TV & Showbiz

A TV special celebrating the life of Caroline Aherne is airing this Christmas

A Christmas Day dedicated to a Manc legend? We'll absolutely be tuning in.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 11th December 2023

A TV special celebrating the “unique life and talent” of Caroline Aherne is set to air on BBC Two this Christmas Day.

There’s absolutely no denying that Caroline Aherne is a true Manc icon.

Although born in London to Irish parents, she moved to Manchester at the age of two, was raised in Wythenshawe, went to school in West Didsbury, and kick-started her illustrious and hugely-influential career on the city’s comedy circuit by performing as a collection of characters, all before developing the iconic ‘Mrs Merton’.

Aherne developed her Mrs Merton character with Frank Sidebottom for his show on Piccadilly Radio, where she worked as a receptionist. 

She made a number of television appearances as the hilarious character, before rising to prominence in 1994 with the mock chat show The Mrs Merton Show, where she was known for asking celebrity guests a series of outrageous fake questions – the most-memorable example being to the wife of magician Paul Daniels, Debbie McGee, asking: “So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”.


Aside from the Mrs Merton character, Aherne was known for appearing on BBC comedy sketch programme, The Fast Show, and then cemented her place in the heart of us Mancunians when she co-wrote and starred as Denise in beloved Manchester-based sitcom, The Royle Family.

The Royle Family ran for three series from 1998 to 2000, and was a largely stereotypical portrayal of working-class family life at the turn of the millennium, with almost all of the episodes taking place in the Royles’ telly-centric living room and showing the hilarious conversations they’d have.


Both before and after her sad death in July 2016, Caroline amassed a loyal fanbase, so it’s only right that we properly celebrate her legacy, right? Well that’s exactly what BBC Two is doing this Christmas Day from 9pm, with the airing of a brand-new TV special, as well as lots of other programmes dedicated to the late legend and all she is loved for.

The 80-minute documentary is described by the BBC as being a “celebration of the unique life and talent of Caroline Aherne”.

Titled Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy, it will feature unseen photographs and contributions from a cast of her lifelong friends – including Steve Coogan, Jon Thompson, Craig Cash, and producer Andy Harries.

The 80-minute special is titled Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy / Credit: ITV

Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy will air on BBC Two at 10:25pm on Christmas Day (25 December), and will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer shortly after.

This new TV special also follows BBC Two’s re-run of The Royle Family’s classic Christmas episode – which is titled ‘Christmas With The Royle Family’, and first aired back in December 1999 – a little earlier in the evening at 9:15pm.

It’ll also be on after a 15-minute long moment of reflection from Ricky Tomlinson at 9pm too.

According to the BBC, Ricky – who, of course, is most famous for his role as the Royle Family’s patriarch, Jim Royle – will sit back in his iconic chair and take a fond look back at the much-loved comedy series, sharing his memories and experiences working with Caroline Aherne.

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And, if all that wasn’t brilliant enough as it is, you can also catch an episode of both The Mrs Merton Show and The Fast Show on the big day too.


Sounds right up our street.

Featured Image – BBC