Brendan O’Carroll, the creator of long-running Dublin sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys, has confirmed he has signed a deal with the BBC that guarantees Christmas specials until 2026.
O’Carroll told The Irish Sun that the deal had a clause in it which guaranteed the specials would go out at 10.00pm on Christmas Day, otherwise he didn’t have to make them.
He said: “We’ve been doing it in for nine years already — which is six more than The Royle Family had and more than Morecambe and Wise. This new deal we signed last week goes all the way to 2026, which means I will be able to grow into the part, and we’ve a clause in which guarantees Mrs Brown is aired at 10pm on Christmas night, or else we don’t have to make it.”
He added: “I wanted that because if it’s not good enough for Christmas Day, then we shouldn’t be making it.”
Mrs Brown’s Boys is an award-winning programme that divides opinion like few others. It has a substantial and loyal fanbase – at its peak in 2012 the Christmas specials were watched by 11 million viewers, although last year just under five million tuned in, which, in audience share terms, was still significant.
The broad comedy of the sitcom set in the Dublin neighbourhood of Finglas has its detractors.
One viewer posted on Twitter: “As someone who did stand up, comedy is subjective and usually has its audience. The viewing figures for Mrs. Brown’s Boys tend to be some of the biggest. We just gotta like it and lump it.”
The 2020 Christmas specials were filmed at BBC Scotland in October with the cast having rehearsals on Zoom and daily COVID tests before filming the two episodes.
O’Carroll said: “When we arrive in Pacific Quay, the HQ of BBC Scotland, we light up the whole place. They let us take the place over. We just get on with everybody. Not just our crew but the people working in the offices. It goes back to when we made the very first Mrs Brown series, we connected with everyone at BBC Scotland.”
The Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas specials screen on BBC One on Christmas Day at 10.00pm and New Year’s Day at 10.00pm.