Royle Family writer and actress Caroline Aherne dies aged 52
Caroline Aherne, best known as the star and writer of The Royle Family and The Mrs Merton Show, has died at the age of 52.
Aherne passed away over the weekend and her death was confirmed by her publicist Neil Reading, who said on Saturday (July 2nd): "Caroline Aherne has sadly passed away, after a brave battle with cancer. The BAFTA-award-winning writer and comedy actor died earlier today at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester. She was 52. The family ask for privacy at this very sad time."
The actress began her career on the Manchester comedy circuit and first achieved success with her Mrs Merton character, which she developed with Frank Sidebottom for his show on Piccadilly Radio, where she worked as a receptionist. She would go to take the character on to a local television show, before she achieved her big break when she appeared in and wrote for the BBC comedy series The Fast Show.
She debuted her show The Mrs Merton Show in 1995 and the series, which featured Aherne as the elderly Mrs Merton, quickly became a huge success. Three years later in 1998 she created The Royle Family with collaborator Craig Cash, the show which followed a scruffy television-fixated Manchester family, ran for three series from 1998 to 2000, and specials from 2006 to 2012.
Tributes to Aherne have flooded in, with BBC director general Tony Hall firstly speaking, he said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of Caroline's death. She was a brilliant, award-winning comedy writer and performer, much loved by audiences - especially for The Royle Family and Mrs Merton and for her wonderful voicing of many shows. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."
Also paying tribute were a number of other celebrities and you can read their tributes below:
So sad to hear that the brilliant Caroline Aherne has died. Such a great and distinct talent. RIP. #CarolineAherne— Rob Brydon (@RobBrydon) July 2, 2016
Can't believe what I'm hearing 😢 what a beautiful, inspiring woman we have lost. Gogglebox will never be the same #CarolineAherne— Scarlett Moffatt (@ScarlettMoffatt) July 2, 2016
Sad news abt #CarolineAherne. A genuinely original comedy voice.— Sanjeev Bhaskar (@TVSanjeev) July 2, 2016
RIP Caroline Aherne— Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) July 2, 2016
Goodbye Caroline Aherne, comic genius, funny as f**k. "Are you really gay or just trying to impress people down in London?— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) July 2, 2016
Yet another inspirational female comedian lost. Thank you for everything Caroline Aherne. RIP. X— Miranda Hart (@mermhart) July 2, 2016
Oh God No. Caroline Aherne Rest in Peace Beautiful xxxxx— Robbie Williams (@robbiewilliams) July 2, 2016