The Royal

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The Royal
The Royal intro.
Starring Denis Lill
Wendy Craig
Michelle Hardwick
Robert Daws
Andy Wear
Linda Armstrong
Amy Robbins
Glynis Barber
Gareth Hale
Neil McDermott
Diana May
Lauren Drummond
Opening theme "Somebody Help Me" by The Spencer Davis Group
Ending theme "Somebody Help Me" (instrumental) by The Spencer Davis Group
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 87 (List of episodes)
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) ITV Studios
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 16:9
Audio format Stereo
Original release 19 January 2003 (2003-01-19) – 31 July 2011 (2011-07-31)
Related shows Heartbeat
The Royal Today
External links

The Royal is a British period medical drama produced by ITV and aired normally on Sundays in the early evening slot; episodes after 21 June 2009, were also broadcast on ITV HD. The show consisted of eight series of one-hour episodes and was broadcast on ITV from 2003 until the show was cancelled in 2011, with repeats continuing on ITV3. The show is set in the 1960s and focuses on the fictional "St Aidan's Royal Free Hospital", an NHS hospital serving the fictional rural seaside town of Elsinby and its surrounding area. The show began as a spin-off of ITV's period police drama series, Heartbeat, featuring characters from Heartbeat during the first three series, before becoming its own entity.

The show itself was shot within Whitby, Scarborough, and the North Riding of Yorkshire, and stars of The Royal included Ian Carmichael, Wendy Craig, Robert Daws, and Amy Robbins. The show itself generated its own spin-off, entitled The Royal Today, which used the same settings but in the present day.


The setting of The Royal was first introduced as part of the story for the 14th episode of the 12th series of Heartbeat entitled 'Out Of The Blue', in which the hospital was used to treat Heartbeat character, Vernon Scripps and several people of Aidensfield. The benefit of this and its connection to the show, helped it to gain its own series, though it initially began as a spin-off with several characters from Heartbeat appearing in episodes as part of its main plots or side story; the most prominent of these appearances were Claude Greengrass (Bill Maynard), PC Alfred "Alf" Ventress (William Simons), and PC Philip "Phil" Montgomery Bellamy (Mark Jordon). By the end of the third series, the show's ties to Heartbeat were discontinued, with the show's production team working to make it into its own entity by the fourth series. Unlike its former parent show, The Royal uses the song "Somebody Help Me" by The Spencer Davis Group as it main theme tune, with an instrumental version playing over the ending credits.[1]

The majority of the plots in each episode centred around medical emergencies or a serious medical case, and often featured moral dilemmas created or exposed by these matters. Additional story-lines also included staff members dealing with personal problems or issues, and an occasional side-story in a similar vein to Heartbeat. While the show tended to avoid political topics on the whole (the Vietnam War was briefly touched in one episode), its main themes focused and centred upon the conflict between progressive and conservative social ideals, as well as the ethical challenges and social changes faced by the hospital's staff, a reflection of its setting and what was faced by the world in the 1960s. Although the setting used includes references to 1960s events, such as the coming of colour television, like Heartbeat the show featured a number of anachronisms, such as the use of "a glass ceiling", an expression not coined until some years later.


Filming of the interior scenes of "St. Aiden's" utilised both The Leeds Studios and St. Luke's Hospital, Bradford, the latter of which was chosen because it had not been updated in many years, and retained the appearance of what a hospital would appear like in the 1960s.[citation needed] The exterior scenes of the fictional hospital used the Red Court building on Holbeck Road, within Scarborough's South Cliff, and included the nearby park area and Holbeck Clock Tower; scenes were shot during the summer months.[1][2] The remaining scenes outside the hospital covered the area of the North Riding of Yorkshire, including Whitby and Scarborough.


Name Portrayed by Character's Occupation Years
'03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '11
Dr. Gordon Ormerod Robert Daws GP Main
Dr. Jill Weatherill Amy Robbins GP Main
Dr David Cheriton Julian Ovenden GP Main
Dr Lucy Klein Polly Maberly Consultant Psychologist Main
Dr Jeff Goodwin Paul Fox GP Main
Dr Joan Makori Kananu Kirimi GP Main
Dr Mike Banner Sam Callis GP Main
Dr Nick Burnett Damian O'Hare GP Main
Meryl Taylor Zoie Kennedy Senior Staff Nurse Main
Samantha Beaumont Anna Madeley Student Nurse Main
T.J. Middleditch Ian Carmichael Chairman of the Middleditch Trust Main Special Guest Star
Sister Brigid Linda Armstrong Ward Sister Main
Mr. Rose Denis Lill Consultant, General Surgeon Main
Ken Hopkirk Michael Starke Head Porter Main
Lizzie Hopkirk Michelle Hardwick Receptionist Main
Alun Morris Andy Wear Porter, Theatre Technician Main
Matron Wendy Craig Matron Main
Nigel Harper John Axon Administrator Main
Frankie Robinson Scott Taylor Ambulance Driver Main
Stella Davenport Natalie Anderson Staff Nurse Main
Catherine Deane Amelia Curtis Staff Nurse Main
Marian McKaig Kari Corbett Staff Nurse Main
Adam Carnegie Robert Cavanah Hospital Secretary Main
Susie Dixon Sarah Beck Mather Student Nurse Main
Bobby Sheridan Chris Coghill Ambulance Driver Main
Jack Bell Gareth Hale Head Porter Main
Jean McAteer Glynis Barber Hospital Secretary Main
Carol Selby Diana May Staff Nurse Main
Dr. Ralph Ellis Neil McDermott Locum Doctor Main
Faye Clark Lauren Drummond Student Nurse Main

Episode list[edit]


Below is the list of ratings of The Royal, giving an overall result for each series.

Series Year Rank # Average Audience Share
1 2003 10th 10.12 m
2 2003 11th 7.16 m
3 2003–2004 13th 9.17 m
4 2004–2005 12th 8.49 m
5 2006 10th 7.93 m
6 2007 11th 7.24 m
7 2008–2009 15th 4.91 m
8 2009–2011 15th 4.62 m (Incl. ITV1+1)
Overall Rating 2003 - 2011 Rank # Average Audience Share
12th 7.45 m

The Royal Today[edit]

In 2007, ITV commissioned a daytime spin-off of The Royal, entitled The Royal Today. The spin-off focused on the same settings of the main show, but set in the present day with a new cast of characters. The show ran for one series in 2008 between 7 January to 14 March. The show was axed due to low ratings.[citation needed]

End of production[edit]

Speculation surrounding the future of both Heartbeat and The Royal began in 2009, when ITV announced on 4 March that a loss of £2.7 billion was forcing it to make cutbacks in employment numbers, the biggest of which were made at ITV Yorkshire Studios resulting in its subsequent closure. Many raised concerns that the shows were to be axed, after reports were made to that effect in earlier in January, though a spokesperson stated later that the production of the shows was simply "resting".[3][4] No official news was given that the show was axed, but like Heartbeat, the series ended with a cliffhanger surrounding one of its main characters, when the final episode was aired on 31 July 2011.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ Paul Revoir (28 January 2009). "Cash-strapped ITV axes family dramas Heartbeat and The Royal". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Heartbeat and The Royal future in doubt: SIGN THE PETITIONS HERE - Local". Scarborough Evening News. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Royal". Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  6. ^ The Royal: Goodbye Mr Rose 2 August 2011

External links[edit]