Caroline (Aherne) was a total one off . I was privileged to work with one of the most naturally gifted writers and performers of her generation and I loved every moment of it . She was passionate, kind, inspiring and could make you dissolve into tears of laughter with the simplest of lines. She had extraordinary comedy instincts and a unique connection to the British television watching nation and our culture. She was both fantastically ordinary ( a working class Mancunian and first generation Irish family ) and yet extraordinary at the same time. I am desperately sad that her brilliant career was really so brief – just 10 dazzling years – but what a legacy in the creation of Mrs Merton and the game changing sitcom The Royle Family which still plays timelessly today .

She lived with cancer all her life and sensed that she would not have a long life . She enjoyed her meteoric success for a short while moment but ultimately the pressures of famed and her openness to all who came to celebrate her led to unhappiness in her relationships and to darker times. But she never complained about her choices or felt that life had dealt her a bad hand…she remained a wonderful ,courageous and inspiring lady to the end . A real candle in the wind.