Brendan O’Carroll was not the first choice to play Mrs Brown

Comedian reveals elderly gentlemen bring flowers to studio to ask Mrs Brown out

Brendan O’Carroll originally planned to play the lead role himself, but the actor initially cast to play the character fell ill.

Brendan O’Carroll originally planned to play the lead role himself, but the actor initially cast to play the character fell ill.

 

Brendan O’Carroll has revealed that he was not the first choice to play Mrs Brown, but the actor initially cast to play the character fell ill.

O’Carroll , who has played the role on both BBC and RTÉ since 2011, explained that the show had its origins on radio when the show Mrs Browns Boys first aired on RTÉ 2FM in 1992.

He said he originally planned to play the lead role himself, and it was only by chance that he found himself playing the Dublin grandmother.

His show, Mrs Brown’s Boys, gets some of BBC’s highest-ratings. In 2017, it pulled in 6.8 million viewers on Christmas day, and over the past four years each special has had an average over 9 million viewers.

In a pre-recorded interview with The Jonathan Ross Show this Saturday night, O’Carroll (63) said: “I started Mrs Brown on the radio. A radio DJ invited me in and used to get fellas in who were currently gigging to read some whacky stuff out of newspapers.

“I went home and wrote the first five episodes and got anybody I knew who could come in and record a voice...Bugsy who plays Grandad. He was my window cleaner.

“He brought me in to do this and he must have seen me roll my eyes and I said, ‘It’s just not funny’… And he said, ‘Do you think you can do better?’ and I said, ‘Let it roll’.

“Afterwards we had a cup coffee and off the top of my head I said ‘I’m writing a comedy soap opera, five minutes, five days a week, it’d be great on radio.’

“He asked me what it was called and on the way in to the studio I was listening to the news and it was Louise Brown’s 18th birthday, who was the first test tube baby, and she’d changed so many lives with that one event and I was thinking about the Browns so I said: Mrs Brown’s Boys.”

Mr O’Carroll said the actress due to play Mrs Brown called in sick so he ended up doing her lines and the rest was history.

“I had an actress booked to play Mrs Brown but she had a kidney infection and couldn’t come in and I’d already paid for the studio so I thought I’d record everything, I’ll do her lines and when she’s well I’ll dub her voice in.”

He said that after seven years on television, some fans still believe Mrs Brown is played by woman.

“Sadly a couple of elderly gentleman come up to the door with flowers and want to ask her out...What the security staff do is say, ‘We’ll make sure she gets the flowers’,” he said.