Mrs. Brown’s Boys is a British-Irish television sitcom created by and starring Irish writer and performer Brendan O’Carroll and produced in the United Kingdom by BBC Scotland in partnership with BocPix and RTÉ. O’Carroll himself plays his drag persona, Agnes Brown, with several close friends and family members making up the rest of the cast. The show adopts an informal production style where production mistakes and tomfoolery, mostly instigated by O’Carroll, are edited into each episode. Despite being lambasted by critics, the show has become a ratings success in both Ireland, where it is set, and Britain, where it is recorded. It is also gaining increasingly higher ratings in Australia and Canada. The show has won numerous awards.
Mrs. Brown’s Boys was developed from O’Carroll’s works going back to the early 1990s. The character, Agnes Browne, first appeared in stage plays, radio plays, books, and straight-to-DVD films. For the sitcom, the spelling of Agnes’s surname was shortened from Browne to Brown. A stage show has continued to run, and during February and March 2014 it toured Australia. A feature film, Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie, was released on 27 June 2014.Background
Mrs. Brown’s Boys appeared first on RTÉ 2fm, an Irish radio station, in 1992 and then in a series of books written by Brendan O’Carroll from the mid-1990s onwards. The books, entitled The Mammy, The Chisellers, The Granny, and The Young Wan, were first published in Ireland, before being made available in the United Kingdom. In 1999, The Mammy was adapted into a film titled Agnes Browne with Anjelica Huston playing the title character. Following the success of the film, O’Carroll wrote a series of stories, adapted from the books, in which he played Mrs. Browne (now spelled ‘Brown’) and cast the rest of the family — including many of his own relatives as characters. A series of seven film-like adaptations were made, which went straight to DVD release. During this time, O’Carroll took the show on the road, appearing in a series of Mrs. Brown plays in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
In early 2009, O’Carroll was approached by BBC Scotland producer Stephen McCrum to create a television series based on the stage show. O’Carroll recruited an expanded cast mainly from family members and wrote a pilot, but production was held back a year due to the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand incident. The unbroadcast pilot was created in November 2009, and within three weeks of the pilot being submitted to the BBC, they commissioned a full series. Subsequently RTÉ One came on board to help produce the series in partnership with the BBC. The first series aired on RTÉ One from 1 January to 5 February 2011. In the United Kingdom, the BBC transmitted the first episode on 21 February 2011.
Following the success of the first series, RTÉ and the BBC commissioned a second, which began with a Christmas special broadcast on 25 December 2011 on RTÉ One, and the next day on BBC One. The latter was the most watched television programme in Ireland over the Christmas season. The second series began on New Year’s Eve 2011 in Ireland, and two days later in the United Kingdom.
The BBC commissioned a third series in November 2011 a few weeks before the second series was broadcast. O’Carroll described the commission as “An extraordinary gift and we genuinely don’t take it lightly. We’re overwhelmed with the support of the audience and hopefully when they see what we’ve done with the second series they’ll see that maybe the BBC is not totally mad.” Whilst Cheryl Taylor, Controller, Comedy Commissioning for the BBC has also commented on the commission of a third series, “The new Mrs Brown’s episodes are rip-roaring fun and will delight her ever growing army of fans. I am pleased as punch that we are commissioning series three – go Agnes!” Following two Christmas specials, the third series began on 29 December 2012 on RTÉ One and on 1 January 2013 on BBC One.
The BBC announced that they had commissioned two more Christmas specials for 2015, O’Carroll stated: “I have been commissioned to write another two Christmas specials and the BBC are expecting Christmas specials up until 2020.”
According to Gary Hollywood, who plays Dino, on a radio interview, a Mrs. Brown’s Boys Christmas Special for the year 2013 will be recorded in May 2013, due to a busy schedule of UK touring and the potential of filming the Mrs. Brown film (due for cinematic release in June 2014) from September to November 2013. On 30 January 2013, the BBC announced that two Christmas specials had been commissioned for 2013. In October 2013 The Mrs Brown’s Boys Mother of all boxsets was re-released.
In January 2015, O’Carroll denied rumours that the series is ending, stating, “There is absolutely no truth in the story I am not writing any more Mrs Brown’s Boys. Christmas specials for 2015 and 2016 are planned, and “the BBC are expecting Christmas specials up until 2020. by