I've been watching some of the latter specials recently and I can't understand why Jim, Dave and Anthony are portrayed so differently to their original selves for the first three series.
There's no doubt that there's some hilarious one-liners and the storylines are decent, but why does Jim act more like a lovable joker, almost like he's acting in a pantomime? Ricky T was trying too hard and he did not deliver his lines as naturally as he did before. It's almost like he forgot how to play the part of moody, grumpy Jim.
Dave - what the hell happened? Did he bang his head or have electroshock treatment that we're unaware of? He went from a fairly savvy, "with it" kind of man of the world to somebody with what appeared to be learning difficulties.
Anthony - I appreciate he was a 16 year old in the show and when we grow-up, our personalities change, but his personality change was the most unrealistic and mind boggling of them all. I don't know what Anthony's job was in the Royle Family Universe, but I cannot imagine that he'd go from a jobless teenager with the "lazy arse" syndrome, to a successful businessman career guy in his late 20s and who would appear almost yuppy like.
In the real world, even if he earned a few quid in an office job, a lad from a working class Mancunian family would still have "a bit about him" in terms of keeping to his roots. He'd still be a bit lippy and not so polite and kind natured.
Joe - He went from practically suffering from a vocal chord disorder, spouting occasional lines as "aye", to suffering with verbal diarrhea. Don't get me wrong, he was funny and I understand that they had to evolve his character as the show was missing a Nana and a Mary (what happened to the actress that played Mary?)
The only consistent characters were the women - Barb and Denise. Both actresses delivered their lines perfectly and was series 1 quality. Twiggy (God rest his soul) was also the exception who was immense when he returned.
That's my opinion anyway and that is why, although I love the Royle Family and started this very thread on a spin-off. that is why this show felt quite different to it's original.
As a side-note, I do not think it was a good idea to have an episode outside of the front room/kitchen. Didn't feel right at all.