Caroline Aherne walks out on latest project

Royle Family star Caroline Aherne has walked out on her latest TV series, sparking fresh fears about her health.

Royle Family star Caroline Aherne has walked out on her latest TV series, sparking fresh fears about her health.

Aherne had been working on new BBC2 sitcom Early Doors but abandoned the project after writing just one draft.

It has led to concerns that the troubled star’s personal life is again in turmoil.

Aherne, 38, has battled depression and drink problems and spent time in the Priory clinic following a suicide attempt.

More recently she left Britain claiming she could not cope with the pressures of fame.

She was working on Early Doors with Royle Family co-star and long-time writing partner Craig Cash but quit last week, leaving Cash to shoulder the project alone.

A BBC spokesman said: “Caroline Aherne has been involved in writing a script with Craig Cash for a series in development for BBC2.

“Having completed a first draft, her involvement in the project has now ended and Craig continues to develop the series.”

Aherne’s problems first came to a head in 1998 when she attempted suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

She was found at her home in Notting Hill, west London, surrounded by farewell notes to friends and family, including her late father Bert.

The next day she checked into the Priory, the renowned clinic for the rich and famous, where she was diagnosed as a binge alcoholic.

Aherne appeared on the road to recovery but in December 2000 she was back on the booze and embarrassingly heckled actor Nigel Hawthorne at a showbiz awards ceremony.

The star has also had a string of failed relationships – her marriage to New Order guitarist Peter Hook ended and she began a romance with TV researcher Matt Bowers.

They split but she was devastated when he died of cancer the following year, aged 28.

Aherne admitted that alcohol was an attempt to block out her problems.

“I wanted to get drunk to obliterate everything. There was my divorce, my dad dying, Matt dying, and I was trying to cope with being famous. It was all too much.”

Last year she announced she was leaving Britain because she could not cope with the level of fame which success with The Royle Family and comedy chat show Mrs Merton had brought her.

“I’ve played the fame game long enough and I just want to disappear,” she said.

She relocated to Sydney and seemed happily settled, falling in love with Australian millionaire Brett Whitford and writing a new sitcom Dossa and Joe for the BBC.

Earlier this year she returned to the UK with Whitford but that relationship also ended and he went back to Australia.

Dossa and Joe, starring Neighbours actress Anne Charleston, proved a hit with the critics but audiences switched off, with ratings slumping to just over 800,000.

Aherne was said to be “downhearted” at the flop but determined to carry on writing and directing with Early Doors.

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