Remembering Caroline Aherne: The TV star's life in pictures


Caroline Aherne, the award-winning TV writer and actress, was best known and loved for co-creating The Royle Family.

The former star of The Mrs Merton Show is also remembered for The Fast Show and for narrating Channel 4 hit Gogglebox.

Award-winning writer Caroline Aherne (Joel Ryan/PA)

Her untimely death from cancer at the age of 52 has robbed the British comedy world of one of its most talented figures.

We remember her life in pictures.

The early years

Caroline Aherne (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Born to Irish immigrant parents in London before being raised in Manchester, she was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the retina as a child - like her older brother Patrick.

Caroline was sent to Lourdes in search of a miracle cure, but was left with severely impaired sight in one eye.

The Fast Show

The Fast Show's Paul Whitehouse and Caroline Aherne (Sean Dempsey/PA)

After studying drama at Liverpool Polytechnic, Caroline met Craig Cash and started writing with him in the early 1990s.

The Fast Show creators Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson assembled a team of writers and performers including Caroline and Craig.

Caroline Aherne (PA)

Caroline's characters included "scorchio!" weather girl Paula Fisch and the supermarket checkout girl shoppers dread.

The Mrs Merton Show

Debbie McGee with Caroline Aherne (ITV/Rex/Shutterstock)

Caroline beautifully mimicked a blue-rinse granny in the chat show which first aired on BBC Two in 1995 before moving to BBC One.

In what quickly became a classic one-liner, Mrs Merton famously asked Debbie McGee in 1995: "So what first, Debbie, attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"

The award-winning show's guests included Hollywood star Tony Curtis, Dame Barbara Windsor, Keith Chegwin, Joanna Lumley, Boy George and Martin Clunes.

Love and relationships

Caroline Aherne with Matt Bowers (David Cheskin/PA)

In 1994, Caroline married Peter Hook, guitarist with pop group New Order and house musician on The Mrs Merton Show. They split up in April 1996.

She had a relationship with TV researcher Matt Bowers, but they broke up before he died of cancer in 1997.

The Royle Family

The cast of The Royle Family including Caroline Aherne (BBC)

The Royle Family was born after Caroline and Craig, who played gormless Dave Best in the show, threw themselves into their work after Caroline attempted suicide.

A scene from The Royle Family with Sue Johnston and Caroline Aherne (BBC)

The Royle Family stars Sue Johnston and Caroline Aherne (Michael Walter/PA)

Caroline played lazy Denise Royle, and the cast included Sue Johnston as mother Barbara Royle, Ralf Little as Denise's brother Antony and Ricky Tomlinson as Denise's father Jim Royle.

The cast of The Royle Family: (L-R) Craig Cash, Ricky Tomlinson, Caroline Aherne, Sue Johnston and Ralf Little (Peter Jordan/PA)

Aside from the acclaimed writing, a unique feature of The Royle Family was the format: 25 minutes of comedy based largely in a working class living room.

Awards and acclaim

Caroline Aherne with a Bafta (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Caroline first became the toast of the comedy world in 1996 when she won a British Comedy Award for The Mrs Merton Show.

Caroline Aherne and her mother Maureen (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She went on to win a haul of awards and accolades including gongs from Bafta, the Royal Television Society and the Broadcasting Press Guild. Caroline is pictured arriving for the Baftas in 1999 with her mother Maureen.

Mrs Merton And Malcolm

Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash (Peter Jordan/PA)

This 1999 BBC One sitcom starred writing partners Caroline and Craig as mother Mrs Merton (Caroline) and her son Malcolm (Craig).

Gogglebox and the cancer fight

Caroline Aherne has died at the age of 52 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Caroline starred in The Royle Family specials in 2006 and 2010 before becoming the voice of Gogglebox in 2013.

She suffered a bout of bladder cancer and, in 2014, started treatment for lung cancer. Sadly, she lost her fight with the disease.