Caroline Aherne, Royle Family star, has lung cancer

  • Published
Caroline AherneImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Aherne is known for shows including The Mrs Merton Show and The Fast Show

Award-winning TV writer and comedian Caroline Aherne is recovering from treatment for lung cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support confirmed that the Royle Family star, who has previously had bladder and eye cancer, would speak at an appeal to improve cancer care in Manchester on 26 June.

Aherne, 50, said of the appeal: "I've had cancer and my brother's had cancer and we know how it affects people."

She has starred in The Mrs Merton Show, The Royle Family and The Fast Show.

Image caption,
Aherne (front, second left) co-wrote and starred in The Royle Family

Nicola Cook, from Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "Caroline's one of Manchester's own - she's loved here and people identify with her. We hope that if people see that Caroline is sitting down and talking to us then maybe they'll know that they can too."

Aherne had eye cancer along with her brother when she was a child and also revealed that she had been treated for bladder cancer in the past.

Her brother Patrick told Macmillan Cancer Research that his sister was diagnosed "late last year" and that "the form of lung cancer that she is suffering from is genetic and linked to the retinoblastoma she had as a baby".

Image caption,
Aherne's Fast Show roles included the weather forecaster who endlessly exclaimed 'Scorchio!'

"Her bladder cancer was also genetic and linked to the retinoblastoma," he said, adding that she no longer smokes and is keen to raise awareness about the Macmillan cause rather than her medical condition.

Aherne said: "They've asked me to get involved and I'm really glad that I can do my bit to encourage Manchester people to speak up about where things do go wrong with cancer care."

The writer and actress said it was "truly shocking" that the city had come bottom of 150 areas in England for premature deaths from cancer.

"Our survival rates are 25% lower than average and the number of people getting lung cancer is a third higher here than in the rest of England," she said.

She added that her role on Channel 4 series Gogglebox would not be affected, and said: "I will be narrating this week's Gogglebox, and I will continue to narrate Gogglebox for as long as Gogglebox want me."

Aherne, who was born in London but lived in Manchester from the age of two, began her career as gossiping granny Mrs Merton.

Image caption,
Mrs Merton was known for her cutting questions delivered with a smile

Mrs Merton got her own TV chat show in 1995 and her no-holds-barred interviewing style ensured it became a hit.

The show won a Bafta in 1997 for best talk show and a BBC Comedy Award for top BBC One personality.

She was also one of the writers and performers on BBC Two's sketch series The Fast Show, which screened from 1994 to 2001.

With Craig Cash, she went on to write BBC Two's acclaimed comedy The Royle Family, which revolved around a family who spent most of their time slumped in front of the TV.

Collection of awards

Aherne and Cash also starred in the series along with Sue Johnston, Ricky Tomlinson, Liz Smith, Ralf Little and Jessica Hynes.

It ran from 1998 to 2000 and had a one-off return in 2006, in which the comedy was mixed with sadness when Nana died.

The Royle Family won two Baftas in 2000 and another in 2007 for best situation comedy.

Aherne's sometimes troubled personal life often featured in the tabloid press. She split from her first husband, New Order bass player Peter Hook, in 1996.

Problems in public eye

She was then involved in a relationship with television researcher Matt Bowers, who was caught on camera fighting with Hook at a party in Manchester.

Aherne split with Mr Bowers, who died from stomach cancer in 1997.

A suspected suicide bid in 1998 brought into sharp focus the problems she was having. Following a drug overdose, Aherne admitted she was an alcoholic and had not been aware of what she was doing to herself.

She moved to Australia to escape media scrutiny and within a year had written and produced Dossa and Joe - a sitcom about an Australian couple who do not do very much. She returned to the UK in 2002.

Around the BBC

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.