The late Caroline Aherne will be the subject of a BBC Arena film this Christmas.


Caroline Aherne: Comedy Queen will take a look at the life and career of the writer and actress, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 52. The film will feature unseen photographs and contributions from The Royle Family cast, as well as colleagues and friends.

Aherne co-created the series alongside long-term collaborator Craig Cash, and starred as the Royles' laid-back daughter Denise.

Steve Coogan, Jon Thompson, Craig Cash, Sue Johnston and producer Andy Harries have all been confirmed to appear.

Aherne's film is one of three new additions to the BBC's Arena series. Noel Coward will also be celebrated in Mad About The Boy: the Noel Coward Story. The film will be narrated by Alan Cumming, with actor Rupert Everett contributing as Coward's voice.

Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Harold Pinter, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Michael Caine and Lucille Ball will all appear in footage taken from Coward's own home movies.

Being Kae Tempest is the third of the films, and the first one to air (today, Wednesday 29th November on BBC Two). It will feature "intimate insights" into the writer's life in a "period of profound personal and artistic change," the BBC confirmed in a statement.

The Royle Family
The Royle Family cast. BBC

To celebrate the release of the new films, the BBC is also adding archival Arena content to iPlayer and BBC Four.

More than 50 films will be added to the content library, many of which haven't been seen in decades. They include the likes of Elvis-centred documentary The Burger and the King, Many Lives of Richard Attenborough, Martin Scorsese's No Direction: Bob Dylan, and Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes.

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Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor for Arena at BBC Arts said: “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.”

Caroline Aherne: Comedy Queen will air on BBC Two. Looking for something to watch in the meantime? Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


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