The Royal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about British medical drama. For the sportsman with the same nickname, see Mark King (snooker player). For The cinema in Toronto, see Royal Cinema. For the tram stop in Wolverhampton, see The Royal tram stop. For other uses, see Royal.
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
Country of origin United Kingdom
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
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 medical drama series produced by ITV that ran from 2003 to 2011. The show comprised one-hour episodes which were normally first aired on ITV in the Sunday early evening slot.

The title of the series refers to the fictional "St Aidan's Royal Free Hospital", located in Elsinby, a fictional rural seaside town, portrayed as being close to Aidensfield, the fictional setting of the UK TV series Heartbeat. The series was shot in Whitby and Scarborough, in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The Royal is an NHS hospital serving the local town, countryside and visitors. The show was set in the 1960s. It began as a spin-off from another popular ITV show set in North Yorkshire, Heartbeat.

Stars of the show included Ian Carmichael, Wendy Craig, Robert Daws, and Amy Robbins. The last episode of the show aired at 7.00 pm on Sunday, 31 July 2011 on ITV.


The Royal was introduced in the 14th episode of the 12th series of Heartbeat entitled 'Out Of The Blue' and The Royal benefited from this connection to the extremely popular parent series; several Heartbeat characters appeared in the first couple of series of The Royal, most notably Bill Maynard as a bed-ridden Claude Greengrass, but as the series progressed it generally dropped its character crossovers with Heartbeat to become its own entity.

The majority of the plots centred around medical emergencies and the moral dilemmas created or exposed by the emergencies. Typically there are several on-going crises, each being confronted by one or more staff members. The show tends to avoid political topics on the whole (although the Vietnam War was touched upon in one episode) but the conflict between progressive and conservative social ideals is central to the show and these issues were addressed in greater detail in series 5 following the arrival of the black woman Doctor Joan Makori, who joined The Royal in episode 49. She later departed for Cameroon in episode 55 with Nkeshi a Biafran refugee. The ethical challenges and social changes faced by the hospital staff and their patients mirror those faced by the world in the 1960s.

The Royal appears to be set primarily in 1969 and includes references to events such as the coming of colour television and the Vietnam War. Like Heartbeat, all road tax discs bear the expiry date "31 DEC 69". However anachronisms sometimes appear, such as characters in the series 7 episode "To Love & To Lose" referring to "the new Beatles film" (there were no new Beatles films that year). Some such anachronisms are likely to be accidental, such as a reference in the same episode to a career "glass ceiling", a phrase not coined until some years later. Another inauthentic aspect is the portrayal of steam trains in this drama – the last steam locomotive passenger service was withdrawn by British Rail in 1968 and most of the local rail services in North Yorkshire were operated by diesel multiple units by the mid 1960s.[citation needed]

An unsolved mystery in The Royal concerns the name of the hospital matron, who is referred to simply as "Matron". She never used a name throughout the series, nor was she ever referred to by one (even her niece Susie Dixon only referred to her as "Auntie"). All that is known is that her nickname during the Second World War, when she served as a nurse, was "Toffee".[citation needed]

Filming often took place at Scarborough South Cliff by Holbeck Clock Tower during the summer months. Many of the old cars used in the filming can be seen residing at the Motor Museum at Thornton-le-Dale just outside Scarborough. Interior scenes were filmed in the former Maternity Wing of St. Luke's Hospital, Bradford and The Leeds Studios. St Luke's was chosen because it had not been updated in many years, and was very similar to how a 1960s hospital would have appeared.[citation needed]


Name Portrayed by 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

[clarification needed]

Actor Character Duration
Stefanie Wilmore Auxiliary Nurse Roz Hopkirk 2003
Sean McKenzie Terry Hopkirk 2003
Michael Jayston Henry Appleton 2003, 2004, 2007
Jacqueline Pilton Pearl Norsby 2003, 2007, 2011
Lisa Hogg Moira O'Donaghue 2008 – 2009
Rachel Leskovac Marie Beattie 2007
Lauren Leake-Smith Cassie Beattie 2007
Harvey Leake-Smith Alfie Beattie 2007
Isabella Eades-Jones Stephanie Beattie 2007
David Busfield Ben Beattie 2007
Sophie Foster Katie Ormerod #1 2003 – 2006
Daniel Feltham Tom Ormerod #1 2003 – 2006
Helena Blair Angela Deane 2006
Matthew Hall Sam Myerson 2009 – 2009

Doctors, Consultants and Surgeons[edit]

  • Julian Ovenden as Dr. David Cheriton (2003). Newly qualified from London, he was keen to impress at The Royal. He had a relationship with Nurse Taylor, which possibly led to her becoming pregnant. He supported Dr. Ormerod's claims for more medical equipment when going out on a call. In Series 3, Cheriton dies while playing a rugby match against Ashfordly General.
  • Robert Daws as Dr. Gordon Ormerod (2003–11). One of the leading doctors at the Royal, he struggled in the earlier days to cope with the breakdown of his marriage, especially when his wife is involved in a coach accident at the end of series one. As a result of this, his wife, Caroline, was left in a comatose state, which he had to accept that she would not recover from. During this time, Ormerod turns to his colleague, Dr. Jill Weatherill, for comfort and they form a relationship. In Series 3, he and Dr. Weatherill announce that they are going to end their relationship, despite it being common knowledge. At the end of Series 3, the police launch an investigation into his wife's death, which he's furious about, which doesn't help when her father comes asking questions about him and Dr. Weatherill's relationship. In Early Series 4, he and Dr. Weatherill get married, despite being disrupted in the process. At the end of series 4, he has an accident, and he starts taking his medication, which affects his behaviour, until Dr. Weatherill finds out. Dr. Ormerod continued working at The Royal, and in Series 8, his career is put on the line when a grieving family blame him for the death of their loved one. In the final episode, Ormerod is caught in the crossfire when violence breaks out, leaving his life hanging in the balance.
  • Amy Robbins as Dr. Jill Weatherill (2003–11). Dr Weatherill is another of St. Aiden's doctors and a general practitioner. Since Series 2, Weatherill was in a relationship with her colleague, Dr. Gordon Ormerod, which began whilst Ormerod's wife, Caroline, was in a coma. The couple briefly broke up in Series 3, but soon reconciled and moved in together. During Series 3, Weatherill was also being investigated about the death of Caroline Ormerod, based on numerous letters making allegations against her. Dr. Weatherill and Dr. Ormerod married in Series 4, though not without drama as an explosion at a nearby nursing home interrupted the ceremony just as Weatherill was about to step down the aisle. Subsequently, tensions arose among the two when Ormerod wanted Weatherill to have a baby, whilst Weatherill was adamant that Gordon's only motive was for her to leave work and become a housewife. Ultimately, their arguments culminated in Ormerod being involved in a car crash, which left him so badly injured that there seemed to be no hope for his survival. He did, however, survive and the couple's relationship came to a head midway into Series 5 with an argument where Weatherill blurted out that she was pregnant. Their son, Jonathan, was born during the final episode of Series 5. During Series 6, Weatherill helped Adam Carnegie raise funds for an expansion of The Royal, which was to include a premature baby unit. However, the fundraising ended up losing more money than it gained. The sixth series also saw Weatherill discovering that she was pregnant once again. The pregnancy, however, was ectopic and Dr. Ormerod was forced to perform emergency surgery on his wife, and consequently, Mr. Rose was later forced to carry out a hysterectomy on Dr. Weatherill.

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

End of production[edit]

The production of both Heartbeat and The Royal has been completed.[1] It was announced on 4 March 2009 because of job losses for ITV Yorkshire Studios, that the future of The Royal and Heartbeat was in doubt.[2] ITV have now confirmed[where?] production of The Royal has ended. ITV showed the final episode on 31 July 2011.[3]

HD availability[edit]

Episode 73 entitled "In The Air" was the first episode of The Royal to be shown in HD format. The episode was transmitted on ITV HD on 21 June 2009. Subsequent episodes are expected to be shown in high definition on ITV HD as well as being shown in standard definition.

The Royal Today[edit]

A daytime spin-off, The Royal Today, comprising fifty thirty-minute episodes featuring the staff of The Royal set in the present day aired in January 2008.

This is a list of media releases of the television series Heartbeat, which includes DVD & VHS.

DVD release[edit]

DVDs of the series have been released by ITV Studios Home Entertainment. See table below for release dates. So far,[when?] Series 1 and 2 of The Royal have been released in the UK (Region 2) and in Australia (Region 4). Some music has been partly changed or removed due to copyright grounds, however the tracks are consistent with those used for International broadcast.[citation needed]

DVD Series Ep # Region 2 (UK) Region 4 (Australia)
The Royal Series 1 7 3 October 2011 [4] 5 December 2012 [5]
The Royal Series 2 6 27 February 2012 [6] 6 March 2013 [7]
The Royal Series 3 14 TBA TBA
The Royal Series 4 12 TBA TBA
The Royal Series 5 12 TBA TBA
The Royal Series 6 12 TBA TBA
The Royal Series 7 12 TBA TBA
The Royal Series 8 12 TBA TBA


  1. ^ Paul Revoir (28 January 2009). "Cash-strapped ITV axes family dramas Heartbeat and The Royal". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Heartbeat and The Royal future in doubt: SIGN THE PETITIONS HERE - Local". Scarborough Evening News. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Royal". Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Royal - Series 1 [DVD]: Amy Robbins, Wendy Craig, Linda Armstrong: Film & TV". Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  5. ^ The Royal Series 1 (Australia)
  6. ^ "The Royal - Series 2 [DVD]: Amy Robbins, Wendy Craig: Film & TV". 9 September 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  7. ^ The Royal Series 2 (Australia)

External links[edit]