“She’d kiss the TV when Hugh Grant was on”: Craig Cash shares memories of Royle Family co-star Caroline Aherne

The Gogglebox narrator talks the shows he enjoyed with his much-missed friend

Getty, TL

What’s the view like from your sofa?

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It’s beautiful. There’s a telly in the corner, a lovely cosy log fire and I can see into my back garden. And as with Jim Royle, the remote control’s always close by.

Do you shout at the telly like Jim Royle does?

I do find myself hurling abuse at the TV when I’m on my own. Daft, isn’t it? Jim Royle was based on my dad because he’d constantly have a go at people on the telly.

You provide the voiceover for Gogglebox – but would you ever appear on it?

Ooh no, I prefer to be on the other side of the camera. I love the show because it’s done in such a deft manner, but I genuinely don’t get to see it before it goes out. I just say the bits in between. So when my mates try to get me out on a Friday night and I say I’m staying in to watch Gogglebox, they’re like, “Get over yourself.”

Did you get a free sofa for voicing the Sofaworks ads?

No – you’re going to think I’m a right tosser because I’m really into contemporary design, so my sofa’s a lovely firm Conran Shop one.

What shows have you enjoyed from the firmness of your contemporary sofa?

I loved The Bridge. But I had to keep pausing it to ask my wife what the hell was going on, then pretending that’s what I thought too.

Do you binge on box sets?

I prefer to take things one episode at a time. I bought the box set of Borgen for Caroline Aherne because I knew she’d love it. She binged on the whole thing and I eventually had to stop her talking about it. After she died, each episode broke my heart because I just wanted to get her on the phone to discuss it.

You shared great moments with Caroline on the Royle Family sofa. Where is that sofa now?

After she passed away, I had to go through all the props. It was heartbreaking. I had no room for the sofa so someone who works with me has it in their garage. One day we’ll sell it for charity. But I kept a Charles and Diana plate and a felt wall hanging with Blackpool Tower on it!

Why are shows like The Royle Family and Early Doors still so popular?

It’s about characters. Early Doors might be 15 years old, but it’s gentle and warm – and laughter has never gone out of fashion. I got a letter from Jimmy McGovern saying how much he enjoyed the show, which blew me away. I’ve still got the letter – it’s one of my most treasured possessions.

If you popped into the Grapes, what would you order at the bar?

It’s not good for my gout, but I do like a Guinness. These days I find there’s too much choice in pubs. It used to be just bitter, mild or lager. I don’t want to make a decision. Just give me a pint!

You’re taking Early Doors on a live tour – any superstitions before you go on stage?

Thankfully, I’m not superstitious. Caroline used to make us kiss the Royle Family script three times before we sent it to the BBC. Mind you, she kissed a lot of things. She was so in love with Hugh Grant that she kissed the TV screen when he was on it. When her TV broke, the repair man wondered why there was lipstick all over it!

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Early Doors is on Mon 9.30pm, 10.10pm, Gold Early Doors Live tours the UK, 29 August to 7 October. For tickets and venues visit ticketmaster.co.uk


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