Mrs Brown’s Boys evokes nostalgia before wars and pandemic – Brendan O’Carroll


Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Day special (BBC Studios/Elaine Livinstone/PA)

Mrs Brown’s Boys creator and star Brendan O’Carroll said the nostalgia of the show which allows people to “have a laugh” away from troubles dominating the world is part of its charm.

The 68-year-old will return to his role as mischievous matriarch Agnes Brown alongside Jennifer Gibney as Cathy Brown, Paddy Houlihan as Dermot Brown and Eilish O’Carroll as Winnie McGoogan in the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day specials.

“I think since 2008 the world hasn’t had a break,” O’Carroll, who also created and wrote the sitcom, said.

“We’ve had all sorts of challenges, we’ve had a pandemic, we have had wars, all sorts of worries and it just gets to the stage where people get unsure, they get nostalgic.

“They go ‘Oh do you remember before, all this was lovely, that was lovely, the summers were longer and Christmas was brighter’.

“Mrs Brown’s Boys has a kind of nostalgia to it. It looks back to that kind of late 80s and 90s comedy where you don’t have to worry about it, you just sit down and let it come at you. You don’t have to try and figure it out, you don’t have to have a university degree to understand it.

“It’s just gags and it’s ‘let’s sit down on Christmas Day, whatever else happens, let’s sit down and just have a laugh. I think that’s a big part of it, I think it’s nostalgia.”

O’Carroll said his character’s focus “completely switches from herself” which catches her by surprise during the duo of festive episodes, describing it as a “Christmas miracle”.

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll (BBC Studios/Elaine Livinstone/PA)

Speaking about the challenge of writing Christmas episodes year-after-year, the Irish actor said: “It is difficult to come up with different stories, but again I always remember a story Richard Curtis was telling me about when they were making Love Actually.

“When they finished shooting it, he went ‘Oh, it’s a disaster’, we need to do some more shoots, and they decided to go back and shoot it as a Christmas movie and set it at Christmas and it changed the whole flavour of the movie and it became, and still is, my favourite Christmas movie.

“Christmas is not Christmas without Love Actually, and It’s A Wonderful Life, then it’s Christmas. So, no matter what the story is, if you add Christmas onto it, it just becomes more magical, I think.”

Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special will air at 10.45pm on December 25, while the New Year’s 
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