Necessity the mammy of invention as O'Carroll's Mrs Brown is up for Bafta


COMEDIAN BRENDAN O’Carroll has always been surprised by Mrs Brown’s international success but even he was “gobsmacked” that its first series in the UK has been nominated for a prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) television award.

Mrs Brown’s Boyswas immediately installed as favourite to win in the best sitcom category following the success of the series, which attracted huge audiences in the UK, despite its archetypal Dublin mammy shtick.

It beat off competition from the likes of the Inbetweenersand Miranda Hart’s star vehicle entitled Miranda, neither of which were nominated.

Mrs Brown’s Boysis a joint collaboration between the BBC and RTÉ and is performed in front of a live audience in Glasgow.

The last episode screened in Ireland eclipsed the Late Late Showin viewership figures; the same episode on BBC 1 attracted 3.1 million viewers.

O’Carroll’s potty-mouthed, interfering matriarch has been a phenomenon since it was it was first aired as a radio sketch in 1992.

The more it has been critically pasted, the more audiences have warmed to it. “Nauseating”, “lazy and self-indulgent”, “it’s just not funny” and “makes you vaguely embarrassed to be Irish” were some of the more trenchant comments made by Irish TV critics. UK reviewers were a little kinder, although it was described in British media as “unutterably bad” and “offensive in every way”.

OCarroll has long made a virtue of bad reviews. Good Mourning Mrs Brown, currently running at the Olympia, has sold 20,000 tickets and its run has been extended into a third week.

“I don’t know one reviewer yet who has stopped people going to a show, or has made a show successful.

“It is down to the audience,” he said.

“Irish and UK audiences seem to vote with their arse and not with by what they read.”

Nevertheless, the comedian professes himself astonished as his Bafta nomination as the first episode of the series was only broadcast on February 28th, the same night that nominations for the awards finished.

Even without a nomination, the BBC has already commissioned a second series on the back of the success of the first and O’Carroll has been given a Christmas special, a sure sign that you have arrived in the cut-throat world of British television comedy.

The Bafta jury is composed of those in the television industry.

Robert Sheehan who stars in the Misfits, presenter Graham Norton and actor Brendan Coyle are also among the Irish nominees for this year’s Bafta television awards, which will be hosted on May 22nd.