Russian censors wanted to remove gay character from Mrs Brown's Boys

Creator of the hugely popular sitcom says he turned down a ‘nice licensing fee’ that would have meant writing out character of Rory
Rory Brown (played by Rory Cowan), centre, in Mrs Brown’s Boys.

The creator of the sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys has rejected a lucrative licensing deal in Russia after being told he would have to remove a gay character from the storyline.

Brendan O’Carroll said other eastern European countries had raised concerns about the gay character, but the Russian deal would have involved removing the role altogether.

O’Carroll, who plays the lead character, Agnes Brown, as well as writing the show, said he had turned down “a nice little deal” with Russia.

“It’s is a big country so the fee you’d charge for the licensing is audience-related, so it’s a big audience and it would have been a nice fee.

“But [they said] ‘no gay, absolutely no gay’. So I said ‘no gay, no show’. And that was it.”
The gay character in the show is Mrs Brown’s son Rory. The character was originally played by the actor Rory Cowan, but is now played by Eric O’Carroll.
The show has been a huge success, with a Radio Times poll naming it the best British sitcom of the 21st century to date.

Other eastern European countries raised concerns about licensing deals for the BBC One show, but those concerns were resolved, O’Carroll told the Sun.
“Romania threatened [to cut Rory out], but then went ahead with it. What they’ve done [instead] is, the Rory character is the Rory character and he’s still gay, but they never mention that he’s gay. But it’s still Rory.”
Homophobia is not unusual in Russia, where teaching about homosexuality in schools is banned. There have been many cases of gay foreigners being attacked because of their sexuality.

LGBT football fans have been warned against public displays of affection when they are in Russia for next year’s World Cup.
Earlier this year, the author VE Schwab said she was devastated after discovering a gay relationship was removed from her Shades of Magic books in Russian editions.
Schwab’s novels fell foul of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, a 2013 ruling that bans the spreading of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors. LGBT books are often shrink-wrapped and sold only to those over 18.

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