Entertainment & Arts

Caroline Aherne inspires BBC bursary scheme to help female comics

Caroline Aherne in 2007 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Aherne co-wrote and starred in BBC sitcom The Royle Family

Caroline Aherne, the late star of The Royle Family and The Mrs Merton Show, is to have a bursary scheme named in her honour, a year on from her death.

The scheme will seek to foster "a new generation of female comedy performers in the North," said Shane Allen, the BBC's head of comedy commissioning.

The bursary will be launched at this year's Salford Sitcom Showcase.

Held on 27 July, the event will include a Q&A with Diane Morgan, better known as the clueless Philomena Cunk.

Other offerings include a live reading of a new sitcom called The Entrepreneuress, featuring Sian Gibson from Peter Kay's Car Share.

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's new comedy show will also be screened alongside various panel events.

Image caption Sian Gibson plays Kayleigh to Peter Kay's John in Car Share

Aimed at aspiring writer-performers, the Caroline Aherne Bursary for Funny Northern Women will award £5,000 to one successful applicant.

The bursary will allow them to fund future development as well as receive guidance from a BBC commissioning editor.

Aherne, who died of cancer in July 2016, was an award-winning comedy writer and performer who rose to fame on The Fast Show.

Her spoof chat show host Mrs Merton won her further acclaim, as did her kindly voiceovers on Channel 4's Gogglebox.

Tickets for the Salford Sitcom Showcase at MediaCityUK can be obtained via the BBC Writers Room website.

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