Belfast Telegraph

By Appointment to Her Majesty: Queen Elizabeth requests Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas preview

By Nick Bramhill

It's the award-winning sitcom which remains a safe bet to top the TV ratings once again over the festive season.

But Brendan O'Carroll, the creator of Mrs Brown's Boys, admits he was lost for words when he first learned the identity of one of his show's biggest fans - namely, the Queen of England.

The Dublin-born funnyman, who plays Mrs Brown in the smash-hit RTE/BBC comedy, has claimed the British royal family are such avid followers of the show that copies of this year's two Christmas specials are being delivered in advance to Buckingham Palace.

The 64-year-old admitted that he normally has a rule of not releasing previews of the show, but made an exception for the British monarch.

"One of the few to get a preview copy is Buckingham Palace," he said.

"I was speechless a couple of years ago when our producer first told me that they wanted an advance copy."

The Finglas-born comic also promised viewers they would not be left disappointed with this year's seasonal episodes, starting with the Christmas Day special which pays homage to classic 1946 film It's A Wonderful Life.

"The magic ingredient is the audience," he said. "They let us know if anything isn't funny.

"The deal with them is - this is your night out, so come in, sit down and we'll make you laugh.

"I never see the show before it airs on TV. On Christmas night, the family comes over and we all watch it together in our pyjamas."

O'Carroll, who grew up in poverty, also told how his happy childhood memories - particularly relating to his late mother, Maureen - still inspire his Christmas traditions today.

"I'm the youngest of 11 kids, so my memory of an Irish Christmas Eve is my ma making the Christmas soup in a huge, big pot," he said.

"The older family members would be home by 8pm after doing their last bits of shopping and having a few drinks, and we'd all have soup and bread together.

"Then me and the younger kids would be put to bed and everyone would prepare for Christmas morning.

"My mother used to do the most extraordinary thing on Christmas morning. She'd make fried Christmas pudding and bacon.

"It's a tradition I've carried on and now my kids come to me... for the same thing. It's just beautiful.

"The secret is to fry the pudding in butter and fry the bacon separately."

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "This is not a story we would comment on".

Irish Independent

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