Brendan O’Carroll used the new Mrs Brown’s Boys series as an opportunity to’say farewell’ to late, renowned artists.
When it returns to BBC next month, the actor has announced that the forthcoming four-parter will salute the likes of Barry Humphries, famed for his stage persona Dame Edna Everage, and Paul O’Grady.
In the season, O’Carroll, 67, will resume his role as the mischievous matriarch Agnes Brown, with Jennifer Gibney as Cathy Brown, Paddy Houlihan as Dermot Brown, Eilish O’Carroll as Winnie McGoogan, Dermot O’Neill as Grandad, and Pat Shields as Mark Brown.
Despite being a Christmas staple for almost a decade, the new episodes will be the first mini-series aired since 2013.
O’Carroll, who developed, scripted and stars in the sitcom, claimed it will pay tribute to legendary comedians Humphries and O’Grady.
He said: ‘I always try and put a little message, if I can, into every one of them (episodes).
‘In this whole series… I wanted to say goodbye to Dame Edna and to Paul. So it was hard to find that spot but I did find it, within the series, I did find it.
‘I don’t tell the BBC these things, I just do them.’
Humphries, an Australian performer who died in April at the age of 89, captivated generations with satirical personas such as Dame Edna and Sir Les Patterson throughout a seven-decade career.
O’Grady, who died in March at the age of 67, came to stardom as Lily Savage before hosting a number of TV shows.
O’Carroll characterised the next Mrs Brown’s Boys series as ‘easier’ to write than the usual two Christmas episodes because he felt’more free’ to explore other topics, such as his character Agnes being melancholy in the first episode, Miserable Mammy.
‘The reason that I wrote this one is that I’d never done Agnes as depressed, and everybody gets depressed at some time,’ he said.
‘But I thought it’d be nice to see what she’s like, or what the family’s like when she’s depressed, and also to have the family ignore the fact that she was depressed.
‘In other words, “Ah come on Mammy, get a grip on yourself”, and so there was that end of it.
‘There was also to make sure that I got the message across that Agnes is depressed, but she sought help, she did contact the doctor. That’s what you’ve got to do when you’re depressed.’
He went on to say that it’s critical to show how ‘tough’ depression is since it’s not something you can ‘manage on your own.’
Of course, the writer still sought to make it hilarious.
He also described filming in a TV studio with a live audience without the use of Covid social distancing tactics as a “rebirth.”
O’Carroll, who ‘loves a live audience,’ confessed it seems like a ‘compliment’ that there were 96,000 requests for tickets, despite just 1,600 being available through the BBC.
‘It’s just incredible that people want the experience of just being at a Mrs Brown (recording) and it is an experience because we don’t stop, even when we’re not on camera, we don’t stop.’
Despite years of denials, the cast of the new series includes several members of O’Carroll’s own family, and the character may be modelled on his own ‘exceptional’ mother.
He never wanted to admit it, but as time passes, he realises that ‘Agnes is [his] mother.’
‘My mum had a great education. Agnes didn’t, but she has the wisdom. And she has that turn of phrase – mum would have a turn of phrase for everything, but Agnes has that turn of phrase that she doesn’t always get right – ‘Well, that’s the way it goes, the cows come home to roost’. But you know what she means, and she knows what she means.
‘I think the freedom of being Agnes comes from, I learned a lot from my mum.’
O’Carroll is the youngest of 11 children, and his mother was 46 years old when she gave birth to him.
As a result, by the time he reached his ‘formative years,’ the majority of his family had moved away or married, leaving him with the ‘uninterrupted attention of this genius of a lady.’
‘I soaked everything up from her.’
Mrs Brown’s Boys returns to BBC One at 9.30pm on Friday, September 8.
Source My Celebrity Life.