Brendan O’Carroll: ‘I spent the summer thinking about Mrs Brown’s Christmas tree

Brendan O’Carroll reveals what Mrs Brown and her boys are getting up to in the Christmas and New Year Specials on BBC1

Brendan O’Carroll’s Mammy Agnes Brown and her extended family are now as much a part of Christmas as mince pies and mulled wine. This year, Brendan O’Carroll and the close-knit cast of Mrs Brown’s Boys – which includes his real life wife Jennifer Gibney (Cathy), son Danny (Buster), daughter Fiona (Maria), daughter-in-law Amanda (Betty),  son-in-law Martin Delany (Trevor) and sister Eilish (Winnie) – return with two new cracking episodes, ‘Exotic Mammy’ and ‘Mammy’s Motel’.

If you think the holidays are stressful in your house, prepare to feel better, as nothing compares to the chaos at the Brown’s!

Here, in an exclusive interview with TV Times, lovely Brendan O’Carroll, 63, tells us why Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year…

What’s in store for the Browns this Christmas?
Brendan O’Carroll: “Father Damian [Conor Moloney] has come up with an idea to raise a few bob for the local football team by holding a Christmas decoration competition. If the local team don’t qualify for the football finals all the money goes to the church – and, of course, they’ve never qualified for the finals! Agnes decides to enter, but tries to pull a stunt by recommending nemesis Hillary Nicholson [Susie Blake] as a judge. The rules say judges can’t enter the competition, so that’s her out!”

What could possibly go wrong!

Susie Blake shines as haughty Hillary Nicholson

“Agnes has forgotten this means Hillary is now a judge! When Hillary comes to Agnes’ house, she says it can’t be called a Christmas extravaganza because she doesn’t see a tree. That’s when Agnes reveals her Christmas tree!”

Do you enjoy the challenge of creating a new Christmas tree stunt every year?
“Writing Mrs Brown’s Boys is still magic to me – I write it down and it pops up in front of me when we go to the BBC! The Christmas tree has become a bit of a tradition. Regardless of what the story is going to be, the first thing I do is sketch out the tree and send it to the boys at the Beeb. I spent the Summer thinking, ‘What am I going to do with the Christmas tree this year?’”

What can you tell us about this year’s tree?
“When I drew it up, I didn’t know whether we’d be able to do it or not. But the BBC said we could, so long as we filmed the New Year’s Day episode first and the Christmas episode second [they are normally recorded in sequence] because it will take an extra week to fit the Christmas tree I wanted in! I got the idea looking at Christmas decorations. I don’t want to reveal any more, but I think it works incredibly well and is one of the best yet!”

We hear Mammy gets some new technology too…
“Yes, Buster’s present is ‘Maggie’, the Irish version of an Alexa. Mammy has awful trouble getting used to Maggie. It can’t understand what Agnes is saying until she turns it from its London voice setting to Dublin, Irish. She ends up arguing with it. I got the idea from my mother-in-law who often argues with her Sat Nav!”

Are you easier than Mrs Brown to buy presents for?
“God, no! I’m one of those people who says, ‘Don’t get me anything.’ And then if you don’t get me anything, I’ll never talk to you again!”

Is the New Year’s Day episode as chaotic as the Christmas one?

Many of Brendan’s family and friends also star in Mrs Brown’s Boys. Pictured here: Paddy Houlihan (Dermot), Brendan as Mrs Brown, Damien McKiernan (Rory), Gary Hollywood (Dino), Eli Delany (Jasper), Jamie O’Carroll (Bono), Felix Delany (Johnny)

“It’s absolute mayhem! Agnes and her daughter Cathy invite best friends Winnie and Sharon to stay after burst pipes flood their house. The other complication is Agnes has offered to hold grandson Bono’s birthday at her house. Cathy tries to bring some peace by sitting everyone down and telling them to speak their mind – forgetting that her mother is Agnes Brown. And during all this, Buster unveils a shocking surprise!”

Mrs Brown and daughter Cathy (Jennifer Gibney) discover good fences make good neighbours. With Eilish O’Carroll, who stars as Winnie

What are your plans for 2019?

“I’m in the middle of writing Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Musical, which opens in March. The last thing any writer wants to do is write, sometimes it’s a struggle. But it’s funny and I’m looking forward to touring it in the UK next year. I don’t know if I can carry some of these songs, but I’m going to try!”

Mrs Brown’s Boys, starring Brendan O’Carroll, is on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day on BBC1

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