The Mrs Merton Show
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|The Mrs Merton Show|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||29|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||5 December 1993 – 2 April 1998|
The Mrs Merton Show was a mock talk show starring Caroline Aherne as the elderly host Mrs Merton. After a pilot in 1993, the series ran from 10 February 1995 to 2 April 1998 and was produced by Granada Television and aired on the BBC. The writers included Aherne, Craig Cash, Dave Gorman and Henry Normal.
Prior to TV success, Aherne's Mrs Merton character appeared on Frank Sidebottom's album "5/9/88", then made her TV debut on the 1991 Channel 4 gameshow Remote Control, hosted by Anthony H Wilson. The talk show was followed up by a sitcom, Mrs Merton and Malcolm, based on Mrs Merton and her son Malcolm, who was played by Craig Cash.
For the first two series, the house band was Hooky and the Boys, fronted by Aherne's then husband Peter Hook. Following their marital break up the band was replaced by The Patrick Trio from the 1996 Christmas special until the end of the show's run in 1998.
In 1997 the production moved to Las Vegas for a series of specials with Hollywood stars. The series was not well received and was slated by critic Garry Bushell amongst others. For the following (and final) series back in the UK, Bushell was a guest and got appropriately roasted by Mrs Merton and her studio audience.
In an interview in November 2001 Aherne revealed that she did not want to carry on with the show and wanted to write a sitcom with Craig Cash and only agreed to a final series if she could do it. This became the BAFTA Award winning The Royle Family.
In August 2006 a poll of 4,000 people was commissioned by UKTV Gold for the best comic one-liner. In second place was a line from The Mrs Merton Show when she famously asked Debbie McGee, "So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"
- The Best of The Mrs Merton Show: Series One (VHS) - Released: 7 October 1996
- The Best of The Mrs Merton Show: Series Two (VHS) - Released: 4 November 1996
- The Complete Series (DVD) - Released: 25 February 2008