Dublin student writes thesis on Mrs Brown's Boys and gets it signed by Brendan O'Carroll

 Thomas Hartigan, 24, studied at BCFE and decided to do his thesis and a short documentary on how autistic people are affected by the show


Thomas Hartigan with Mrs Browns Boys star Brendan O'Carroll (Image: Thomas Hartigan)


A Dublin student has written a thesis on Mrs Brown's Boys and got it signed by his hero Brendan O'Carroll.

Thomas Hartigan, 24, from Lucan recently completed a degree in media production management at Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE). He told Dublin Live that for his thesis as part of his degree he decided to compare Mrs Brown's Boys with Barney and Friends and how both shows affect people who are on the autism spectrum.

Thomas said: "As part of the course you do a 10,000 words dissertation so I decided to do it on how Mrs Brown's Boys and Barney and Friends affect people with autism.

On Saturday 15 October, Thomas met Brendan O'Carroll at a book signing he was doing in Easons in O'Connell Street to promote his autobiography Call Me Mrs. Brown. Thomas explained: "I showed him the thesis and he was very touched by the fact that I had done a thesis on Mrs Brown, and he also signed the thesis.

"I have autism myself and so the two shows had a big impact on me, so it was kind of personal for me so that's one of the main reasons I decided to do it."

As part of his thesis, Thomas showed people with autism and people without autism clips from both Mrs Brown's Boys and Barney and Friends. He explained: "I got them to do a questionnaire afterwards in response to how they responded to the clips so from that I did an analysis to how they responded to the clip."

"There was actually a similar enough difference, the main aim of the thesis was to show that even though audiences have a love hate relationship with both shows I wanted to show the positive effects of both shows and the impact they had on people."

Thomas Hartigan's thesis on Mrs Brown's Boys and Barney and Friends (Image: Thomas Hartigan)


Thomas also made a short documentary as part of the degree on the same topic in which he interviewed the founder of As I Am Adam Harris, Eilish O'Carroll from Mrs Brown's Boys and actor Bob West the voice of Barney the dinosaur. Thomas said: "They were fantastic to talk to.

"I kind of know Eilish a while back, I was an extra on Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie when it came out about eight years ago and I did work experience on the sitcom.

"She was great to chat to and so was Adam Harris who gave me a good insight into his background and childhood. I talked to the Barney actor for over 40 minutes on Zoom, he was the most surprising person to interview because he was very passionate about playing Barney.

"He really understood the character and the effects the show has had on people with autism." Thomas submitted his thesis in August and received great marks which he said was "delighted" with.


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