Born in Ealing though raised in Manchester, Caroline Aherne shot to fame with the huge success of her character, Mrs Merton. After appearing on and writing for The Fast Show, the comedienne first introduced the public to the grey-haired interviewer on The Mrs Merton Show in 1994. The star's old-lady guise often allowed her to put cheeky questions to her celeb guests, most famously asking Debbie McGee: "So what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?" Following the success of the series, Caroline's Manchester-set sitcom The Royle Family made its debut in 1998. Hugely popular with fans and critics alike, the BAFTA-winning programme, which ran for three series, was written by and starred Caroline and Craig Cash. After winding up the show in 2000 she announced she would be withdrawing from acting and headed to Australia, though returned home in 2002. Following a series of difficult personal events Caroline has spent recent years out of the public eye and made only one TV appearance since a 2006 special episode of The Royle Family - a cameo in 2008 BBC comedy Sunshine, written by her Royle co-star Craig.