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Mrs Brown proves a massive hit as 2.6m tune into the BBC

IRISH comedian Brendan O'Carroll has attributed his latest BBC success to the economic climate and people's yearning for better times.

The Dubliner's comedy show Mrs Brown's Boys debuted in the UK with a massive 2.6 million viewers and Brendan (55) believes that it's all down to the recession.

"The funny thing about it is basically that I'm doing what I've been doing for many years, but I think it's just a question of timing," the funnyman said.

"We're in a recession, people are scared, people are a bit down, so they need a laugh first of all, and traditionally -- no matter who you are -- comedy always does well in a recession -- but in this particular case, people also get nostalgic.

"If you look at the adverts on TV, you'll see all the old adverts -- even fairy liquid -- are doing theirs in black and white.

"Everyone wants to look back in a recession [at the times] when the summers were longer, the Christmases were brighter and family life was better, so I think it's a very old-fashioned sitcom.

"The timing just happened to be right for us and people are loving it, thank God," he said, adding that the popularity of his show in the UK had been "overwhelming and humbling".

Mrs Agnes Brown is a controlling Irish mother, played by O'Carroll in drag, who has six grown children and an invalid husband.

The sitcom was a tremendous success for RTE last month with 828,000 viewers tuning in on the highest-rated episode.

However, some television commentators have criticised the colourful language used throughout each 20-minute show.

In the first episode, which aired last week in the UK, the words feck and f**k were used 34 times, but its Finglas creator said the level of profanity should not be taken seriously.

"In Finglas, saying the F-word would not be regarded as smut," he said.

"She does use the F-word but nobody else does because she wouldn't countenance bad language in the house.

"She doesn't realise she's saying it and she uses it in a -- I don't like to say an Irish context because that covers the entire country but there certainly is an Irishism -- [she uses it] as an exclamation, as punctuation," he told Newstalk radio.


The TV series is proving so popular that the BBC has expressed interest in commissioning a second season.

"The BBC has talked about the possibility of a second series, so I'm certainly looking at writing that. I'm working my bum off," Brendan said.

"I've just been asked to do a sitcom for Caroline Aherne [the writer of The Royle Family] which I've done the pilot of, we've got five more episodes to do in June and July. In the meantime I will just keep my head down and work.

"We're also constantly on tour, we're doing the Olympia the last week of April and the first two weeks of May," he added.