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BBC to launch female comedy bursary in memory of Caroline Aherne

Caroline Aherne in an early appearance as Mrs Merton in the 1990s
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The BBC is launching a bursary in memory of Caroline Aherne, for northern female comedians and comedy writers.

The Caroline Aherne Bursary for Funny Northern Women will award £5,000 to the successful applicant in order to fund future development, as well as mentoring from a BBC commissioning editor.

Aherne, known for TV comedy shows including The Royal Family and The Fast Show, died in July 2016 aged 52.

The fund is aimed at emerging female comedians and comedy writers from the north of England.

It will be launched on July 27 at the Salford Sitcom Showcase and will be run through the BBC Writersroom.

Shane Allen, BBC controller of comedy commissioning, said: “Last year British comedy was rocked by the deaths of three incredibly funny Northern women – Caroline Aherne, Carla Lane and Victoria Wood. We are delighted to introduce this new bursary, which will harness their legacy to inspire a new generation of female comedy performers in the north.”

Director of BBC North Alice Webb added the Corporation was dedicated to “seeking out, developing and supporting great Northern talents who have the ability to speak to the whole nation”.