Photography by Katie O'Neill
Craig Cash is a comic actor, voice artist, director and a BAFTA award-winning writer and producer. He is best known for his work in the TV shows The Royle Family, The Fast Show, The Mrs Merton Show and Early Doors. Craig is also the voice of Channel 4's Gogglebox.
Craig Cash & the Royle Family cast
I was born in 1960 at 21, Short Street, Heaton Norris, Stockport. In the days when visiting midwives delivered babies at home. We lived opposite The Salvation Army which is still there. I was born on a Sunday to the sound of their brass band outside. You can’t get a much more northern start to life than that!
After leaving Goyt Bank secondary school in Offerton, Craig took on a variety of jobs, screen printing, cleaning cars, he trained as a wood machinist, sold TVs and did a bit of painting and decorating. “I enjoyed them all and learnt a lot about the real world. A whole different life but met plenty of characters along the way. I think it's useful to have had a real life before getting into the la-la land of TV and it certainly helped me with the writing.”
Craig in his native Stockport
People in Stockport are warm and friendly, with a very dry, self-deprecating sense of humour and there are lots of characters here. Comedy for me has always been about characters not situations. How they speak, what they say, the rhythm of their voices, what makes them tick. There’s a whole world going on outside, but there’s a bigger world going on within everyone. That’s always my starting point.
Craig rose to prominence in the late 1980s/early 1990s as a music radio DJ on south Manchester station KFM. It was here he first met Caroline Aherne and the start of their close creative partnership. As an actor Craig is best known for playing the slightly dim-witted Dave Best in the BBC sitcom The Royle Family, which he co-wrote with and starred in alongside Caroline Aherne. He won two BAFTA Television Awards for Best Situation Comedy for his work on The Royle Family in 2000 and 2007.
Craig & Caroline - Dave & Denise in The Royle Family
Craig has also written for The Fast Show and for Aherne on The Mrs Merton Show. With Phil Mealey he wrote the BBC sitcom Early Doors. They went on to write the drama Sunshine, filmed in Marple and first broadcast on BBC One in 2008. They founded the independent production company Jellylegs, which went on to produce The Café, a show written by and starring his Royle Family co-star Ralf Little, with Craig directing all six episodes, Rovers written by Joe Wilkinson and David Earl and After Hours, all for Sky1. Jellylegs produced Sunshine and The Royle Family specials for BBC1. Craig also directed TV commercials including Patak's Indian Foods and Mr Kipling Cakes.
'After Hours' starring Jamie Winstone
Mrs Merton & Malcolm
The cast of Early Doors
'The Café' starring Ralph Little & Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Craig & Sue Johnston in 'Rovers'
More recently Craig’s voice has become one of the most recognisable on television as the narrator of C4’s Gogglebox. Craig has narrated the show since 2013, taking on the role permanently after the tragic loss of his dear friend Caroline Aherne.
A lifelong Manchester City supporter, Craig still lives in the Stockport area.
I guess Stockport has helped shape me, it’s a very real, earthy place. Unpretentious. Inspirational. It inspired Lowry to paint it in the same way it inspires me to write about it.
THE SHOOT: Stockport Railway Viaduct
The iconic brick built structure which straddles Stockport town centre and the M60 motorway
Student reflection: Katie O'Neill
We arranged to meet Craig outside The Pineapple pub in Stockport, one of his old haunts. We all jumped in Craig’s car and after navigating the town centre’s ever changing one way system, we eventually found a place to park that offered a strong backdrop of Stockport Viaduct.
The photoshoot began at the foot of one of the viaduct’s imposing red brick arches, giving a strong working-class Mancunian vibe to the images. Craig was very down to earth, relaxed and easy to direct. As we walked between locations, he talked about growing up in Stockport and how the town had shaped his career.
We eventually moved away from the viaduct to try to capture a wider panoramic view. With careful positioning, I managed to get a ‘this is my town’ shot of Craig arms open wide. The weather bright but overcast which offered lots of gritty cloud detail, adding extra character and atmosphere to the photos.
I am really pleased with my final images. In my opinion they successfully portray the close relationship between Craig and his hometown. I have plenty of strong images to choose from for next year’s Greater Mancunians’ exhibition.