Coming up next week is the Salford Sitcom Showcase, a collaboration between the BBC’s comedy wing and BBC North. As well as a preview of Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out 2.0, the night will feature a live performance of The Entrepreneuress, which is Sian Gibson’s new, in-development BBC sitcom, and a live Q&A with Diane Morgan, the vastly less doltish alter ego of Philomena Cunk.
The BBC have also announced that they’ll use the event to launch the Caroline Aherne Bursary, the award of a £5,000 purse to an up and coming northern female comedy writer-performer so that she might “fund future development, alongside the guidance of an experienced BBC commissioning editor.”
2016 saw the passing of Caroline Aherne, Victoria Wood and Carla Lane, three bold, Northern, female comedy writers. I expect that most audiences would be hard pressed to name many more, and certainly none that have yet achieved the same degree of mainstream success.
Caroline Aherne is still greatly missed, and I’m sure she can’t be replaced, but giving this bursary in her name is at least some positive action in tribute.
And who knows – perhaps the next Acorn Antiques, Liver Birds or Royle Family could be just £5000 of support and a nod from the BBC away.