Yesterday (July 2) Comedian Caroline Aherne died from cancer at aged 52, her publicist confirmed.
The star and writer of The Royle Family, Mrs Merton and most recently, the narrator of Channel 4’s Gogglebox, Aherne was diagnosed with lung cancer last year having previously recovered from eye and bladder cancer. She passed away at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester.
Fellow comedians were quick to pay tribute to the much-loved star, with the likes of Edgar Wright describing her as having ‘funny bones’. Now, cast members Ralf Little and Ricky Tomlinson have shared their thoughts.
Writing on Twitter, Ralf Little – who played Caroline’s on-screen little brother in The Royle Family – said: “Sorry for silence – I just… don’t know what to say. What a sad, sad day. We’ve lost another one of our best.” He added, “A character. A legend. A boss. A sister, real and (for me) fake. A boss. A writer. An actor. A genius. A friend. Big, big heart. Goodbye. X”
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Ricky Tomlinson – who played Caroline’s on-screen father in The Royle Family – said: “I’m so bloody shocked. She was absolutely wonderful and amazing to work for. Kind, funny, witty. A true professional and one of the most generous people I ever worked for. Her death is the biggest shock in the world. It’s knocked me for six.”
He continued, “When you went to work you’d have a beautiful dressing room, with flowers, a card and message from her and a bowl of sweets,” he enthused. “She really cared. She used to send out to Sainsbury’s and get me half a dozen cans of mild beer.”
Tomlinson also revealed that his fondest memory of working on the show was during the 1999 Christmas special, which saw Denise (Aherne) go into labour with Jim (Tomlinson) comforting her. “I think it was so special to her because she didn’t have children. And it was so special to me because my own girl, my Kate, was born on Christmas Day. And that’s why the tears were real. The cameraman was the son of Corrie character Stan Ogden and at the end he was crying and said, ‘That’s it. We don’t need another take’. It just stands out in my mind.”