Caroline Aherne

Caroline Aherne

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

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BBC to celebrate Caroline Aherne

John Thomson to present short tribute

The BBC is to celebrate the work of Caroline Aherne as part of its forthcoming Festival Of Funny.

Her Fast Show colleague John Thomson will present a series of clips from her work including The Mrs Merton Show and The Royle Family in the half-hour show.

Aherene  died of lung cancer at her home in Timperley at the age of 52 on July 2, 2016.

Caroline Aherne At The BBC will air sometime between late February and mid-March as comedy programming takes over much of the Corporation’s output. However it has not yet been announced which channel the tribute will air on.

A similar celebration of Tommy Cooper’s work at the BBC will be presented by Sir Lenny Henry.

And in celebrating other comedy greats, the Corporation will air Dave Allen On Life, the 90-minute collection that was released as a DVD in 2014; and  the 2018 two-part series Billy Connolly Made in Scotland.

Victoria Wood’s classic stand-up show Victoria at the Albert, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in 2001, will also air as part of a season of stand-up specials.

Festival of Funny Logo

All today's Festival Of Funny announcements:

• New stand-up showcase for BBC Two
• New Radio 2 pilots from Delightful Sausage, Tommy Tiernan, Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Arnuvab Pal
• Celebration of Caroline Aherne
• Series of stand-up specials
• Showcase of comedy shorts, including a new series from Harry Hill
•  Radio 4 stand-up show for Patrick Kielty

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Published: 15 Feb 2021

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