Can you believe it’s been 10 years since this raucous, near-the-knuckle show burst onto our TV screens and well, was almost as good as Brexit for dividing the nation?
Brendan O’Carroll’s smash-hit comedy is back for a completely live one-off special to mark that 10th anniversary, so brace yourselves for plenty of intentional gags and some unplanned laughs.
It’s Halloween in Finglas, and everyone is getting into the spooky spirit of things. Our feisty matriarch Agnes is certain she’s ready for the trick or treaters, but gets more than she bargained for when she receives a surprising visitor from her past.
When no one else can see her ghostly guest, naturally they think she’s gone a little round the twist – not even Doctor Flynn can help.
Luckily, Father Damien is on hand and with a little help from Grandad they get rid of the unwanted guest just in time to head down to Foley’s for a fancy dress party.
O’Carroll is clearly chuffed to be back on the box, saying: “It’s a huge thrill to do another ‘live’ show for the BBC. It’ll be so wonderful to see them nervous all over again.
“We will be trying our best to stick to the script, but honestly a script is just a guideline – bring it on!”
If you’ve ever tuned in to these white-knuckle rides before, then you’ll know how close the cast can come to losing the plot (literally) or corpsing over the slightest thing, with O’Carroll the instigator of ad-libs as much as he is the person trying to keep the whole show from going off the rails.
This one-off and a planned Christmas special are probably something of a relief to the popular Irish star who, like millions, has had a rough 2021.
While grieving for his sister Fiona who died in spring 2020, his sister Maureen died in January this year, followed the next month by sister-in-law Ann.
He’s no stranger to tragedy, either.
As revealed in a poignant episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, his paternal grandfather Peter O’Carroll, a father-of-seven and a prominent republican, was shot dead in October 1920 at his Dublin home, while heartbreakingly, O’Carroll’s first son Brendan died of spina bifida when he was just a few days old.
The star isn’t afraid to show his emotions either, as demonstrated in the powerful documentary My Family at War, which explored the involvement of three of his uncles, Liam, James and Peadar O’Carroll, in the Easter Rising.
That complexity and strong bond with his loved ones have become the ingredients for the comic phenomenon that is Mrs Brown’s Boys, which has included his wife Jennifer, sister Eilish, his son Danny, and his daughter Fiona in the cast.
While loathed by many, it’s also much beloved to millions, and won armfuls of awards, including three consecutive gongs for Best Comedy at the National Television Awards and Best Comedy Entertainment Programme at the 2012 British Academy Scotland Awards.
If this Halloween and forthcoming Christmas live episodes are anything to go by, we can expect lots of cheesy plotting, plenty of side-eye, a smidge of political incorrectness and a big dollop of good old-fashioned fun.
After the year he’s had, it’s somehow fitting that O’Carroll would look for a ray of sunshine and seek to share it with the rest of us.
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