks Barbara if she can have some cheese or "wafer-thin ham."

In Episode 7, set at Christmas, Norma is parked on the sofa watching telly with the rest of the family she scoffs dates, knocks back Snowballs, and complains to Jim when he turns over Noel Edmonds, remarking that she liked "Noel Crinkly Bottom".

In Series 3, Episode 4, Norma is inconsolable at the death of her next-door neighbour Elsie. She incessantly repeats herself throughout the evening: "I thought I'd always be the first to go, you know" which annoys Jim. He calls her a "vulture" as she contemplates rifling through Elsie's drawers and wonders what will happen to her telly, nonstick pans, and fully-lined curtains. Finally, after turning over Emmerdale's theme tune at its conclusion, Jim begins to berate Norma over her secret hatred of Elsie and conniving attitude in order to move in permanently to the Royle residence.

In Episode 5, Norma makes an unexpected appearance halfway through the episode coming back from the toilet, prompting Jim's witty remark: "It's not Halloween, is it?" She hands Antony £3 when she learns of his upcoming trip to London and has a laughing fit over Joanna Lumley and "slippers" which makes her fart unexpectedly; once she has left, the family erupts into laughter.

In Episode 6, she appears at Baby David's christening.

In Episode 7, she joins the family at Christmas; trying to make friends with Emma's mum Valerie, she confuses "implants" with "eggplants."

The Queen of Sheba, finds Norma bedridden and living in the Royles' back room, aggravating Jim by taking the batteries from his TV remote-control for her portable fan. Jim goes ballistic and sulks childishly in the kitchen. He also criticizes her desire to have her flat "laminated throughout" while denying his need for same; later, Jim, Twiggy, Dave, and Little David actually do lay down the laminated floors, to Norma's pleasure. While her granddaughter Denise gives her fake nails, she expresses the wish that her funeral be "fun." A few weeks later, Denise gives birth to her second child, a daughter they name Norma after her great-grandmother. Not many mornings later, Barbara finds Norma unresponsive in her bed and the family rushes her to hospital. She wakes up momentarily to see her family gathered around her and dies peacefully later on. At her funeral, Jim gives a respectful speech about her and gets out the banjo: the family proceeds to honor her wish that her funeral is "fun."


Norma with daughter Barbara and granddaughter Denise in 2006

Norma was often seen wearing flowery dresses and cardigans with either black or white shoes. Her hair started off grey, but gradually went pearl-white. She loved to wear pearl earrings and necklaces.


Norma died in 2006, aged 90, of old age.