Mrs. Brown's Boys

Mrs. Brown's Boys
Genre Comedy
Created by Brendan O'Carroll
Written by Brendan O'Carroll
Directed by Ben Kellett
Starring Brendan O'Carroll
Jennifer Gibney
Paddy Houlihan
Fiona O'Carroll
Danny O'Carroll
Eilish O'Carroll
Pat Shields
Amanda Woods
Rory Cowan
Gary Hollywood
Dermot O'Neill
Fiona Gibney
Susie Blake (Series 2–)
Theme music composer Andy O'Callaghan
Country of origin Ireland
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3 (+10 Specials)
No. of episodes 28 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) BBC Stephen McCrum, Mark Freeland, James Farrell, Ewan Angus; RTÉ Justin Healy, BOC-PIX Martin Delaney, Conor Gibney, Fiona Gibney, Mark Sheridan, Gareth Woods, Marian Sheridan, Simon Carty
Location(s) BBC Pacific Quay
Editor(s) Mark Lawrence
Running time 30 minutes
35 minutes (2013 Christmas Special, 2014–15 Specials)
40 minutes (2013 New Year Special, 2015–16 Specials)
Production company(s) BBC Scotland
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution (North America)
Original network RTÉ One
Picture format 16:9
576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release 1 January 2011 (2011-01-01) – Present
External links
Mrs. Brown's Boys at the BBC

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.[1]


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.[2][3] 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.[4] 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[5][6][7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10][11] 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."[12] 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!"[13] Following two Christmas specials, the third series began on 29 December 2012 on RTÉ One[14] and on 1 January 2013 on BBC One.[15]

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."[16][17]

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.[18] On 30 January 2013, the BBC announced that two Christmas specials had been commissioned for 2013.[19] 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."[20]


Mrs. Brown's Boys is recorded at the BBC Pacific Quay studios in Glasgow, Scotland[21] and is recorded in front of a live audience, which is seen at the beginning and the end of each show. While a fictional storyline is the basis of each episode, the programme uses a laissez-faire style in which areas beyond the set, including equipment and crew, are sometimes seen and aspects of the show's production are lampooned within the fictional dialogue. The show takes a more irregular concept as bloopers such as characters getting lines wrong, corpsing and set, camera and prop faults are not edited out of the episodes.

At the beginning of each episode Agnes Brown breaks the fourth wall, with an introductory monologue. Each episode ends with Agnes again breaking the fourth wall to say goodbye. As the credits roll, the camera pulls out to see the audience and the cast of the entire episode lining up to take a bow. The finale of every series so far has ended with a music performance by the cast. "Who's a Pretty Mammy" ended with a performance of Auld Lang Syne, complete with bagpipes.



The series is also broadcast in the United States on BBC America, in Canada[22] on BBC Canada (also adapted for Super Écran in French version in Québec province with the title Mme Lebrun), in Australia[22] on Seven Network and in New Zealand on TV One and TVNZ.[22][23] Broadcast on the Seven Network in Australia, the series has secured nearly one million viewers.[24]


Critical reception

Although the show has had high viewership, it has received poor reviews from critics and has been dubbed the "worst comedy ever made".[25][26]

"The whole thing is entirely predicated on viewers finding a man dressed as a foul-mouthed elderly woman intrinsically funny", noted Bernice Harrison, TV reviewer with The Irish Times. "If you do, you're away in a hack, and the viewing figures are astronomical, but if you don't, and you think that died out with Les Dawson and Dick Emery, then it's a long half-hour."[27] The Irish Independent said that Mrs Brown's Boys was the type of TV programme "that makes you vaguely embarrassed to be Irish".[28] Noted Irish writer Graham Linehan has said he did not want his sitcom The Walshes to be compared with Mrs. Brown's Boys.[29]

Outside Ireland, it has received similarly poor reviews. The The Daily Telegraph's Sam Richards noted that show's comedy has a "rudimentary nature", consisting of "an old-fashioned blend of silly voices and slapstick, played out in front of a live studio audience who collapse into giggles at the mere mention of the word “willy”.[30] Bruce Dessau in The Guardian described it as a "predictable, vulgar vehicle for Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll", and in comparing it with other sitcoms said "No amount of 'fecks' are going to make Mrs Brown's Boys a classic like Father Ted".[31] Grace Dent of The Independent remarked: "Once seen, it is rarely forgotten. To love Mrs Brown, one must be thrilled by a man in a hairnet and dinner lady tabard saying the F-word roughly once every ten minutes, egged on by a loyal studio audience so whipped to hysteria by him that one can hear pants being soiled and spleens exploding with mirth."[32] Paul English of the Daily Record blasted the show as "lazy, end-of-pier trash rooted in the 1970s... One half-hour of this actually made me angry. Angry that the BBC seem to be abandoning quality in the pursuit of lowest common denominator ratings."[33] The Metro called it "jaw-droppingly past its sell-by date" and "not even remotely funny", saying that the BBC should "hang its head in shame" for showing "this RTÉ drivel".[34]

Television ratings


Mrs. Brown's Boys was a ratings success upon its initial broadcast in Ireland. Every episode aired won its timeslot for RTÉ, with an average viewership of 753,500 in January 2011. One episode's rating beat that of RTÉ's own ratings giant The Late Late Show, with 856,000 viewers tuning in to watch.[35] The 2011 Christmas episode was the most-watched TV show in Ireland over the holiday season, with a 48.6% audience share.[9] A year later the show again topped the Christmas ratings with "The Virgin Mammy" gaining an average of 972,000 viewers and a 47% share, and "Mammy Christmas" gaining an average of 851,000 viewers and a 51% share.[36]

United Kingdom

Its opening in the UK won 16.4% of the ratings in its Monday night slot and was received well by viewers.[37] Despite the critical reviews, 2.9 million viewers had tuned in by the third episode.[38][39][40]


In 2011, Mrs. Brown's Boys was nominated for an award at the British Academy Television Awards.[47] In February 2012, it won an IFTA for Best Entertainment Programme. At the 2012 BAFTA Television Awards, Mrs. Brown's Boys won the award for Best Situation Comedy, and Brendan O'Carroll was nominated for the BAFTA for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme but lost to Darren Boyd for his role in the Sky1 comedy series, Spy.[48] In September 2012, the show won best comedy at the TV Choice Awards.[49] At the 2012 British Academy Scotland Awards, Mrs Brown's Boys won the award for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme.[50] For three consecutive years, in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Mrs. Brown's Boys won the award for Best Comedy at the National Television Awards.[51][52] In Spring 2014 the series was nominated for Best Comedy at the Scottish RTS awards[53][54] but lost out to Limmy's Show Christmas Special. In 2015, Mrs Brownes Boys was nomiated for the BAFTA, best male performance in a comedy performance. [55]


Series Episodes Originally aired Ave. UK viewers
First aired Last aired
Series 1 6 21 February 2011 28 March 2011 3.00
Special (2011) 1 26 December 2011 8.24
Series 2 6 2 January 2012 4 February 2012 6.98
Specials (2012) 2 24 December 2012 26 December 2012 11.20
Series 3 6 1 January 2013 4 February 2013 9.41
Specials (2013) 2 25 December 2013 30 December 2013 11.40
Specials (2014–15) 2 25 December 2014 1 January 2015 9.76
Specials (2015–16) 2 25 December 2015 1 January 2016 9.00
Live Special (2016) 1 23 July 2016 12.07
Specials (2016–17) 2 25 December 2016 1 January 2017 TBA


DVD and Blu-ray releases

More than one million copies of the first series of Mrs. Brown's Boys were sold on DVD in Ireland and the UK between October 2011 and February 2012. A complete series 1 and 2 box set was also released on 8 October 2012, containing the 2011 Christmas special as a content exclusive, meaning to own the special, one has to buy the box set.[56]

Some of the episodes on the Series 1 DVD differ from their original broadcasts. Due to copyright issues, scenes where casts perform songs were edited out. These edits included a scene where Mrs Brown sings Happy Birthday, the entire cast singing The Proclaimers song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" in episode 3, and a scene in episode 6 where Buster sings the theme tune to Mission: Impossible[57] No changes have been made to the Series 2 episodes on their DVD release.[58] A joke was made about being sued for singing a copyrighted song featured during the stage show Mrs Brown's Boys Live: Good Mourning Mrs Brown.[59]

On 11 October 2012, Series 2 was released in Region 4[60] in both standard form and a limited edition. The limited edition version contained the Christmas special. The Complete Collection was also released at the same time, containing all 13 episodes as well.

A US DVD release of the complete series (which will also contain the first 7 Christmas specials and the unaired pilot) was released on November 3, 2015.[61]

In North America, NBCUniversal Television Distribution handles distribution of the series.

Title # of disc(s) Year # of episodes DVD release Blu-ray release
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Region B UK Region B AU
Series One 2 2011 6 TBA 3 October 2011[62] 1 August 2012[63] 3 October 2011[64] 1 August 2012[65]
Series Two 2 2012 6 TBA 8 October 2012[66] 11 October 2012[67] 8 October 2012[68] 11 October 2012[69][70]
Good Mourning Mrs Brown: Live Tour 1 2012 Live show TBA 12 November 2012[71] 7 April 2016[72] 12 November 2012[73] 7 April 2016[74]
Series 1, 2 & Christmas Special 5 2012 13 TBA 8 October 2012[75] 11 October 2012[76] 8 October 2012[77] TBA
Series Three 2 2012/13 6 TBA 4 March 2013[78] 6 June 2013[79] 4 March 2013[80] 6 June 2013[81]
Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Crackers 1 2011/2012 3 TBA 7 October 2013[82] 7 November 2013[83] 7 October 2013[84] 7 November 2013[85]
Mrs Brown's Boys Big Box
Series 1–3 & 3 Christmas Specials
7 2011–13 21 TBA 7 October 2013[86] 7 November 2013[87] 7 October 2013[88] TBA
Mrs Brown Rides Again: Live Tour 1 2012 Live show TBA 11 November 2013[89] 1 May 2014 11 November 2013[90] 1 May 2014
For The Love Of Mrs Brown: Live Tour 1 2013 Live show TBA 17 November 2014[91] TBA 17 November 2014[92] TBA
Mrs Brown's Boys: More Christmas Crackers 1 2013 2 TBA 6 October 2014[93] 4 December 2014[94] 6 October 2014[95] 4 December 2014[96]
Mrs Brown's Boys: Big Box of Crackers 2 2011–2013 5 TBA 20 October 2014[97] TBA 20 October 2014[98] TBA
Mrs Brown's Boys Live: Nice Big Box 3 2012–2014 3 Live Shows TBA 17 November 2014[99] TBA 17 November 2014[100] TBA
Mrs Brown's Boys
Complete Series
8 2011–14 25 3 November 2015[101] TBA TBA TBA TBA

iTunes releases

The first series of Mrs. Brown's Boys has been available on iTunes since 31 October 2011, available in High Definition.[102] The two 2012 specials were released 11 November 2013.[103] Additionally the Mrs. Brown's Boys Live Tour: Good Mourning Mrs Brown was also released 12 November 2012. Also, Mrs Brown's Boys Live Tour: Mrs Brown Rides Again was released on 11 November 2013.[104] On 17 November 2014, Mrs. Brown's Boys Live Tour: For The Love of Mrs Brown was available to rent or buy.

Original series DVD releases

The original location films, starring the same cast except Amanda Woods.

Title Set details DVD release dates
Region 2[105]
Mrs Brown's Boys Discs: 1 10 April 2006
Mrs Brown's Boys 2 – The Last Wedding Part 2 Discs: 1 11 May 2006
Mrs Brown's Boys – Believe It or Not – Part 3 Discs: 1 4 September 2006
Mrs Brown's Boys – Good Mourning Mrs Brown – Part 4 Discs: 1 16 October 2006
Mrs Brown's Boys – 1 2 3 4 Discs: 4 23 October 2006
Mrs Brown's Boys – Triple Trouble! – Part 5 Discs: 1
Mrs Brown's Boys – How Now Mrs. Brown – Part 6 Discs: 1
Mrs Brown's Boys – The Seven Year Itch – Part 7 Discs: 1
Mrs Brown's Boys – Mrs Brown's Bloomers Discs: 1 18 October 2010
Mrs. Brown's Boys – The Original Series Discs: 7 19 November 2010



A film adaption of the series entitled Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie was released in cinemas on 27 June 2014.[1] BBC Films is acting as its sales agent. In January 2014, whilst speaking to the Radio Times, Brendan O'Carroll said "We're already working on a sequel – Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie 2". In December 2015 it was confirmed that there will be a sequel.[106]

In June 2014, it was announced that there would be two Mrs. Brown's Boys spin-off films. The first spin-off film is to be entitled Wash and Blow, set in the salon where Rory and Dino work. O'Carroll will write the film but rather than playing Mrs. Brown, he will star as the salon's owner, Mario.[107][108] The second spin-off film in development is to be entitled Mr Wang, who is a character introduced in D'Movie. It was confirmed that English actor Burt Kwouk had been asked to take the title role but was unable to travel to Dublin, so O'Carroll will take on the role himself if the film gets produced. It will also co-star Buster Brady and Dermot Brown working for him under a detective agency. It is currently not yet known when, or if, the spin-off films will be filmed nor released.[108]


Mrs. Brown's Boys began as a theatre show in 1999 performing across venues in Ireland, Scotland and the North of England. O'Carroll wrote three stage plays entitled Mrs Brown's Last Wedding, Good Mourning Mrs Brown and Mrs Brown Rides Again. These three stage shows formed part of the Mrs Brown Trilogy and was toured for several years. After playing to acceptable sized audiences across Ireland and the north of England, O'Carroll decided to write a fourth stage play entitled For the Love of Mrs. Brown in 2007 he then recorded the live show and made it available onto DVD via his own website in a bid to increase the popularity of the stage show. In 2009, O'Carroll then decided to write a fifth stage play entitled How Now Mrs Brown Cow which later toured in 2010.

When the show was picked up by the BBC in 2011 as a TV series, O'Carroll has decided to re-tour all these shows across the UK. In March and April 2014, the live stage show Mrs. Brown Rides Again was performed in theatres across Australia.[109] Brendan O'Carroll announced at the end of each performance of Mrs Brown Rides Again that the cast would be returning to Australia and New Zealand in January 2016 for various performances of the live stage show Good Mourning Mrs. Brown. On 30 June 2014, it was announced that How Now Mrs Brown Cow would tour UK arenas starting in March 2015. Tickets for the shows went on sale on 4 July 2014.[110]


In 2012, O'Carroll confirmed that a game show starring Mrs Brown was in development with production company 12 Yard called Mrs. Brown's Celebrities. A non-broadcast pilot was recorded in late 2012,[111] A full series was due to be broadcast in 2013 but O'Carroll turned it down, stating that he did not need to water down the Mrs. Brown brand.[112][113] The format was brought up again in 2014, this time entitled The Guess List with Rob Brydon now hosting the full series.[114] O'Carroll has also confirmed that an animated version of the show is in development.[115][116] In the Spring of 2012, O'Carroll turned down an offer to create a one-off special for HBO with the option of a full series if the show was well received as he wished to spend his time with family.[117][118]


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