Born in London and raised in Wythenshawe, Manchester, Caroline Aherne started out on the comedy circuit in the mid-Nineties with characters such as country singer Mitzi Goldberg and nun Sister Mary Immaculate.
She also made regular appearances on Manchester radio stations, including KFM, where she met her Royle Family co-creator Craig Cash; and Piccadilly Radio, where she developed the character of pensioner Mrs Merton for Frank Sidebottom’s show.
She made brief appearances in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and appeared in and wrote for The Fast Show in the mid-Nineties, before Mrs Merton was given her own mock talk show, where she had famous exchanges with Debbie McGee and Bernard Manning among others. The character was also given a short-lived spin-off sitcom Mrs Merton and Malcolm, about her home life with her over-protected son, played by co-writer Craig Cash.
With Cash she also created The Royle Family, in which she also played Denise Royle in all three series as well as six one-offs. Aherne also directed later episodes.
In 2002, she moved to Australia and wrote the series Dossa and Joe, about a working-class Australian family, but it failed to find an audience.
In 2009, she co-wrote the ITV1 comedy-drama The Fattest Man in Britain with Jeff Pope – and in 2011 they reunited to write the four-part ITV series The Security Men.
Aherne was married to Peter Hook of New Order until 1997. During their marriage, he led the house band – Hooky & the Boys – on The Mrs Merton Show