A NEW film celebrating the actor and writer Caroline Aherne will be released just in time for Christmas.
Caroline Aherne: Comedy Queen will pay tribute to the life and work of the comedy icon, who died in 2016, at the age of 52, following a battle with lung cancer.
Born in Ealing, west London on December 24, 1963, Aherne’s parents were Irish immigrants.
Her father Bert worked on the railways, while her mother Maureen was a school dinner lady.
The family moved to Wythenshawe in Manchester when she was aged two, where she and her brother Patrick were raised.
The new documentary, produced under the BBC’s Arena film series, will honour Aherne’s unique contribution to British television over the years, which saw her create a raft of comedy classics in the 1990s, from the Mrs Merton Show to The Royle Family and The Fast Show.
It also features unseen photographs of the star and contributions from a cast of her lifelong friends and colleagues, including Steve Coogan, John Thomson, Craig Cash, Sue Johnston and producer Andy Harries.
Elsewhere this Christmas, Arena Films will release a second new title, Mad About The Boy: the Noel Coward Story.
The film examines the man who would become one of the most celebrated actors, playwrights and songwriters of his generation, told through his own words, music and home movies.
Narrated by Alan Cumming, with Rupert Everett as the voice of Noel Coward, the film features appearances from Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Harold Pinter, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Michael Caine and Lucille Ball.
A new film on Kae Tempest is also being released next month.
To celebrate the release of its new films the BBC has also added to the Arena archive which is available for audiences to view.
Voted in Broadcast magazine as one of the top 50 most influential programmes of all time, BBC iPlayer and BBC Four will make available over 50 films from this BAFTA-winning arts series, many which have been unseen for decades.
Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor for Arena at BBC Arts, explained: “The Arena archive is a treasure house of the best in creative documentary over nearly five decades and continues to be extraordinary.
“This year so far has been exceptional, with films that range from The Stones and Brian Jones to The Mysterious Mr Lagerfeld and with more on Kae Tempest, Caroline Aherne and Noel Coward coming up.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate these classics alongside some wonderful new films.”
The range of the BBC’s Arena archive is demonstrated in the breadth of subjects it's been willing to tackle over the years.
From Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright and others exploring James Joyce’s Ulysses, to looking at the king of rock’n’roll Elvis Presley through his dietary habits in The Burger and the King, Arena has explored the world of art, music, film and culture.