Mrs Brown's Boys was almost cancelled due to 'petty' word producers didn't like

 Mrs Brown's Boys is now loved by millions across the country but the BBC comedy very nearly didn't make it from stage to radio and TV. Creator and star Brendan O'Carroll explains how one word from the show was a major issue with producers


( Image: BBC)


Brendan O'Carroll has recalled how one word almost prevented Mrs Brown's Boys developing from its theatre origins.

The Irish comedy first aired on British TV over 20 years ago, with BBC One premiering the first ever episode and the show going on to produce three series and numerous Christmas specials - even picking up a BAFTA for Best Situation Comedy in 2012 and multiple other awards along the way.

However, Mrs Brown's Boys wasn't an overnight success, with creator and star Brendan - who recently hit back at critics who accuse him of transphobia - plugging away at the format for years and an original version of the comedy first being played on Irish radio station RTÉ 2fm way back in 1992.

In his new memoir, Call Me Mrs. Brown, Brendan recalls his famous show's origins and the struggles along the way, in addition to opening up about the breakdown of his first marriage, the heartbreaking death of his newborn baby and how Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand's antics once delayed production on his BBC show.

Looking back on recording ten episodes of Mrs Brown's Boys for Irish radio in the 90s, the actor and comedian recalls finding the experience 'unexpectedly fun', before revealing how one word from the script saw a producer refuse to run the show on the radio.

"He called called me to say that he had listened to them and he loved them. He wanted to run them from the following Monday and see what kind of reaction the show got," Brendan writes after explaining how he sent tapes of the episodes to Gareth O'Callaghan.

"I was really excited, but disappointment was to come. I now had a mobile phone with an 083 number and on the Friday, as we were driving to a gig, Gareth called. He couldn't run the shows," he continues.

Mrs Brown's Boys was already a hit in Ireland before it made its way onto the BBC


"His producer Ian Demsey had blocked them. I asked why and Gareth said the producer had pointed out that it's because Mrs. Brown said 'bum'. As petty as it was - it was bum! - he couldn't air that at four thirty in the afternoon. So that was that."

In his new book, Brendan goes on to explain how Gareth promised him the show would air if he ever became producer and, 'as a man of his word', Gareth played the episodes of Mrs Brown's Boys the first week he produced the radio show.

Elsewhere in the candid memoir, the star also recalls how comedians Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross once delayed the BBC production of Mrs Brown's Boys, due to the infamous Andrew Sachs scandal.

The Andrew Sachs scandal almost kept Mrs Brown's Boys off our screens


In 2009, Brendan had been approached by a BBC executive to create a television series based on the stage show and after the star recruited a cast and wrote a pilot, production begun.

But after Russell, who Brendan describes as a 'hilarious comic', and Jonathan prank-called Fawlty Towers actor Andrew, 'an uproar' ensured and the BBC held off on 'everything' for a period of time - including Mrs Brown's Boys.

It was six months on from the scandal until Brendan heard anything further from the BBC and production on his now-hit show could continue.

Earlier this month, Brendan defended playing a woman on the hit BBC show, amid long-running criticism from some viewers who claim Mrs Brown's Boys is transphobic and accuse Brendan of 'cultural appropriation'.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: "I don’t think about them, I write the show I write. I don’t ever think of myself as being a man playing a woman, when Mrs. Brown goes out on that stage she is a woman. Where do you draw the line?

"Is it okay for Leonardo DiCaprio to play a carpenter or do we get a carpenter? Shouldn’t we get the best person for the job?"

*Call Me Mrs Brown by Brendan O'Carroll is out now.


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