Mrs Brown's Boys star Brendan O'Carroll wants to die on stage like Tommy Cooper


Dublin matriarch Agnes Brown returned once again (Image: BBC / Alan Peebles)

Mrs Brown's Boys star Brendan O’Carroll wants to “do a Tommy Cooper” and die on stage.

The Dubliner, 67, is famous for playing Agnes Brown in the award-winning sitcom he also writes.

As well as the prestigious Christmas Day episode and New Year’s Day episode this year, he has shot a new series of four episodes and next month will kick off a stage tour in Glasgow.

While he’s a big telly star, Brendan will never give up performing live and is inspired by the likes of Mick Jagger, who turns 80 later this month but still tours the world.

Speaking from his home in Florida, Brendan said: “I’ve often wondered when I’ve watched Mick Jagger touring and think ‘what the f*** is he doing at his age?’

“But I get it. I’d come out in a wheelchair if I had to. You miss it, it becomes your life. There are people who retire and waste away. I want to do a Tommy Cooper.”

The fez-wearing comedian and magician died in 1984, aged 63, from a heart attack in front of 12 million viewers midway through Live From Her Majesty’s.

The audience thought it was part of his act and laughed as he collapsed and had to be pulled behind the curtains.

Brendan added: “I want everyone to laugh when I collapse on the floor and think that it’s part of the show and the curtains close and me dragged off.

“It’s the only way to go as far as I’m concerned.”

Despite making enough to live comfortably in the States, dad-of-four Brendan just can’t get enough of the buzz of a live audience.

After being unable to do any live work during the Covid pandemic, he took the Mrs Brown’s cast, which includes members of his own family, on tour last year.

And he is back again putting on Mrs Brown Rides Again, the first time it’s been on stage for a decade.

Brendan said: “I need to work. I needed to walk back on stage and feel that energy you feel from thousands of people wanting you to make them laugh. You miss it when it’s not there.”

The cast, which includes his wife Jennifer Gibney, who plays Agnes’s’ daughter Cathy, and his sister Eilish who plays neighbour Winnie, will play 10 cities across eight weeks.

In the autumn, they’ll take two weeks out from the tour to record the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day specials for BBC1 in Glasgow.

Though the series itself ran for only three series between 2011 and 2013, Mrs Brown has returned every year for Christmas specials, which the BBC has commissioned up to 2026.

In April, they were back in Glasgow, where they got their foothold into the UK at the Pavilion and were then offered a TV spot, to film four episodes for a fourth series. It had been planned to be filmed in 2021 but was put back twice because of Covid and the shortage of studios afterwards.

Sadly, despite fans desperate to see him back, Rory Cowan won’t return to the series after leaving in 2017.

And Gary Hollywood, who played Dino Doyle, also won’t return after quitting. “That’s done,” admitted Brendan.

The actor has given us a quick peek at what the new episodes will involve. One will see Debra Stephenson as Cathy’s old pal Anita, who could be her half-sister with claims that they share the same dad.

Agnes will get involved with speed dating and be worried when son Dermot (Paddy Houlihan) decides to renew his marriage vows with Maria, played by Brendan’s real-life daughter Fiona, because anyone she knows who renewed their vows broke up two or three years later.

Once the two festive specials are in the bag, Mrs Brown is on the edge of a huge milestone, 50 episodes.

Brendan said: “I signed up to do 18 episodes – three series of six.

“When we have done the Christmas specials this year we’ll have done 49 episodes. Next year we will probably do a live episode for the 50th episode. It’s unbelievable.

“When you consider The Office and Fawlty Towers were 12 episodes, we’ve done 50 episodes. I walk around with a pen in my hand all the time.”

While Mrs Brown gets big audiences both on TV and for live shows, and has won awards for best comedy, the show has its naysayers.

It’s not something Brendan loses sleep over.

And with the deaths of Paul O’Grady, who found fame as Lily Savage, and Barry Humphries who was Dame Edna Everage, Brendan is the most famous male comedian who dresses up in women’s clothing.

Brendan said: “It was very sad to lose them both in one year. What a legacy they both left.

“I don’t want to be the only one left.

“I hope to become part of people’s memories. How many first dates have we had coming to our show who are now married and have kids who are 10 or 11 years old?

“Or kids who have watched it on the TV 10 years ago who are now married themselves and have grown up with it.”

The Dubliner is also planning to team up with Ricky Tomlinson for a new BBC sitcom about men and their sheds

For now, he’s looking forward to kicking off the latest tour in the city he calls a home-from-home and, in this cost-of-living crisis, wants to make sure if people are good enough to spend money on a ticket for Mrs Brown he is sure going to deliver.

He said: “It becomes a big night for them. She might get her hair done.

“He might get his suit cleaned. They’ve bought tickets.

“They might go for a meal or a drink. It’s a big night.

“We are conscious we can’t be the weakest part of the night.

“I want to be better than the steak they had or the pint they are going to have. We can’t let them down.”

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