The first series of Mrs Brown’s Boys went down incredibly well. Were you nervous about writing the second?
“I was never so frigging scared in my life! But I think we’ve nailed it with the second series – I really do.”
The show has an innovative format, with mistakes and breaks from character being left in the final cut. Do you think the BBC were brave to go along with this idea?
“I do. But I think it’s paid off. People are finding there’s an energy in it. There’s no doubt that when you’re watching this show that we’re having a ball…”
Where did the inspiration for Mrs Brown come from?
“My mother, Maureen, had a very different life. She was a nun before renouncing her vows, leaving the convent and going on to have 11 kids. She got involved with the unions and she became the first Labour woman elected to Irish parliament. She was quite an extraordinary woman. And I was inspired by the women who worked in Dublin’s Moore Street Market. All of the stalls were run by women. They all work hard for a living, and the one thing that they all had in common is they absolutely adored their children. I got to know them all, and every single one of them is Agnes Brown.”
Your sister, wife, daughter and son are now part of the Mrs Brown’s Boys cast. How did that happen?
“When I started doing this, I was the only O’Carroll standing on stage. But gradually, they joined. I asked Maria if she wanted to do it for a couple of months, and she’s been with me eight years now. And Danny swept the stage before he got his first walk-on part as the plumber. I think it was Jenny [Gibney, who stars as Cathy Brown and is Brendan’s real-life wife] who told me to give him a crack at Buster. So I did, and by God he was just brilliant. He was just fantastic. And I know he’s my son, and I’m proud of him anyway, but he just worked so hard on it and really made the role his own.”
Family seems as important to you as it is to Agnes Brown!
“Yes! And I have my four grandkids at my doorstep every morning, and life just doesn’t get any better than that.”
Why do you think the show’s been such a success?
“You’re getting granny, mammy and their daughters and sons sitting down, watching this and laughing together. But I don’t know the secret – I don’t have a recipe. I have no idea what is going on!”