Sophie Willan

Caroline Aherne: Our Manchester comedy royalty

A headshot of Caroline Aherne, a white woman with blonde hair wearing a blue and black patterned shirt

Fittingly for pantomime season, comedian, actor, writer and director Caroline Aherne was something of a fairy godmother.

In Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy, previewed in Manchester shortly before its Christmas Day transmission on BBC Two, Passion Pictures celebrates and explores her private life, exceptional work and legacy.

The story of Aherne’s beginnings on a Manchester council estate, through her first forays on the local stand-up scene, to national stardom is told exclusively by the people whose lives she touched and enriched, personally and professionally.

Alma’s Not Normal returning to BBC Two for second series

Sophie Willan (credit: BBC)

Written, created and executive produced by Sophie Willan, Alma’s Not Normal follows Boltonian wild-child Alma Nuthall and her family of disorderly, eccentric women. The series stars Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley) as Alma’s mother Lin, Lorraine Ashbourne (Bridgerton) as Alma’s grandmother Joan, and Jayde Adams (The Outlaws) as Alma’s best friend Leanne.

BBC Two announces new comedy slate

Starting in May, Thursday nights will feature a full comedy slot, with a new series from the creators of The Inbetweeners called The First Team, which will run alongside the new series of QI.

Later in the year, they will be replaced by the second series of What We Do In The Shadows, starring Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou and Kayvan Novak, and There She Goes, with David Tennant and Jessica Hynes.