Caroline Mary Aherne was an English comedienne and comedy writer. Best known for her roles as Mrs Merton and Denise Royle ; she also had various roles on The Fast Show. She began her career on the Manchester comedy circuit. Her first tv appearance was as Mrs Merton with the character rising to prominence in 1994. Her most popular creation was the sitcom The Royle Family, starring alongside Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnson and Craig Cash. Aherne sadly passed away at her home in Manchester on 2 July 2016 from a long illness.