Eric "Ricky" Tomlinson (born 26th September 1939) is an English actor, comedian, author and political activist.
Tomlinson was born in Bispham, Lancashire, and has lived in Liverpool nearly all his life. His father was a baker and he was born in Bispham because his mother, Peggy, was evacuated there due to the Liverpool Blitz in World War II. He attended a technical school after passing an exam when he was 13, but his favourite subject was English A qualified plasterer by trade, he worked on various building sites for many years becoming actively involved in politics
He is best known for his roles as Bobby Grant in Brookside, DCI Charlie Wise in Cracker, Mike Bassett in Mike Bassett: England Manager and Jim Royle in The Royle Family.
He has three children with his first wife. In 2003, he published an autobiography, entitled Ricky, which spent five weeks at the top of the UK best-selling new books chart. In the book, Tomlinson admitted to having affairs as well as describing in detail his time in prison. On 19 October 2007 Tomlinson had a major heart operation and underwent a quadruple heart bypass at Liverpool's Cardiothoracic Centre. Tomlinson also has nodular prurigo, which was the subject of an interview in the Daily Mirror in October 2013
In 2008 Tomlinson donated £200,000 to the Human Milk Bank of Cheshire and North Wales. The charity provides babies on Special Care Baby Units with milk from donor mothers, significantly improving their chances of survival and long-term development. He said: "Due to my own recent experiences with my health, I know how much hospitals and appeals appreciate help and assistance. This is such an important service which can help so many families and I'm very honoured to be the patron."
In November 2010 it was reported that Tomlinson had donated £1 million to the Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool two years previously. In October 2014 Tomlinson was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool