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BBC sets up a bursary for Funny Northern Women in memory of the late Caroline Aherne

(Image credit: PA Images)

The bursary is aimed at Northern, female comedians who would benefit from £5,000 and guidance from the a BBC commissioning editor.

A new comedy bursary honouring the memory of Caroline Aherne has been announced ahead of the 2017 Salford Sitcom Showcase.

The Caroline Aherne Bursary for Funny Northern Women awards £5,000 to a successful applicant.  This will help the candidate's future development and offer them guidance from a BBC commissioning editor.

Beloved comic actor and writer Caroline Aherne died from cancer last year. She shot to fame for her role on The Fast Show, but was most recently known for her voiceover work on Channel 4's Gogglebox.

Alice Webb, director for BBC North, said: "From The Royle Family to Dinnerladies we have a rich tradition of developing series centred around funny women who have originated from right here in the North."

Caroline Aherne

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Caroline Aherne alongside the cast of The Royle Family


Alice added: "We remain dedicated to seeking out, developing and supporting great Northern talents who have the ability to speak to the whole nation.”

The Bursary will be launched at the Salford Sitcom Showcase and full details on how to apply will be available on the BBC Writersroom website (opens in new tab) from 27 July.

Speaking about the significance of the award Shane Allen, BBC controller of comedy commissioning, said: "Last year British comedy was rocked by the deaths of three incredibly funny Northern women – Caroline Aherne, Carla Lane and Victoria Wood. We are delighted to introduce this new bursary which will harness their legacy to inspire a new generation of female comedy performers in the north."

What is the Salford Sitcom Showcase?

The Salford Sitcom Showcase is held in MediaCityUK, Salford. Now in its sixth year, the event is an opportunity to see some of the best comedy scripts and talent which are just starting to emerge.

The event takes place on 27 July, but tickets (opens in new tab) are available to purchase now.

This year's show will include a Q&A with Diane Morgan and a live reading from a new sitcom called The Entrepreneuress starring Car Share's Sian Gibson. Previous success stories include Citizen Khan and Boy Meets Girl.