This Christmas, the iconic Royle Family is set to make a poignant return to our screens. The re-emergence of the classic is part of a heartfelt tribute to the late and beloved Caroline Aherne.
Caroline Aherne, comedian, actor, and co-creator of The Royle Family, left a big mark on British comedy before tragically passing away in 2016 aged 52. Known for her original contributions to the industry, Aherne’s legacy lives on, and this Christmas, BBC Two is dedicating its evening schedules to honour her memory.
The centrepiece of this tribute is the 70-minute documentary titled “Caroline Aherne: Comedy Queen,” featured as part of the Arena arts strand. The film is produced and directed by Claire Whalley and Hannah Lowes. This includes unseen photographs and contributions from Aherne’s friends and colleagues, including Craig Cash, John Thomson, Sue Johnston, Ricky Tomlinson, Ralf Little, Steve Coogan, Henry Normal, Phil Mealy, and producer Andy Harries.
Heartfelt Tributes From Royle Family Cast
The documentary delves into Aherne’s life, starting from her childhood in Wythenshawe, Manchester, and tracing her journey through the city’s alternative stand-up scene. It highlights her breakthrough with The Mrs Merton Show and her lasting legacy with the classic sitcom The Royle Family, co-created with Craig Cash.
Before the documentary, viewers will be treated to a 15-minute film in which Ricky Tomlinson shares his memories of Aherne. Following this, a Christmas episode of The Royle Family from 1999, where Aherne’s character Denise prepares to give birth, will be broadcast. Furthermore, the evening also features the first episode of The Mrs Merton Show, in which Aherne interviews Steve Coogan, Kriss Akabusi, Chris Greener, and Debbie McGee.
Closing the tribute, a festive episode of The Fast Show from 1996 will showcase Aherne and John Thomson as Renee and Roy, entertaining Roy’s mother for Christmas dinner.
Aherne Was Ahead Of Her Time
The Royle Family, a groundbreaking sitcom, takes a unique approach to storytelling. Uniquely, most episodes appear to unfold in real-time within the Royles’ council house home. Filmed in 16 mm without a laugh track, the show gained acclaim for its realistic portrayal of a working-class family’s everyday life.
The Caroline Aherne programming, including The Royle Family tribute, will air on BBC Two from 9 pm on Christmas Day. It will allow viewers to reminisce about Aherne’s comedy and the enduring appeal of The Royle Family.