MRS BROWN'S JOYS How Mrs Brown’s Boys all began as Brendan O’Carroll celebrates 20 years of stage shows

IT’S 20 years since Mrs Brown first hit the silver screen - with Hollywood star Anjelica Huston starring as Ireland’s most famous mammy.

Then known as Agnes Browne, with an e, the movie about a feisty Moore Street trader was based on Brendan O’Carroll’s book, The Mammy.

Brendan O'Carroll's Mrs Brown's Boys started out as a radio playCredit: BBC

The 1999 movie also coincided with Brendan’s decision to go on the road with a theatre production of Mrs Brown’s Boys - which first began as a radio play in 1992.

The two events marked a turning point for Brendan, who had been declared bankrupt in the late 80s.

He’s this week celebrating 20 years of the Mrs Brown’s Boys theatre shows, which have seen Brendan and the cast, many of whom are his family members, tour the world bringing laughter wherever they go.

Here we look at how Brendan went on to be one of Ireland’s most famous stars.

The radio series spawned a series of books written by Brendan, The Mammy, The Chisellers, The Granny, and The Young WanCredit: Civic Theatre


MRS Brown began as a radio play on 2fm in 1992 and the character was intended to be played by an actress.

After she phoned in sick, Brendan stepped up to play the role of the madcap matriarch.

The series spawned a series of books written by Brendan, The Mammy, The Chisellers, The Granny, and The Young Wan.

After the success of Agnes Browne the movie, Brendan wrote a series of stories adapted from the books, in which he played Mrs. Brown(e) and cast the rest of the family – including many of his own relatives as characters.

A series of seven film-like adaptations was made and went straight to DVD release. These were later adapted into stage plays that were performed around the country and in the UK.

Brendan now tours the globe with the cast - many of whom are members of his familyCredit: BBC


It was in Glasgow that the show got its big break.

After the shows at Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, failed to sell, Brendan came up with the idea of a 2-for-1 ticket deal - which made the show a sell-out.

For the next seven years, two different Mrs Brown’s Boys shows were on for up to three weeks at a time. The Pavilion became known as “The Home of Mrs Brown”.

Thanks to its Scottish fanbase, BBC Scotland approached Brendan about making a TV series based on the stage shows.

Brendan wrote a pilot and recruited his real life family members to star as Mrs Brown’s fictional family - with wife Jennifer Gibney starring as Mrs Brown’s daughter Jenny, while his son Danny starred as Buster Brady and sister Eilish starred as neighbour Winnie McCoogan.


RTE came on board with the BBC, with the first series airing in February 2011. Despite critics lashing the show, it was a hit with viewers.

The 2011 Christmas special was the most watched show in Ireland on Christmas Day - with 6.6 million watching in the UK.

In 2012, more than 20 million viewers watched the two Christmas specials, while the 2013 and 2013 Christmas specials were the most watched festive shows in the UK. Brendan has confirmed that he’s signed up to do Christmas specials until 2020.

While telly critics are often quick to criticise the show, the programme won a BAFTA in 2012 for Best Situation Comedy.

For three consecutive years, in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Mrs Brown’s Boys won the award for Best Comedy at the National Television Awards

Brendan and wife Jenny Gibney celebrate award winCredit: Getty - Contributor


In 2014, Mrs Brown returned to the silver screen - this time with her creator Brendan in the leading role.

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie got many negative reviews - but also pulled in €5 million on its opening weekend in the UK and Ireland.

Brendan has said of the show’s success: “It would be very clever of me to say I had a plan and it all worked out… I had no plan. At all.

“Honest to God, this was a five-minute piece for radio. That piece then turned into a novel, then two novels, three novels, four novels!

“Then it was a stage play, then five stage plays, then a movie with Anjelica Huston, and then a movie with me playing the part of Mrs Brown.”

After two decades on the road, Mrs Brown continues to pack out arenas all over the world.

And with two more Christmas specials to come, while Brendan has also penned a script for a second movie, fans can’t get enough of Mrs Brown.

Not bad for a foul-mouthed widow from Finglas.

Previous Post Next Post

نموذج الاتصال