English television actor Ricky Tomlinson was working on construction sites before he ever thought of performing. He was actively involved in trade union politics and, in 1972, he joined in a workers' dispute. It ended with him being sentenced to six years in prison, of which he served two. Soon after, he began to act, his first role being on the series "Play for Today" in 1981. Tomlinson worked consistently ever since, in a wide range of roles in film and television. He appeared as Bobby Grant in the soap opera "Brookside" and as Jim Royle in the working-class sitcom "The Royle Family". His character, prone to tirades and off-color remarks, was a British equivalent to Al Bundy or Archie Bunker. During the hit show's long run (1998-2009), Tomlinson also appeared on the detective program "Nice Guy Eddie" and was featured in the workplace drama "Clocking Off". Notable feature film appearances include the soccer comedy "Mike Bassett: England Manager" and the Ken Loach movie "Raining Stones". After he became a star, Tomlinson continued to be involved in politics, presenting TV spots for the Socialist Labor Party. In 2003, he released the autobiography "Ricky".