Skip to main content

Scorchio! 5 of Caroline Aherne's best TV moments

Caroline Aherne
(Image credit: Mark Campbell/REX/Shutterstock)

Revisit the comedy genius of Caroline Aherne, who created Mrs Merton and The Royle Family, and has died at 52 after a long fight with cancer

Caroline Aherne, who has died at the age of 52, became a household name in 1995 after the success of The Mrs Merton Show.

The multi-award-winning comedy writer and actress struck gold on the BBC with The Fast Show and The Royle Family.

More recently, she was best known for narrating Channel 4 hit Gogglebox.

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

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

 

Here are five memorable television moments from her much-loved shows.

1. Debbie McGee on The Mrs Merton Show

Aherne beautifully mimicked a blue-rinse granny in the popular chat show which was first broadcast on BBC Two.

Mrs Merton always had a twinkle in her eye as she delivered her razor-sharp witticisms.

https://youtu.be/Lj-9lSEBBm0

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?”

See more

The late magician’s widow paid tribute to Aherne on Twitter.

2. Scorchio! with Paula Fisch

BBC Two sketch series The Fast Show, created by Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse, ran from 1994 until 1997.

A popular segment of the show was Channel 9 – a pastiche of a Mediterranean television channel.

https://youtu.be/kZMUAd7OJc8

To the delight of millions, Aherne’s weather girl character Paula Fisch was perennially surprised about the outlook for hot weather.

She would stand in front of a map, speak gobbledygook and then exclaim: “Scorchio!” as she placed a symbol of the sun on the map.

3. Checkout girl

Another popular creation in The Fast Show, 'checkout girl' was the shop assistant to avoid.

https://youtu.be/VsNq3nQ612c

Aherne’s character would pick up items on the conveyor belt and loudly comment on them.

A typical, and amusing, example was: “Ribbed condoms? Very thoughtful.”

4. The Royle Family

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

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

 

The enduring BBC favourite was co-written and co-created by Caroline and friend Craig Cash, who played gormless Dave Best in the show.

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

Jim’s 'My arse!' catchphrase quickly captured the imagination following the show’s 1998 debut.

https://youtu.be/PSB3bWyMCfU

 

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.

One episode was based entirely around the Royles watching then-rival ITV hit Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? – not only bold, but also original.

In Channel 4′s Born On The Same Day, broadcast on June 28, Tomlinson said people still stop him in the street and repeat 'My arse!' to him.

5. Gogglebox

Gogglebox's Steph and Dom (Jude Edginton/Channel 4)

Gogglebox’s Steph and Dom (Jude Edginton/Channel 4)

 

Caroline lent her distinctive voice to this Channel 4 series which premiered in 2013 and had more than a suggestion of The Royle Family about it.

She may not have appeared on the screen, but she gave the show warmth and personality.