Ex-Mrs Brown’s Boy Rory Cowan replaces Al Porter in panto

Comedian stepped aside from Olympia pantomime after claims

Rory Cowan pictured at the Olympia

Rory Cowan pictured at the Olympia

 

Irish actor Rory Cowan is to replace comedian Al Porter in the Olympia Christmas Panto.

Cowan played Rory Brown in Brendan O’Carroll’s Mrs Brown’s Boys television show until July this year.

On Monday the producers of the pantomime confirmed Porter was stepping aside from his lead role, following claims of inappropriate behaviour made on social media and in some newspapers.

A statement from the public-relations firm Pat Egan Management and the show’s producer Stuart O’Connor, of Spotlight Productions, confirmed “due to recent developments, Al Porter is standing aside from his role in this year’s Pantomime ‘Polly and the Beanstalk’ at the Olympia Theatre. ”

Porter was to star in the production, and cowrote this year’s pantomime show alongside comedian Karl Spain. Porter has performed in the Olympia Christmas pantomime for more than a decade.

On Tuesday Rory Cowan was announced as the replacement lead following Porter’s departure.

In a short statement he said: “I am very happy to be joining the cast of the Olympia Theatre panto. I am a huge panto fan and treading the hallowed boards of the Olympia is a privilege for me”.

The show is scheduled to open on Friday December 15th, and to run until Sunday January 14th.

Other performers involved in the production include Dustin the Turkey, Ryan Andrews of Fair City, and Michaela O’Neill of the RTÉ television show Scorchio.

Resigned

On Sunday Al Porter resigned from Today FM, where he had presented a lunchtime show since February this year, after allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Porter was also a presenter on RTÉ Radio 2FM from 2015 until January 2017. A spokeswoman for RTÉ said “no complaints were raised during Mr Porter’s time in RTÉ”.

“However RTÉ encourages any member of staff who may have concerns or feel affected in any way by the issues raised, to contact their local human resources team in confidence” she said.

In a statement announcing his resignation Porter said “I have been completely taken aback by reports in the media and on the social networks over the weekend, and by the scale and tone of the vitriol.”

“While my conduct, which had been in keeping with my flamboyant and outrageous public persona may be regarded as offensive and unacceptable by many people, I at no time intended to upset anyone.”

“Up until now I had been unaware of these complaints or the impact of my conduct, and I am truly sorry for any distress I may have caused in what I had regarded as light-hearted and good-natured circumstances.”

“Although, on legal advice, I cannot comment on specific allegations at the present time, I nonetheless sincerely apologise to anyone I may have genuinely offended.”