Mrs Brown’s Boys season 4 — our complete guide to the new four-part series on BBC One
Usually the mainstay of the festive schedules with a Christmas Day special and a New Year’s Day knees-up, Mrs Brown’s Boys is back on BBC One with its first series in ten years.
The new four-parter, created by and starring Brendan O’Carroll as the mouthy matriarch, sees the return of family favourites, as well as a new addition to the cast, a returning favourite, and a special guest star!
Here, in an exclusive interview, creator and star Brendan O’Carroll gives What To Watch the inside scoop on the return of Mrs Brown’s Boys…
Mrs Brown’s Boys season 4 — release date
Mrs Brown’s Boys season 4 debuts on Friday, September 8 2023 at 9.30 pm with new episodes showing weekly at the same time.
All four episodes of the miniseries will also be available as a boxset on BBC iPlayer from Friday, September 8.
Mrs Brown’s Boys season 4 — overview
Do not adjust your set… Christmas has come early for fans of Mrs Brown’s Boys in the form of a new four-parter — the popular comedy’s first series in a decade. From speed dating shocks and hairdressing disasters to lottery rumours and a DNA dilemma, there is no shortage of madcap adventures for the chaotic clan.
“We’ve been planning this since 2020, but then Covid hit, we were locked down and by 2022 you couldn’t get a studio because everyone wanted to make programmes again — we were lucky to get in for the two Christmas specials we made that year! So it’s great we got to do it this year… And to be free of the fecking Christmas tree gag!” Brendan O’Carroll tells What To Watch in an exclusive video chat from his home in Florida.
“Expect a depressed Agnes, Agnes nearly a millionaire, her blowing tablets up Grandad’s arse and speed dating. We have Mammy dressed up in a wedding outfit, a golf outfit and a speed dating outfit — our wardrobe department are absolutely fantastic.
“I’ve loved having June Rodgers, as Birdie the new neighbour, in the show too!”
Mrs Brown’s Boys 2023 — new character
As well as four new episodes, there’s also a new arrival in the form of lively neighbour Birdie, played by Irish comedian June Rodgers.
After she moves in across the road in episode two, Birdie proves to be a force of nature and a worthy bawdy pal for Mrs Brown, although she does put Winnie McGoogan’s nose out of joint!
On speaking about his reasons for introducing Birdie, Brendan reveals: “Initially I just wanted Anges’ best friend Winnie McGoogan [played by Brendan’s sister Eilish O'Carroll] to be jealous. I thought about having a one-off [character] or making Agnes more pally with Hilliary, but then I had the idea of a new neighbour. When Birdie introduces herself she comes across just as brash as Mrs Brown and Agnes thinks she’s great.
“Look out for the food night scene at Foley’s Bar [in episode three] where she fills a bowl with about 30 balls of ice cream!
“June is a sweetheart and fits right in. I’m looking forward to writing for her again at Christmas.”
Mrs Brown’s Boys 2023 — Guest stars
Debra guests in the third episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys as Anita, a childhood friend of Cathy’s...
“Debra, like June, fits right in both on and off set,” says Brendan. “She plays Anita, and you really do believe that she’s an old neighbour who emigrated and knew Mrs Brown for years. We filmed a scene where Anita and Mrs Brown’s daughter Cathy [Brendan’s wife, Jennifer Gibney] come back from the pub and announce they’re going to do a DNA test. Afterwards, Jenny had this great idea that Anita and Cathy could be drunk. So we shot it again and they were brilliant. You can tell that Debra’s a stand-up comedian, there was no need to rehearse, she just went straight in and did it.”
Other guests in this series include Alan Bayer (Rush, New Tricks) and Richard Addison (No 73, The Bill), as Franc and Roger — two possible suitors for Mrs B!
See our episode guide below for more.
Look who’s back
Susie Blake is also back for another star turn as Mrs Brown’s snobby nemesis Hilliary Nicholson, with the warring women upping the ante each other this year!
“Susie is always a joy to write for,” reveals Brendan. “In the third episode Hilliary plans to take Agnes to a golf course. At her house Agnes swings a club, it flies out the window and she collapses on the ground. It was good fun and I thought it’s a pity we don’t do outdoor scenes, because I’d love to see them playing golf!”
Aly Mahmoud also makes a welcome return as Chef Aly during the new series.
Mrs Brown season 4 — special dedication
Brendan O’Carroll has dedicated this outing to Barry Humphries' Dame Edna Everege and Paul O’Grady’s Lily Savage, after both comedians passed away in April and May this year respectfully…
“I was a huge fan. Dame Edna was certainly an inspiration for me, not in the creation of Mrs Brown, but in the performance of her. While Paul made no secret of the fact that Lily Savage was him dressed up, with Dame Enda, well she was a woman. So I tried to do that with Agnes — she’s not a man dressed up, she’s a woman and a mother,” shares Brendan.
“To lose the two of them within so short a period of time… You know, Robin Williams is gone, Mrs Doubtfire is gone, Les Dawson is gone… I kind of felt… I felt a bit lonely to be honest with you. I felt like I was the only one left.”
What To Watch: Growing up, who were your comedy influences?
“I think it shows in the writing of Mrs. Brown, but really traditional comedy — It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Are You Being Served?, Fawlty Towers, Les Dawson big time, and I just adored Dick Emery. Les Dawson doing the two women next door to each other and Dick Emery’s “you are awful, but I like you!” was just hilarious. So they were my influences, very much 70s, 80s and early 90s comedy. I think that paid off for Mrs. Brown's Boys because, in the early 2000s, comedy got a bit more clever than funny. With the result that, when we came on the scene, all of a sudden we picked up an audience that I think comedy left behind. We owe absolutely everything to our audience.”
Who in your life really makes you laugh?
“When Paddy Houlihan [who plays Mrs Brown’s son Dermot], my son Danny [O’Carroll, who plays Buster Brady], and myself get together, I cry with laughter. They make me laugh so much. I’d love to do a Dermot and Buster special, something that I write and direct, but they star in — they are amazingly funny!”
Mrs Brown’s Boys season 4 — episode guide
All the usual suspects are back! Here’s Brendan’s guide to the new series…
Mrs Brown’s Boys 2023 — episode 1
Poor old Agnes is feeling blue in herself and completely browned off with her family, as the housework piles up and Grandad (Dermot O’Neill) proves to be a pain in the proverbial!
“The message here is that everybody gets depressed at some stage and sometimes your family don’t even notice it,” explains Brendan. “It’s important to show that Agnes gets help, she goes to Doctor Flynn [Derek Reddin], who is also treating Grandad for the constipation!”
Mrs Brown’s Boys 2023 — episode 2
New neighbour Birdie moves into the street, Agnes gets dolled up for a speed dating event at Foley’s, but before that she ‘helps’ at Wash and Blow, resulting in a new look for Hilliary…
“Hilliary gets a taste of ‘The Agnes!’” laughs Brendan. “I love Agnes’ speed dating outfit. The idea of her even going to the speed dating is horrendous! She still thinks she’s a youngster and sees a French guy called Franc [Alan Bayer] and thinks — I want him!”
Mrs Brown’s Boys 2023 — episode 3
‘Million Dollar Mammy’
There’s a rumour going around that Mrs Brown has won the lottery, which results in a golf lesson from Hilliary. Meanwhile, Agnes is terrified that a DNA test may prove Cathy isn’t her late husband's child! Debra Stephenson guest stars as Anita.
“I love that this episode opens with Mammy revealing it’s been quite the week, and then does a look-back recap. We’ve never done that before,” reveals Brendan. “You see Anita and Cathy come back from the pub and announce they’re doing the DNA test.”
Mrs Brown’s Boys 2023 — episode 4
Agnes is horrified when Maria (Fiona O'Carroll) and Dermot reveal they’re going to renew their wedding vows. Meanwhile her son, Father Trevor (Martin Delany), goes missing during a pilgrimage.
“The renewal of wedding vows worries Agnes, because anyone she’s known to do this has broken up afterwards,” explains Brendan. “She’s also worried sick as her son has gone missing and, for the first time, you see her turning to her faith. One of the brood, one of her chicks, has gotten away, and I wanted to show genuine worry, because that's what mammys do. They worry all the time.”
Trailer for Mrs Brown’s Boys 2023
At the time of going live, no trailer for Mrs Brown’s Boys was available. But we’re checking with BBC and will update this space if one becomes available.
Mrs Brown's Boys — TV Times Magazine Previews
TV Times: "Agnes is uncharacteristically down in the dumps when we return to Finglas tonight for the first in a new four-parter. Feeling taken for granted by her nearest and dearest, it’s up to the mouthy matriarch’s best friend Winnie (Eilish O'Carroll) to act as Mammy’s little helper and give Agnes’ children food for thought. With a quiet, poignant undercurrent about not taking your loved ones for granted - balanced out (of course!) with sight gags (Agnes putting peppermint drops in her eyes is something to behold), playful props, slapstick, puns and trademark rude jokes - this is a triumphant return for Brendan O’Carroll."
More TV Times Magazine previews to come — check back for updates. Why not subscribe to TV Times Magazine so you never miss out?
TV Times: "Mrs Brown’s all aflutter tonight when Father Damien organises a speed dating event at Foley’s bar. Granted, she’s not entirely sure what it is, but even so, she’s all in. A trip to the hairdressers with new neighbour Birdie (June Rodgers, who matches Brendan O’Carroll’s bawdy Mrs B beautifully) quickly follows, as does disaster when Agnes ends up giving snobby nemesis Hilliary (Susie Blake) a very familiar makeover (!) Then it’s off to the pub where Mrs B, tarted up to the nines in an eye-opening outfit, sets her sights on a handsome French bloke called Franc… Pray for him!"
Million Dollar Mammy
Debra Stephenson (Coronation Street, Spitting Image) showcases her funny genes tonight as Anita, a childhood friend of Cathy’s who emigrated to America in the 1980s. Back in Dublin to give a genealogy lecture at Trinity College, Anita offers to do a DNA test so Cathy can trace her ancestry. But, as Mrs Brown recalls the night her daughter was conceived, she begins to fear her late husband might not be Cathy’s father! To complicate matters Winnie has interpreted Agnes’ secret worry as proof that she’s won the lottery - which leads to Mrs Brown being very popular among the locals!
Mrs Brown and Hilliary Nicholson’s rocky rivalry reaches new peaks in the series finale, when their respective children Dermot and Maria announce a renewal of their wedding vows. Hilliary takes the cake as she goes into full posh planning mode, intending to turn it into the social event of the year, locking horns with Agnes in the process. Neither women are willing to cave and a vicious falling out follows… But they’re unexpectedly united when Agnes’ son Trevor goes missing during a mountain pilgrimage. Wedding hats off to Brendan O’Carroll and Susie Blake for keeping a straight face during filming!