Born on 26 December 1963, Caroline Aherne shot to
stardom in 1994 with the success of her spoof chat
show hostess Mrs Merton, and since then her success
and popularity has grown.
She always used to do impressions as a child and even
won a prize at a Butlins holiday camp for them.
Caroline has said that after leaving school she either
wanted to be a secretary or study drama at college. After
watching Victoria Wood's play 'Talent', she decided to
go to 'Poly' and study drama. The character of Mrs Merton
(based on one of her mum's friends) emerged when Caroline got a job on Stockport's local
radio. Mrs Merton was just one of the characters she played, and at first was actually
an agony aunt. Caroline was later offered a pilot show, and a year later the BBC decided
they'd take it and The Mrs Merton Show as we now know and love it was born.
Writing the show, Caroline works with Dave Gorman, Henry Normal and Craig Cash.
She says that there aren't any proper scripts involve but they just try to think up
funny things to asks the guests. She believes that often the best questions come off the top of your head;
"It's about fifty percent ad lib and fifty percent stuff that made us laugh in the office."
The first series of Mrs Merton was broadcast on BBC2, and apparently some of the audience
thought that Mrs Merton was a real person, and actually complimented her on her hair.
The audience are all made up of her mum Maureen and her friends, and friends of Caroline's
"I hate it when they call it a spoof chat show. The guests don't
know the questions, nothing's rehearsed, so it's not spoof".
Caroline is now a regular member of The Fast Show cast, and has been a guest on Shooting
Stars as well as landing numerous advertising contracts. She has done voiceovers for
advertisements for Penguins, Thomas Cook and British Gas, while her she stars as her famous
'checkout girl' character from the Fast Show in a recent advert for PG Tips.
Caroline's latest project, the sitcom "The Royle Family" was recently broadcast on BBC2.
It has already won much acclaim, and a new series is planned for next year. It is a working
class, northern sitcom with a difference, as all the action takes place in the family's front
room (it's obviously realistic then!).
"We wanted to see if we could write something where the humour just came
from characters and not events happening".
Caroline and her regular co-writing team (Craig Cash and Henry Normal) believe
that the funniest things are said by real people in real situations, and so
they wanted to create a character based, realistic but funny, sitcom.
1997 Television and Radio Industries Club Award: "New TV Talent of the Year"
1997 British Comedy Awards: "Top BBC 1 Personality"
1996 British Comedy Awards: Top Female Comedy Performer
..... and many more
As the only chat show host who annoyed Chris Eubank and danced with Wayne Sleep,
Mrs Merton is bolder than Ruby Wax and cheekier than the seven dwarves' bottoms.
(to Chris Eubank)
"Do you see Roy over there with the glasses
... have you ever had a fight with him?"
"Of course not"
"You liar, Roy!"
(After mentioning that he'd lost his last 2 fights, Chris goes quiet)
"Oh Come on Chris ... it's a chat show!"
"You're going to punch me aren't you?!"
She put Barbara Windsor, the most annoying of the Eastenders cast in her place! :
"That's what I love about you Barbara, you're one of us... You're like a big film
star, but you're still common as muck!"
(to runner Kris Akabusi)
"Do you have to plan your tactics before the race or do you just try and run
faster than the other blokes?"
"But what first, Debbie, attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"
"I think of you both as our version of David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer, but
you know, on a lower budget"
The Fast Show Book (1996)
Mrs Merton's World of Television (book, 1997)
Mrs Merton; the Best of Series One
Mrs Merton; Series Two
Mrs Merton (audio compilation)
The Fast Show (numerous videos)
Caroline was interviewed by Michael Parkinson in January 1999. She spoke
very openly and frank about her work, family and of course, her alcoholism.
Caroline's latest project is a sitcom called 'Mrs Merton and Malcom',
which she has written with her regular team. She's decided to let Mrs Merton
rest as a chat show host for the time being, since after writing the Royle
Family, she realised that she preferred writing narrative comedy.