‘Northern Powerhouse My Arse!’: Ricky Tomlinson to meet Andy Burnham for Q&A event

Two high-profile northerners will be in conversation to raise money for charity - with Ricky answering questions from the audience.

Liverpool actor and political activist Ricky Tomlinson and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will be on stage in Greater Manchester for a fundraising evening of conversation.

The colourfully-titled Northern Powerhouse “My Arse” will bring the city-region’s elected first citizen and the star of the small screen best known for his role in The Royle Family together at Salford Lads Club.

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The duo will be chatting on stage at the venue, which is no stranger to famous faces, to raise money for its work.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will interview Ricky Tomlinson on stage at Salford Lads Club

What is the event and why is it taking place?

The fundraising event is taking place at the Salford venue on Saturday 5 March.

Ricky Tomlinson first made his name on Channel 4 soap Brookside and since then has carved out a four-decade career on screen, including the 10 years he spent playing the much-loved character Jim Royle in The Royle Family.

He is also a prominent political activist known for his fierce pride in his working class roots and was one of the Shrewsbury 24, a group of trade unionists given criminal sentences in the 1970s for picketing which were finally quashed following a lengthy legal battle.

Ricky Tomlinson (right) in Brookside in 1982. Photo: Avalon/Getty Images

He will be making the journey to Greater Manchester from his beloved Liverpool to have a chat on stage with the city-region’s mayor.

Mr Burnham said the actor was on a list of people he would love to have a conversation with and so Clear as a Bell Productions have brought the two together for an evening of discussion in the intimate surroundings of Salford Lads Club.

Their chat will take up the first half of the evening, with the second consisting of a Q&A session with Mr Burnham reading out some of the audience’s questions for Ricky to answer.

Ricky Tomlinson. Photo: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

All the proceeds raised will be towards the venue and its programmes of activities for young people.

It is not the first time former government minister Mr Burnham has supported Salford Lads Club.

In 2017 he came along to meet a group of young people and volunteers before they set off on a trip to New York, which was funded with the support of The Smiths drummer Mike Joyce.

And last summer, Mr Burnham and and Salford’s Mayor Paul Dennett helped the venue promote its ‘The North’ t-shirts to raise funds to cover the £90k loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

How do I get tickets for this event?

Tickets will be priced at £25 and will go on sale on Thursday 3 February at 10am online.

The event on 5 March will run from 8pm until around 9.45pm, including an interval.

Doors will open at 6.30pm and the bar will be open until 10.30pm.

What has been said about the fund-raising event?

Leslie Holmes, manager of Salford Lads Club, said: “It will be great to have Ricky Tomlinson visit our venue as a special guest and also to welcome back Andy Burnham.

“Andy and Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett helped us promote our latest ‘The North’ t-shirt, which has raised over £25k.

Regional leaders in England, like Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, are valued far more than national politicians by many of the people they serve (Picture: Martin Rickett/pool/Getty Images)

“Our campaign was part inspired by Andy standing up to the unfair treatment of our region from the government. We are all looking forward to this first event of 2022 with Andy and Ricky and I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘The North’ comes up in conversation!”

What is Salford Lads Club?

Salford Lads Club is the venue which is home to the charity now officially called Salford Lads and Girls Club.

More than 170 young people aged between six and 19 use the club every week, taking advantage of the opportunities to get involved in sports and the arts it provides.

It shot to wider notice when it appeared on the front cover of The Smiths’ album The Queen Is Dead, with the band members posing in front of the building.

Salford Lads Club. Photo: Getty Images

However, it has a long list of famous faces who have passed through its doors, including footballers Albert McPherson, Steve Fleet, Eddie Colman and Brian Doyle, BBC broadcaster Mike Sweeney and members of The Hollies Allan Clarke and Graham Nash.

The building has also proved irresistible to film crews, appearing as a location in the likes of Peaky Blinders, Cold Feet and Coronation Street.

Founded by the Groves brothers in 1903, the club was designed by architect Henry Lord.

Over more than a century it has amassed an incredible archive of memorabilia and is open to the public on Saturdays between 11am and 1.30pm. Visitors can trace their family history, attend heritage open days or drop in as one of the landmarks on the Manchester Music Tours.

The club has been hailed as one of the finest examples of its type in England and in June 201 the volunteer team received the country’s highest civic honour, the Queen’s Award For Voluntary Service.