Mrs Brown’s Boys has become a smash hit since it was first broadcast in 2011. The foul-mouthed Irish Mammy has captured the hearts of viewers with her matriarchal manner, and interference in her family’s affairs.
What is unknown to many fans of the show, is that many of Mrs Brown’s sons, daughters and other family members are actually part of writer Brendan O’Carroll’s real family.
The Dublin-born star admits he gave many of the roles of the show’s supporting characters to his own family because he is a “firm believer in nepotism”.
So who is played by who in the show?
Well, O’Carroll plays Mrs Brown and his wife Jennifer Gibney plays Mrs Brown’s daughter Cathy.
O’Carroll’s son Danny and daughter Fiona play Mrs Brown’s son and daughter-in-law Buster and Maria.
Next door neighbour Winnie is played by O’Carroll’s sister Eilish, and Mrs Brown’s daughter-in-law Betty is played by the writer’s own daughter-in-law Amanda Woods.
Confused? Well we’re nearly done.
Real-life grandson Jamie plays on-screen grandson Bono. Mrs Brown’s youngest son Trevor is actually O’Carroll’s son-in-law Martin and the writer’s sister-in-law Fiona plays next-door neighbour Winnie’s daughter.
The favours even spread beyond O’Carroll family members. Paddy Houlihan landed the role of Mrs Brown’s third son Dermot, on the back of being the best friend of O’Carroll’s son Danny.
You can be forgiven if your head is now spinning. O’Carroll certainly likes to keep his production in-house.
No doubt the familiarity between so many of the cast members has contributed to the on-screen chemistry and atmosphere that are such a big part of the show’s success.
O’Carroll spoke to Irish chat-show host Graham Norton about handing out the roles to his family. When asked about his family members that didn’t appear in the show the comic simply replied: “F*** ‘em!”
He also spoke about his late mother, who was a member of the Irish parliament. O’Carroll explained how she fought for equal rights for women in Ireland, and was “a fascinating woman”. He revealed that she set up homes for women who had been victims of domestic abuse in Ireland, and that he and his brothers and sisters would volunteer.
The audience began to break into a round of applause when O’Carroll cut them short in his own blunt style telling them “No, give her a round of applause, not me! No, she’s dead! Don’t waste it!”
The star also exchanged banter with host Norton, and music star Cheryl Cole, Liverpool comedian John Bishop and American star Don Johnson who struggled to understand his accent.