Brendan O'Carroll: 'Mrs Brown's Boys is written for the fans and I don't care about critics'

Christmas TV star Brendan O'Carroll explains why Mrs Brown's Boys wins the festive ratings battle and how Corrie's Kevin Kennedy shows Mammy that everyone's life would be better WITHOUT her

Agnes has got Christmas shopping covered! (Image: BBC Studios/Alan Peebles)

When the crackers have been pulled and the washing-up is done, millions of us love to sit down and enjoy the riotous merrymaking of a double helping from Mrs Brown’s family.

The fun starts on Christmas Day with It’s a Wonderful Mammy, based on the much-loved 1946 James Stewart film.

Agnes is in despair and an angel – played by former Corrie star Kevin Kennedy – tries to show her what life without her would be like for her nearest and dearest.

‘In It’s a Wonderful Life, the angel shows George the impact that he’s had and says, “People’s lives are miserable because you aren’t here”.

Unfortunately, everyone in Agnes’s life is having a great time! Nobody misses her one bit!’ roars Brendan O’Carroll, who writes the hit sitcom and plays matriarch Agnes Brown.

Meanwhile, in the New Year special Agnes encounters Peggy Piper, who’s been in prison for poisoning her husband Peter Piper by putting poison in his Pernod.

You can bet they had fun with that line during filming... ‘You’d better believe it!’ laughs Brendan.

It’s no surprise that the BBC always finds room for the Browns in the Christmas schedules.

‘I think out of the last eight years, we’ve topped the ratings on five occasions but we’re never out of the top five,’ reveals Brendan proudly.

Yet the show’s impressive viewing figures don’t make him nervous.

'I can only write what I can write,’ says the star, who spends several months a year playing Mrs Brown on stage, between filming commitments.

‘I don’t think about pressure, or critics. I write what I find funny and hope the audience agree.’

Brendan and his wife Jennifer Gibney – who plays Agnes’s daughter Cathy in the show – spend much of their time at their Florida home.

(Image: BBC Studios/Alan Peebles)

‘Christmas is always in Dublin with family, always,’ says Brendan. ‘Everybody comes for breakfast, all the family, and that’s fried Christmas pudding and bacon.

'Then they head off to have their own lunch. On Christmas night, everyone comes round in their pyjamas and we watch the Christmas episode.’

However, it’s not all about Mrs Brown’s Boys for Brendan and his large family. ‘We’ll watch all the shows,’ he says.

‘Jenny’s mam is an EastEnders fanatic so we’ll get stuck into that. And Call
The Midwife and Michael McIntyre.

Also, it’s not Christmas until we’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life and Love Actually.’

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