Irish News

Friday 22 August 2014

Mrs Brown moves to the big screen

Published 25/06/2014 | 05:02

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Brendan O'Carroll and Jennifer Gibney attending the world premiere of Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie at the Savoy Cinema in O'Connell Street, Dublin.

TV's favourite foul-mouthed mammy hit the big screen tonight at the world premiere of Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie.

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The film stars Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown, an Irish matriarch who has proved a hit with audiences around the world.

With its bawdy humour and knowing winks to camera, the programme has attracted viewers from Iceland to Australia since it made its TV debut in 2011.

The premiere took place in Dublin and m any fans waited in the pouring rain for several hours to catch a glimpse of the stars outside the Savoy Cinema.

The film takes the action beyond the front porch of fruit and veg trader Mrs Brown, as she fights to save her market stall from a ruthless developer.

Speaking on the rain soaked pink carpet - coloured to match Agnes' favourite cardigan - O'Carroll described the film as "a slice of Mrs Brown's life with something big happening" and revealed he would not have had the premiere anywhere else.

"If it was a snow storm here I wouldn't care," he said.

"It just means an awful lot to me. It's my home town, it's a movie about my home town. I'm very proud of being a Dubliner, I'm very proud of Dublin.

"We've had a rough time of it of late and it gives me an opportunity to give a little bit back because I owe Dublin a lot."

Mrs Brown's Boys is one of television's most successful sitcoms. Last year's festive special racked up 9.4 million viewers for BBC One, beating Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife to the Christmas Day top spot.

It started life as a short sketch O'Carroll penned for Irish radio station RTE 2FM, and the 58-year-old Bafta-winning writer admitted he did not know why it was so popular.

"If I knew the answer to that I swear to God I'd be writing it every day," he joked.

"I think it's timing. We're in a recession at the moment. In a recession people get nervous and afraid. There's something safe about Mrs Brown.

"She hankers back to the seventies and eighties when Christmases were more colourful and so much longer.

"There's just a nice feelgood feeling to it and I think you feel safe with her."

Despite its popularity, the show does have its critics who say it lacks sophistication and comic subtlety.

But O'Carroll had a defiant message for the naysayers: " Thank you so much for writing about Mrs Brown. It means an awful lot to get the name out there.

"Keep writing about it, I don't care what you say."

Among the stars of the show in the Irish capital tonight was Paddy Houlihan, who plays one of Mrs Brown's sons.

He said the show transferred well to the big screen.

"The great thing about this is we're outside. Mrs Brown outdoors is just unusual anyway.

"Brendan can have a lot more fun writing it because he's not restricted by the four walls - not that he ever was - in a studio," he explained.

"He basically had Dublin to play with and I think he played with it to his heart's content."

Jennifer Gibney, O'Carroll's second wife, stars as Mrs Brown's daughter Cathy and suggested the show's appeal was down to the "warmth" of the characters.

"They are a family that people would like to be part of and I think everybody wants Mrs Brown to be their mammy," she said.

Rory Cowan, who plays Agnes' gay son Rory, revealed he fears cinemas could empty when people watch a scene in which he goes for a dip wearing a mankini swimsuit.

"People are going to laugh or they'll run out," he smiled.

"It's going to clear the cinema, so maybe the cinema should put sick bags under the seats like they do in aeroplanes."

Cowan, who wore a pink smoking jacket for the premiere, said the event was always going to be held in Ireland.

"For the last few years we've been away from Dublin quite a lot.

"We've been touring the UK, touring Australia, we've been to Canada.

"This is where it started for us, so it wasn't going to be anywhere else."

A number of O'Carroll's relatives appear in the show, including his daughter, Fiona O'Carroll, who plays one of Mrs Brown's daughters-in-law.

She claimed she never doubted her father would have a successful career.

"I knew. From a very early age - he'll tell you himself - the only thing I ever wanted to do in life was show the world how good he is and how much of a genius he is.

"Because I believe he is a comic genius," she said.

She added: " It's been an absolute rollercoaster for my dad over the years.

"I'm just really happy that all the hard work he's put in over that time has paid off and people are getting to see what it is he can do and how funny he is."

Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie will be released in the UK on Friday.

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