The Daily Mail, newspaper, London (UK).
The young actor who is making Mrs. Merton laugh again. August 20, 1997, by Rick Hewett.
This is the man who has brought happiness to the troubled life of comedy actress Caroline Aherne.
The Mrs. Merton star has been secretly dating American actor Alexis Denisof for several weeks.
'Although it is early days, I know it is going to be a special relationship,' she said in a magazine interview.
'He is very good looking and very funny and also posh. I used to prefer rough and ready men, but now I like posh men they've got better manners and they look after you. As you get older, things like that become important.' She has already introduced the actor to her parents Bert and Maureen at their home in Manchester. 'My mum thought he was lovely,' she said.
Miss Aherne, 33, is said by friends to be 'utterly happy' since meeting Mr. Denisof, 33, who has appeared in ITV dramas Sharpe and Soldier Soldier.
Although thousands laugh at Mrs. Merton, her elderly chat show host character, her private life has been turbulent in recent years.
Her marriage to rock musician Peter Hook ended in divorce. She then began a relationship with TV researcher Matt Bowers, who traded blows with Mr. Hook when they met at a celebrity party to launch the Sticky Fingers restaurant in Manchester.
Then, shortly after she and Mr. Bowers split, he was diagnosed with incurable stomach cancer and died in April, aged 27.
In interviews Miss Aherne has vowed to stay single, saying she could never live with another man.
But since meeting Mr. Denisof she has, according to friends, had a change of heart. He has introduced her to his wealthy father Gerald, who recently visited London on holiday from the farm he owns in Maryland.
Mr. Denisof was brought up in Seattle, where his mother Christiana still lives after divorcing her husband 20 years ago. She described her son as a 'cute muffin.'
'Alexis is a very bright boy,' she said.
'He is very independent and very funny. He loves women and women generally feel very comfortable with him because he is very honest and very self aware. I have not met Caroline, but I know Alexis will treat her very well.'
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