Last night’s comedy telethon Stand Up to Cancer was full of touching and heartbreaking clips of real people who’ve struggled with or lost loved ones to the disease, but one moment stood out as particularly poignant.
During the broadcast actor and comedian Steve Coogan paid tribute to Caroline Aherne, the creator and star of series including The Mrs Merton Show and The Royle Family (with co-writer Craig Cash) and narrator of Gogglebox, who died of lung cancer aged 52 just three months ago.
“30 years ago, when I started out in comedy, I met a girl who worked as a secretary for the BBC,” Coogan said in the tribute. “She was sassy, sexy, earthy, kind, smart, sometimes daft.
“She mercilessly took the piss and she made me and our small gang of Manchester friends laugh until they cried. Her name was Caroline Aherne.”
After describing other fond memories of Aherne, Coogan eventually concluded: “In the last days of her life, she had a piece of paper stuck on the notice board in her kitchen quoting W. H. Auden. It said: ‘Among those I like or admire, I can find no common denominator. But among those who I love, I can. All of them make me laugh’.
“She was living proof that laughter will always be the best medicine.”
Caroline Aherne in 2007
To find out more about how you can donate or support Stand Up to Cancer and cancer research, you can visit standuptocancer.org.uk.