Do Ricky’s ancestors hold the key to his political beliefs?

Brookside and The Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson is a staunch socialist and former union organiser, so he’s delighted to discover that he is descended from grafters, as he puts it, rather than royalty.

His father was a carter – a trade Ricky is able to trace back to his great-great-great-grandfather Richard in the 1830s.

In those days, goods were transported by horse and cart, conditions were harsh and fatal accidents were not uncommon on the bustling streets of Liverpool. But it’s what happened after death that riles Ricky the most. ‘I’m so angry.

They’re getting buried in paupers’ graves, yet Liverpool is booming,’ says Ricky.

‘Maybe this is why I have the politics that I’ve got.’