“Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy” – A Tribute to Brilliance

“The Color Purple” isn’t the only holiday treat this season, as “Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy” graces the screens, offering an intelligent, joyful, and sensitive celebration of the late comedy genius. In this heartfelt documentary, Aherne’s life, career, and impact on the world of British comedy take center stage, reminding us that she was more than just the creator of “The Royle Family.”

A Christmas Nostalgia

As “The Royle Family” remains synonymous with Christmas for many, the timing of this documentary feels fitting. Aherne’s legacy, explored through her own words and insights from friends and collaborators like Craig Cash, Steve Coogan, and John Thomson, unfolds as a brilliant and too brief journey.

Television Lover’s Paradise

Known for her lifelong love of television, Aherne’s story is a delight for fellow television enthusiasts. While the focus understandably rests on her monumental works, “The Mrs Merton Show” and “The Royle Family,” the documentary delves into the archives, unveiling gems from her early career. Clips from a 1990 local radio show with Craig Cash and a 1992 sketch show, “The Dead Good Show,” featuring Coogan and Thomson, offer glimpses into Aherne’s comedic roots.

Standup Mastery

The documentary takes us on a journey through Aherne’s standup performances, showcasing her unique style. Aherne’s experiment with standup without traditional jokes reflects her desire to carve out a career on her own terms, a journey from a working-class girl in Wythenshawe to a comedy icon.

A New Scene Emerges

Manchester in the early days, featuring collaborations with poets like Lemn Sissay, Coogan, and Thomson, paints a vibrant picture of a burgeoning comedy scene. A departure from the old northern club scene, Aherne’s presence marked a fresh, thrilling era.

Mrs. Merton’s Provocative Charm

The documentary revisits the groundbreaking “The Mrs Merton Show,” offering a peek into its pilot from 1993. Aherne’s faux-naive interviewing technique, showcased through guests like Carol Thatcher, remains an iconic comedic moment, revealing her deceptively dangerous and revealing approach.

Legacy in “The Royle Family”

While exploring Aherne’s personal life, mental health struggles, and uneasy relationship with fame and tabloids, the documentary pays due attention to her magnum opus, “The Royle Family.” Colleagues like Sue Johnston, Ricky Tomlinson, and Ralf Little share their experiences, emphasizing how Aherne’s work emanated love and warmth.

Sorrowful Farewell

The documentary doesn’t shy away from the somber aspects of Aherne’s life, concluding with a poignant reminder of her battle with cancer and her untimely passing at 52. Craig Cash’s emotional struggle to speak serves as a testament to the deep impact Aherne had on those around her.

Conclusion: A Vivid Celebration

“Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy” is an unmissable celebration of a comedic virtuoso. It vividly portrays Aherne’s brilliance, leaving an indelible mark on the world of comedy. As we reflect on what was lost, we are reminded of the immense joy and laughter she brought during her all-too-brief time on this stage called life.


Q1: What is the focus of “Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy”?

A1: The documentary focuses on celebrating the life, career, and impact of the late comedy genius Caroline Aherne, known for “The Royle Family.”

Q2: Why is the timing of the documentary significant?

A2: The documentary’s release during the holiday season adds a fitting touch of nostalgia, especially for viewers who associate “The Royle Family” with Christmas.

Q3: How does Caroline Aherne approach standup comedy in the documentary?

A3: Aherne experiments with standup without traditional jokes, showcasing her desire to forge a career on her own terms.

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