Mrs Brown’s Boys: Brendan O'Carroll stars in Christmas special
Mrs Brown’s Boys has treated fans of the sitcom to Christmas and a New Year’s Day episodes since the series ended back in 2013. With just two instalments a year, viewers usually watch the seasonal editing of the programme in their thousands. However, Friday night’s 30-minute offering didn’t seem to attract the same attention as it seems BBC licence fee payers tuned in to other shows which were airing at the same time on other channels.
Following an evening of action-packed television, with all three soaps delivering a festive episode and game shows taking up some of the night’s schedule, Mrs Brown’s Boys was broadcast at 10pm.
The Christmas offering saw Irish matriarch Agnes Brown (played by Brendan O’Carroll) preparing to celebrate the yuletide season after months of living in lockdown.
As the instalment transcended, the stoic mother and grandmother was given the chance to address the nation as part of the Queen’s Speech.
With references to the pandemic, panic buying and coronavirus test results, it seemed the sitcom was encapsulating everything that had happened to viewers this year but in a comical tone to lift spirits.
Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to hit the right note with those watching at home as only 3.8 million viewers watched the programme.
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With 10pm being one of the most prestigious time slots on Christmas Day, it was hoped more people would tune in to watch the festive offering.
Shows which aired earlier in the evening, such as Call The Midwife and Blankety Blank drew in a crowd of more than five million each.
The last time ratings had been so low for Mrs Brown’s Boys was back in 2011 when less than four million viewers watched a single episode.
This is a sharp decrease from the viewing figures of days gone by when 11 million fans used to watch the series before it stopped back in 2013.
This is a nightmare
It should be remembered, the ratings are from overnight views and figures from streaming the episode on BBCiPlayer have not yet been collated.
The decrease in viewership comes just days after it was announced the broadcasting giant had secured a new deal with the show.
Brendan, 65, and the cast of the popular sitcom will be filming festive offerings for the next six years as the programme will remain on air until at least 2026.
Speaking of being recommissioned, the show’s creator said: “It’s incredible that the BBC have nailed down such a special slot for Mrs Brown.”
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“This new deal we signed last week goes all the way to 2026, which means I will be able to grow into the part,” he continued.
“And we’ve a clause in which guarantees Mrs Brown is aired at 10pm on Christmas night, or else we don’t have to make it,” Brendan told the Irish Sun.
However, with declining figures for the programme becoming more common, a source said: “This is a nightmare for the BBC.
“It has signed up to air the show for another six years, but it is losing viewers in the millions,” they told the Daily Star.
Commenting on the Christmas special, licence fee payers took to social media as one wrote on Twitter: “Just caught up on last nights #MrsBrownsBoys and I don’t mean to be rude it wasn’t the best episode.. I love the show just last night, it just wasn’t the show’s best episode sadly.”
Another added: “#Mrsbrownsboys am I the only person who can’t stand this ghastly show?”
A third remarked: “I never watched #MrsBrownsBoys because it has run its course and it’s beyond me why the BBC has commissioned it for another five years. God help their ratings.”
Not everyone was so outraged, as a fourth commented: “@MrsBrownsBoys Really enjoyed last night’s Christmas show.
“Just what we all needed lots of laughter. It said one of two on the episode [so] is there a second episode on at all over Christmas? #mrsbrownsboys,” they asked, with a New Year’s Day episode scheduled for the coming week.
Mrs Brown’s Boys airs New Year’s Day at 10pm on BBC One.
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