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'Mrs Brown's Boys' stars Brendan O’Carroll and Jennifer Gibney: 'We go full out!'

Mrs Brown's Boys stars Brendan O'Carroll and Jennifer Gibney reveal they've Christmas all wrapped up!
Mrs Brown's Boys stars Brendan O'Carroll and Jennifer Gibney reveal they've Christmas all wrapped up! (Image credit: Alamy)

Watching Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special has become as traditional as mince pies and mulled wine for millions. 

But what Christmas traditions do Mrs Brown’s Boys creator Brendan O’Carroll and his wife Jennifer Gibney enjoy?

Here Brendan, 66, who plays Agnes Brown, and Jennifer, 57, who co-stars as Agnes’ daughter Kathy, tell us about their festive traditions as we get ready for the Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas 2021 special...

Special treats

Brendan: "My favourite treat is butter-fried pudding with bacon, sausages and bread on Christmas morning. Previously, all the family would come over and we’d have it together. I look forward to that breakfast. And my favourite Christmas drink is... drink!"

Jennifer: "After dinner Brendan makes a mean Irish coffee, so that would be my treat!"

Food

Jennifer: "I’m the chief bottle washer. Brendan does the meal and I do the table and the clean up after."

Brendan: "On our first Christmas together I said, ‘You don't cook on Christmas Day. It’s your day off.’ Now she thinks every day is Christmas Day!"

Jennifer: [Laughing] "No one wants me to cook. We’d have a lot less guests for Christmas — and they’d all eat before they got here!"

Shopping — love it or loath it?

Jennifer: "I hate it! I always leave it too late. It’s funny, since the success of the series when I’m out shopping for Brendan people come over to me and say, ‘I think he’d like this’. It gets very weird! You know yourself, it’s cold outside, you’re wrapped up, but once you're in the shop you’ve too many bags and just don’t want to be there!"

Brendan: "Yes, you’ve got your overcoat on, the heat’s on full, you’re sweating and in a queue! I get the same thing — I get Jen something that I think is nice and when I get to the till they’ll say, ‘Jenny’s going to love that’. And I want to say — No, take it back!"

Jennifer: "It’s because I don’t want them knowing what I’m getting him for Christmas before he does!"

Brendan: "Yeah, especially underwear!"

Christmas songs

Brendan: "Fairytale in New York is mine…"

Jennifer: "Away in a Manger always gets me. There’s something about it, it brings me back to being a kid. When I hear it I get all teared up about Christmas."

Brendan: "I never understood it! What’s a manger? Do they ‘weigh’ somebody in it? I’ve no idea. That reminds me… My mother taught Latin so I learned Adeste Fideles [Come All Ye Faithful] in Latin. The first time I heard it sung in English I thought they were making up words!"

Tree-mendous! Just like Mrs Brown, Brendan O'Carroll and Jennifer love their Christmas decorations.

Tree-mendous! Just like Mrs Brown, Brendan O'Carroll and Jennifer Gibney love their Christmas decorations. (Image credit: BBC)

Christmas decorations — full out Mrs Brown or not?

Jennifer: "Full out! We love Christmas! We put on Christmas songs when we decorate the trees…"

Brendan: "We do both houses, Florida and Dublin. Florida looks like you could visit Santa there, it’s like a Christmas grotto!"

Jennifer: "And in Dublin we’ve a smaller Christmas tree that snows!"

Gifts

Brendan: "One year Jenny gave me the whole series of The West Wing. I had been looking for it in video shops and they kept saying it’s not out, so I thought she got it made especially for me!"

Jennifer: "I didn’t enlighten him that I didn’t!"

Brendan: "I was absolutely bowled over. Then the next day I saw it in the shop!"

Jennifer: "I’m not really into presents. We tend to do Christmas stockings for each other. I love when Brendan gets me a nice, thoughtful card."

Brendan: "Yes, Jenny loves a card!"

Festive viewing

Jennifer: "I love that it’s become a tradition that people watch Mrs Brown’s as a family after their Christmas dinner. I love that when we’re watching it with our family they’re watching it with theirs. And it wouldn’t be Christmas without It’s a Wonderful Life..."

Brendan: "When the kids were younger we’d be up with them at about four in the morning. As soon as they got breakfast they’d be falling asleep on the couch or the floor and we’d sit and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Then it’s Christmas!"

Mrs Brown's Boys stars Jennifer Gibney and Brendan O'Carroll give us a sneak peek into their Christmas traditions.

Mrs Brown's Boys stars Jennifer Gibney and Brendan O'Carroll give us a sneak peek into their Christmas traditions. (Image credit: BBC)

When and where can I watch Mrs Brown's Boys festive specials?

There are two specials this year, one on Christmas Day at 10:20pm and one on New Year's Day at 10pm. Both will air on BBC1. Our Christmas TV guide has more shows to enjoy.

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab)www.whattowatch.com (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.

 

As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 


After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.