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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Aherne goes down under for comedy
Caroline Aherne
Aherne has returned to writing comedy in Australia
Caroline Aherne, creator of Mrs Merton and award-winning comedy The Royle Family, has written a new comedy series for the BBC.

Aherne has been in Australia since June, after intensive UK press attention on her reported drinking problems and a suspected suicide attempt.

But the comedy writer and actress has used the experience to come up with a six-part family-based comedy to be set in Australia.

Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash
Aherne as Mrs Merton with Craig Cash as Malcolm

BBC Two controller Jane Root has visited the star in Sydney and is on the point of signing a deal with Aherne to bring the series to British TV screens early next year.

Ms Root said: "Caroline is one of the most talented people in television and it is fantastic that we are able to continue her relationship with BBC Two."

Abrupt departure The show will be called Dossa and Joe, and features the popular for Neighbours star Anne Charleston - who played Madge Bishop - as well as Australian actor John Caton, who has appeared in the film The Castle.

Aherne's abrupt departure to Australia this year surprised the entertainment world.

She said that she wanted to take a year off - and away from the constant scrutiny that went along with appearing on TV.

The Royle Family
The TV addicted Royles quickly became a hit

But friends reported that after just a few months in Australia her morale was much improved and she was eager to begin working again.

However it is unlikely that Aherne is planning to bring back The Royle Family, though a BBC spokeswoman said that the corporation would be willing to do another series.

"You never say never no to something as popular as that," said the spokeswoman.

See also:

09 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Royle star Aherne 'quits' TV
08 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Royles cleaned up for US
09 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Aherne's success and excess
17 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Aherne in awards heckling row
15 May 00 | Entertainment
A Royle night at the Baftas
16 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Aherne plans right Royle film
04 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Comics fight for Bafta honours
03 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Royles move to America
05 Oct 00 | Entertainment
A right Royle arrival
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