Sunday 25 September 2016

Caroline Aherne was 'happier before she was famous', says Mrs Merton producer

Published 03/07/2016 | 10:55

Comedy loses another star: Actress and writer Caroline Aherne passed away yesterday aged 52 after a battle with cancer.
Comedy loses another star: Actress and writer Caroline Aherne passed away yesterday aged 52 after a battle with cancer.

A former producer of the Mrs Merton Show has said he thinks Caroline Aherne was "happier before she was successful" and that she found it "very difficult" dealing with her celebrity status.

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Speaking on Radio Five Live, Peter Kessler, when asked by presenter Stephen Nolan if his former colleague was happy with her success, said his perception was "she was happier before she was successful".

Questioned about the personal battles she may have faced, the former producer revealed: "This is really one of the great tragedies of my professional life that I have watched happen, is that when we started working, Caroline was an innocent, happy young woman with an immense talent.

"By the end of two seasons she was a celebrity and it was only too obvious that she found it very, very difficult to deal with being a celebrity."

Caroline Aherne had battled lung cancer
Caroline Aherne had battled lung cancer

Mr Kessler said the much-loved comedy writer and actress had an "enormous natural intellect but not a great deal in the way of formal education".

"There wasn't a great deal she had to fall back on to act as a buffer against that intrusive world of media attention," he added.

"What she therefore tended to rely on was people who she thought she could trust. And the thing is as you gain celebrity, more and more people present themselves to you as 'I am the person you can trust', and it becomes extremely confusing for an innocent person."

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Ricky Tomlinson, who played her character's father on The Royle Family, said he was "so bloody shocked" at her death.

"She was absolutely wonderful and amazing to work for. Kind, funny, witty. A true professional and one of the most generous people I have ever worked with," he told the paper.

Tomlinson, 76, revealed how Aherne over the two years she was battling the disease "never talked about her health" and that he could "never, ever remember her complaining".

COMEDY GENIUS: Caroline Aherne with Ricky Tomlinson in a scene from ‘The Royle Family’
COMEDY GENIUS: Caroline Aherne with Ricky Tomlinson in a scene from ‘The Royle Family’

He added: "She must have gone through a lot but I never saw her looking unwell. She never flagged in work and the atmosphere when she was writing and acting was brilliant."

Recalling his time of working with her, Tomlinson said Aherne would always make sure the cast would have a beautiful dressing room filled with flowers, a card and a bowl of sweets, and would often sending out for takeaways if they filmed late.

He added: "Every week when you finished filming there would always be a little present. A little bag of goodies and a Lottery ticket for everyone. It was those little things I loved her for. She was one of a kind."

File photo dated 03/04/1998 of Caroline Aherne starring in an advert for PG Tips. Photo: PA Photos/PA Wire
File photo dated 03/04/1998 of Caroline Aherne starring in an advert for PG Tips. Photo: PA Photos/PA Wire

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