Saturday, 5 March 2016

United We Stand

Emma Pryer writes:

TV favourite Ricky Tomlinson has vowed to expose the truth about his time in prison in an explosive new documentary, reports the Sunday People. 

The star, who played layabout dad Jim in BBC sitcom The Royle Family, was jailed for 16 months in 1973. 

He was convicted of “conspiracy to intimidate” during a ­national building workers’strike but has campaigned for more than 40 years to clear his name. 

Now 76, he says he has fresh evidence proving he was a “political prisoner”. 

Ricky said: “There are researchers who have so much stuff proving what ­happened was bang out of order. 

“Someone needs to hold their hands up to it and that’s why I’m doing a documentary. 

“There are people who don’t want it made – but it will be.” 

Ricky and his fellow “conspirators” among a group of flying pickets became known as the Shrewsbury 24. 

In 2012 they ­applied for the Criminal Cases Review Commission to investigate their case. 

Ricky said: “Every time a “We’ve had three or four in as many years. They’re just counting on us all dying. 

“It’s a disgrace. But I’m going to keep going. What are they going to do? Throw me in prison?”

He has documents he claims prove that fellow picket leader Des Warren was forced to take medication in jail which his family believe brought on a ­condition with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s.

 Des died in 2004 aged 66. 

Ricky’s story was the subject of a play two years ago called United We Stand.

Now he is about to appear in court again. But this time it is in an adlib play for charity with his comedian pal Stan Boardman.

Ricky said: “It’s a bit of fun. We only have three pages of scripts and the rest... we’ll just go with it.”

The play, Case No. 45: Tomlinson v Boardman, opens on March 13 at St George’s Hall, Liverpool.

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