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Comedienne, actress and writer Caroline Aherne has died after ‘brave’ battle with cancer

caroline aherne
(Image credit: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency)

Award-winning TV favourite Caroline Aherne has died

In a statement released today by her publicist Neil Reading, it was announced that: "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."

Caroline was best known for her roles in The Mrs Merton Show, The Fast Show and The Royle Family, which she co-wrote with Craig Cash and starred in alongside Craig, Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston.

Sue, who played Barbara - the mother of Aherne's character Denise - in The Royle Family, said: "I am devastated at her passing and I am numb with grief."

And Ralf Little, who played her brother in the same comedy, tweeted:

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More recently, Caroline provided the voiceover for Gogglebox.

She was forced to take time off from the show earlier this year while she received treatment for the disease.

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Caroline died at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester, earlier today.

In April, Gogglebox fans took to Twitter to express their concern after her writing partner and friend Craig Cash stepped in to cover.

Caroline revealed she had cancer in 2014, when she spoke at the launch of the Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership, a £3.4million scheme to bring together hospitals, GPs, hospices and Manchester city council to co-ordinate cancer care in her home city.

She said at the time: “When you hear the doctors say you have cancer, it’s true you really don’t take it in properly. You just don’t think of the questions.”

Caroline, who has also had cancer of the retina and of the bladder, said having a sense of humour helped.

And Caroline definitely had that.

DJ and writer Danny Baker recalled one of his favourite lines from The Royle Family as he tweeted:

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Coronation Street star Andrew Whyment was among the first to pay tribute to Caroline on Twitter.

The actor - who plays Kirk Sutherland in the ITV soap - worked with Caroline on The Royle Family when he played Darren Sinclair-Jones.

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Caroline’s close friend John Thomson, who starred in the Fast Show with her, said she was ‘a joy to be and work with’.

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And David Walliams has said: "Absolutely devastating news about Caroline Aherne. A true comedy genius, her work was equally funny and touching."

Actor and writer Mark Gatiss said she was "so gifted" as he shared the "awful news".

Singer Ellie Goulding tweeted:

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Caroline was born in London but grew up in Wythenshawe, Manchester.

Her brother Patrick has said she was the family joker, adding: "Nobody else in the family was like that. But she was funny from the time she was really little."

She studied drama at Liverpool Polytechnic then started work as a secretary at the BBC before finding national fame in the mid 1990s with Mrs Merton, in which she starred as the eponymous chat show host, and The Fast Show.

The Royle Family, which ran for three series and featured in several specials, told the story of a dysfunctional family. Writing it, Caroline drew on her own childhood experiences and the people she met growing up.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV/REX/Shutterstock (635880ws) 'The Royle Family' - 1998 - Ralf Little, Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash, Sue Johnston, Ricky Tomlinson and Liz Smith. ITV ARCHIVE

The Royle Family: Ralf, Caroline, Craig, Sue, Ricky and Liz Smith


It won four awards, including best actress for Caroline at the 1999 British Comedy Awards, before going on to pick up the Best Sitcom BAFTA in 2000 and 2007.

In the Mrs Merton Show, a series of guests were subjected to questions in front of an audience of pensioners.

EastEnders' Barbara Windsor was one of Mrs Merton's victims, being told: 'You know, you're like a big film star, but common as muck".

The Mrs Merton Christmas Show won the best talk show BAFTA in 1997.

Caroline was nominated for BAFTAs for her performances in both shows, as well as for directing The Royle Family in 2001.