Karen Koren: Caroline Aherne will be sorely missed

Caroline Aherne died aged just 52. Picture: Matthew Pover

Caroline Aherne died aged just 52. Picture: Matthew Pover

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Caroline Aherne’s death is a tragic loss to comedy, writes Karen Koren.

How many more amazingly talented people are going to die this year? On Saturday it came as a shock to hear of the death of Caroline Aherne from cancer at just 52 years of age.

I remember Caroline very well from the early 90s, when she performed at the Gilded Balloon in the Cowgate. We did a show called Women in Comedy, which she headlined.

Her comedy characters where hysterical, from Sister Mary Immaculate, dressed as a nun whose ambition was to kiss the Pope’s ring, to Mrs Merton, the ageing local radio agony aunt, which found her resplendent in old lady grey wig, winged glasses and crimplene dress with obligatory handbag.

She was naturally hilarious and laughed at herself in a way that was so infectious we all laughed too.

The Mrs Merton character progressed to BBC2 for a TV series in which she interviewed unsuspecting celebrities, quizzing them with questions that were to the point but said in such an affectionate way, it was impossible to feel angry with her.

Her friend and colleague from the early days, Steve Coogan, said: “She was naturally funny, and cross-generational. Her comedy wasn’t intellectual but it was clever, and intuitive.

“Caroline would find people’s Achilles heels, but her humour was never nasty. She didn’t like pretentiousness or pomposity. She was good at pricking balloons.”

After a few years of coming to the Gilded Balloon she brought her husband Peter Hook from New Order, who appeared as the house band on Mrs Merton’s show.

He ended up joining other performers on stage at Late ’n’ Live which was an epic moment for many comics and musicians alike.

Alas, the marriage was not to work out and Caroline went through many difficult times coping with fame and ill health.

She was loved by all who knew her and she will be sorely missed – very sad.