Brendan O’Carroll tells of COVID terror as he and wife Jenny tried to avoid the disease at their US home - Mrs Brown's Boys

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Friday, December 11, 2020

Brendan O’Carroll tells of COVID terror as he and wife Jenny tried to avoid the disease at their US home

The 65-year-old Mrs Brown’s Boys star, who has an underlying heart condition, said they wore masks, hand-sanitised everywhere they went and avoided people like the plague


Brendan O'Carroll and Jennifer Gibney on the Late Late Show


Brendan O’Carroll told of his COVID terror last night as he and wife Jenny tried to avoid the disease at their US home.

The 65-year-old Mrs Brown’s Boys star, who has an underlying heart condition, said they wore masks, hand-sanitised everywhere they went and avoided people like the plague.

Brendan, who co-stars with his wife in the legendary sitcom, said: “I had a stent put in my heart over a year ago and was terrified I would pick up the virus.

“We live on a golf course here in America and honestly if you didn’t watch the news you’d never know there was a pandemic and over 300,000 people have died.

“People would look at us like lunatics as we’d run in and out of shops with our masks on and only touch things we were buying.


“The Americans hadn’t a clue what was going on and lived life like normal. Every day we would play golf and deliberately stay away from people.

“We wanted to be back to film Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas and New Year’s special in September, and we were given 40 pages of restrictions for filming by the BBC.

“After the year everyone had we wanted to be able to make people laugh this Christmas, so it was crucial we didn’t get COVID-19, otherwise we would never have been able to fly back.”

This year’s Mrs Brown’s Boys special will show on Christmas night on both BBC One at 10pm and RTE One at 9.45pm. Jenny plays Mrs Brown’s daughter Cathy.

Brendan said: “We never look at the full finished show until everyone else sees it on Christmas night.

“When I was writing it I started mentioning COVID a lot but then I said to hell with it, people will be sick of COVID by Christmas. Mrs Brown has of course loads of toilet rolls in her drawers and there is the odd remark about the virus.

“I think the show is as good as ever and the fans will love it. It was difficult to film because you could only have four actors in one studio at a time and then the camera crew had to social distance etc.

“When we finished the very last scene of the Christmas special a huge loud cheer went up in the studio and Jenny and I just started crying We had achieved what we set out to do, to give the people a laugh.”

The past year has been very difficult for Brendan aside from his heart issue – his close sister Fiona and good friend Gay Byrne passed away.

He said: “I just got to see Fiona, who lived in Canada a few days before the first lockdown there.

“She was like my surrogate mother, I was the youngest of a family of 11 and she reared me. We were joined at the hip. It was so hard she passed away.

“Gay was a great mentor even though I only met him twice in my life outside the Late Late Show studio. He called me on FaceTime two weeks before he died to see how I was getting on with my heart complaint and to mind myself.

“Imagine he was dying and all he was concerned about was me, but that was the type of man he was, a legend.

“I have a lot to thank him for, he was the man who advised me to take breaks and to rest and that is why at 65 years of age I only work 26 weeks of the year.”

The star’s heart condition was only spotted by his friend Dr Alan Byrne, the Chief Medical Officer of the FAI, who persuaded him to get checked out.

Brendan said: “90% of the artery was blocked and I was heading for a heart attack. It would not have killed me, but could have done a lot of damage.

“Since the stent I am in good shape and never felt better.”


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