“The BBC have decided to give me my own Saturday night show – will they ever feckin’ learn?” asks Agnes ‘Brendan O’Carroll’ Brown as she takes her familiar seat at the kitchen table in the first episode of All Round to Mrs Brown’s.
The mammy returned to our TV screens for an evening of “craic” this weekend. “Irish craic”, she assures us, “not the stuff you put up your nose”.
O’Carroll and his clan know a LOT about noses: they’ve had a fair share of them turned up at their little comedy venture over the past decade. All the naysayers on the planet couldn’t stop the Brown express if they tried, though. It’s full steam ahead with Christmas specials booked in until 2020 and this new Saturday night series keeping Agnes and family on our screens for the next six weeks.
All Round To Mrs Brown’s takes us back to the homestead, where Jennifer Gibney’s Cathy is hosting her own chat show in the living room and Chef Aly (a new addition to the ever-expanding family) is serving up their favourite foods in the kitchen, while getting jiggy with mammy to the tune of Shaggy’s dulcet tones.
Whether viewers will think Mr Boombastic is really ‘telly fantastic’ remains to be seen, but it certainly is one of the more memorable sights you’ll see on the small screen.
New segments (which also include a Mammy of The Week award for an unsuspecting member of the audience and a suitably innuendo-laden challenge involving Mrs Brown’s ‘box’) are peppered throughout the 60-minute creation, which is most definitely at its strongest when it sticks to the tried and tested rude and crude Mrs Brown script.
The Cathy Brown Show sees celebrity guests Pamela Anderson, Judy Murray and Judy’s mum, Shirley, have a sit down on Cathy’s sofa, where their hostess and her mammy take it in turns to ask the questions. Cathy’s are light and fluffy, while Agnes goes in for the kill, offering up observations far cattier than our Graham Norton’s.
“Oh Judy, you’re so full of s**t”, she tells Murray with a smile, before confessing to musical guest James Blunt (who’s got exactly the devil may care attitude this show’s guests need) that she can’t understand why everyone thinks he’s “a w***er”.
You don’t think you should laugh. You don’t want to let it make you laugh. But you end up having a guilty chuckle anyway.
Luckily enough for Agnes, most of her guests seem to get her sense of humour – although, while Anderson does her best to play along, she seems more than a little bewildered by the beguiling Dublin housewife and her clan, who all have their part to play.
The chat show only really falters when mammy is out of the picture. Dermot (Paddy Houlihan) and Buster (Danny O’Carroll) head off for a bizarre adventure with X Factor host Louis Walsh, but without Agnes in tow it falls flat and the jokes feel a tad too juvenile. Trevor (Martin Delaney) and Father Damien’s (Conor Moloney) thoughtful skit, meanwhile, skirts dangerously close to Father Ted parody territory.
O’Carroll may be eager to share the spotlight with his friends and family, but the show is Mrs Brown’s vehicle and it suffers when his titular Agnes isn’t in the driving seat.
All round, though (pun most definitely intended) it’s a harmless hour of fun and frolics that will most certainly appeal to Mrs Brown’s well-established and adoring audience. Where else could you see Judy Murray’s mother necking whiskey and gyrating to reggae on the kitchen tiles?
We’re not sure we want to think about what will happen to said whiskey when Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby’s episode airs next week.
And when you’ve watched James Blunt take mammy passionately in his arms for a seriously elongated snog, you may well wonder which variety of ‘craic’ you’ve actually been served.
All Round to Mrs Brown’s continues on BBC1 on Saturday nights