BREN­DAN O’CAR­ROLL

Daily Record - - NEWS - BY BRIAN McIVER

Mrs Brown’s Boys star talks about fol­low­ing up com­edy’s mas­sive suc­cess with new BBC quiz show For Facts Sake

HE WON more than 10 mil­lion view­ers by breath­ing new life into the stu­dio au­di­ence sit­com and he even con­quered the world of chat shows.

But af­ter dom­i­nat­ing telly com­edy for most of the decade, Mrs Brown’s Boys cre­ator Bren­dan O’Car­roll is turn­ing his eye to a new quiz show.

And he is bring­ing his fam­ily to the party once again.

O’Car­roll cre­ated and de­vel­oped his multi-award-win­ning sit­com in Scot­land and it is filmed in the heart of Glas­gow.

He is head­ing back to the city to shoot quiz show For Facts Sake, which starts on Mon­day.

In the se­ries, Bren­dan, who ap­pears as him­self, rather than his caus­tic al­ter ego, will pre­side over team cap­tains made up from his Mrs Brown cast, in­clud­ing his wife Jen­nifer Gib­ney, son Danny and daugh­ter Fiona.

Bren­dan said: “I am a stand-up co­me­dian so go­ing in front of the live au­di­ence was fan­tas­tic.

“But as we record For Facts Sake in the same stu­dio that we record Mrs Brown’s Boys, it did feel strange walk­ing around the stu­dio with­out high heels. I’m re­ally ex­cited to be do­ing a show where I don’t have to wear a bra.

“When we did the pilot, it was great fun. If we can cap­ture that on the screen, we are all in for a good time.”

Bren­dan added: “It’s an idea I have had for a long time. I am a fact and trivia nut and one of the things about the show that has al­ways in­ter­ested me is how a false fact of­ten gets more trac­tion than a true one.

“So I thought that if we could do it like a game night at home, then add the magic in­gre­di­ent of au­di­ence mem­bers, we just might have some fun. We did – lots of fun.”

Bren­dan, 63, made his name when he first launched Mrs Brown as a ra­dio pro­gramme in 1992 and then a tour­ing stage show in 1999.

The sit­com, which is pop­u­lated by his fam­ily and friends in sup­port­ing roles, built up an in­cred­i­ble au­di­ence all over Ire­land and the UK.

With a par­tic­u­lar fol­low­ing in Scot­land, tele­vi­sion pro­duc­ers ap­proached O’Car­roll af­ter a gig in the Pav­il­ion in Glas­gow, and in 2011, the

BBC sit­com Mrs Brown’s Boys hit screens and be­came an in­stant sen­sa­tion.

Three se­ries fol­lowed, along with sev­eral fes­ti­val spe­cials and a hit film Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie.

The tour­ing shows are still mas­sively suc­cess­ful. On top of that, Bren­dan launched chat show spin-off All Round to Mrs Brown’s last year.

Work­ing closely to­gether, he ad­mits the O’Car­rolls are a very com­pet­i­tive fam­ily (“When play­ing Triv­ial Pur­suit in our house, you need to say the an­swer ex­actly as it is on the card,” he said.)

Au­di­ences will see that spirit at play when bat­tle erupts be­tween his wife and kids (who play Cathy, Buster and Maria in the sit­com) in the new se­ries.

Danny said au­di­ences are in for a treat. He added: “Out of all the peo­ple that dad could have asked to be a team cap­tain on his panel show, I still won­der why he asked me.

“I think view­ers will fi­nally see that there’s not much act­ing in­volved when play­ing the part of Buster Brady.”

Cast mem­ber Paddy Houli­han said: “Fiona is com­pet­i­tive but I didn’t feel a ri­valry as such. I just didn’t think she was ca­pa­ble of beat­ing me. Ru­mours of her cheat­ing are un­true... prob­a­bly.

“If she de­feated me, it was fair and square... prob­a­bly.

“My­self and Danny have never had any ri­valry. We first met as 10-year-olds while fight­ing each other. Even then, Danny was cheer­ing for me to win (which I did). But with this, he was a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal. We haven’t spo­ken since.

“No­body likes los­ing but Jenny takes it to an­other level. I was re­li­ably in­formed she asked for a full re­count of all scores in the hope of se­cur­ing the win.”

Danny dis­agreed, say­ing: “We’ve been best friends since we were 10 years old. I know and he knows that I could never beat him in a gen­eral knowl­edge quiz but he also knows that he could never beat me in any sport.”

Fiona hopes view­ers con­nect with the mad fam­ily ri­valry and fun they all had dur­ing the shoot. She said: “Bren­dan (aka dad) makes a great host any­where, although on this show I’m sure he prob­a­bly felt more like a ref­eree at times. We are all pretty com­pet­i­tive but against each other, it’s re­ally just a bit of fun. It al­lows for some good ban­ter.

“There are too many funny mo­ments. The most awk­ward mo­ment was when dad and I had to be birds and I had to do a dance to try to at­tract him. It was just weird and to­tally cringey. “

Jen­nifer said it was il­lu­mi­nat­ing to get into the spirit of the prop­erly triv­ial pur­suit.

She added: “I would de­scribe it as a fun tele­vi­sion show about all of the triv­ial stuff in my hus­band’s head.

“He is very en­ter­tain­ing and he was in his el­e­ment swing­ing on his chair, call­ing all the shots. I loved hav­ing mem­bers of the au­di­ence as team-mates.” Bren­dan said his fam­ily had be­come trivia kings af­ter film­ing. When asked for an in­ter­est­ing or un­usual fact, Siri and Alexa couldn’t com­pete with the quick­fire an­swers that came next.

Bren­dan said: “Oh my God, where do I start? I have a head full of trivia.

“One fifth of all the fresh wa­ter in the world is in Canada... In 1898, the Ger­man phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany Bayer trade­marked ‘Heroin’... Cray­ola make enough crayons each year to cir­cle the earth six times... Earth is at its clos­est to the sun ev­ery Jan­uary 2-3... Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton is the only pres­i­dent to unan­i­mously win ev­ery elec­toral col­lege vote.”

But how would his fa­mous al­ter ego Mrs Brown get on with the quiz chal­lenges?

“Ter­ri­ble. Agnes thinks man­ual labour is the Span­ish am­bas­sador,” he said.

For Facts Sake starts on BBC1 on Mon­day at 9.30pm.

THAT’S NICE Bren­dan as Agnes Brown and, be­low, with wife Jen­nifer

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