Doctor Who wasn’t the only show to feature a regeneration scene on Christmas Day: in the Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas special, fans finally discovered who would be replacing actor Rory Cowan in the BBC comedy.
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Original Rory actor Cowan announced he was leaving the show in July 2016, but the Christmas Day episode saw new actor Damien McKiernan unveiled in a plastic surgery storyline that explained away the character’s new face – and voice.
A new face has joined the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys!What do you think of the new Rory?
However, it may be a while before viewers embrace the new Rory, with some fans going online after the episode to say how they were unimpressed by the change.
The new Rory in Mrs brown will never compare to the old one???????????? #MrsBrownsBoys
— clo (@ChloeBourtonn) December 26, 2017
They weren’t pleased with the actor-swapping…
I understand that the guy who played Rory wanted to leave the show, but couldn't they just have him and Dino move away somewhere? Swapping him with another actor makes no sense. ???????? #MrsBrownsBoys x
— Siobhan ???????? (@slinehan1) December 25, 2017
Some viewers wondered why Rory had to be replaced at all, when the actor’s departure could have been explained another way.
Not sure how the new Rory gonna go down.Surely could have written the character out for a bit #MrsBrownsBoys
— ⭐️ JAY ⭐️ (@jay_jay_84) December 25, 2017
Fans really missed the old Rory…
— Clare Crowley (@Clare_C_09) December 25, 2017
Meanwhile, in a poll on the RadioTimes.com website, over 70 per cent of people said they were “not keen” on the new Rory.
With 2,630 votes cast at the time of writing, just 765 respondents said they “love him already”.
However, ‘new Rory’ only really made an appearance right at the end of the episode, and many pointed out that it would take time for the new star to “settle into his role”.
— Natalie Booth (@nat_1983) December 26, 2017
Some fans thought it was worth giving him a chance…
— Mel Irving (@melirving1990) December 25, 2017
They thought given time, things would feel back to normal…
Awwww new Rory will take a bit of getting used to but no doubt he’ll be great #MrsBrownsBoys
— Emma ????️???? (@ERBQ1991) December 25, 2017
Creator Brendan O’Carroll admitted that actor Damien McKiernan had “big shoes to fill”, but that he was delighted by his debut after Mrs Brown’s Boys became the second most watched show on Christmas Day behind the Queen’s Christmas broadcast.
“These ratings are pure joy for us. A 32.4 per cent share means that one-third of everyone watching TV last night in the UK were watching Mrs Brown’s Boys. Wow!” he told the Irish Sun.
Former Rory actor Rory Cowan however admitted that he hadn’t watched the Christmas Day special, saying, “I’ve left the show and what happens after is nothing to do with me and doesn’t interest me.”