All Round To Mrs Brown's | TV preview by Steve Bennett © BOC Productions Ltd/ Hungry Bear Productions

All Round To Mrs Brown's

TV preview by Steve Bennett

A larger-than-life interfering figure, all in pink, causing chaos to the Saturday-night BBC schedules: Mrs Brown surely is a Mr Blobby for our age.

Like Noel’s House Party before it, All Round To Mrs Brown’s is a rambunctious mish-mash of shiny-floor diversions. You’d call it family entertainment were it not for so many f-bombs and ill-disguised references to cunnilingus or wanking off James Blunt. 

Mrs Brown makes Mrs Slocombe’s ‘pussy’ references look positively subtle. But somehow this filth coming from a man pretending to be an older woman with a cheeky Irish accent makes it acceptable for 15 minutes past the 9pm watershed – there would be an outcry from Middle England if the same came from a cocky young stand-up. But the familiar accusation of using bad language as a substitute for wit is definitely one that can be levelled at Brendan O’Carroll’s alter-ego.

Appalling though the sitcom that spawned All Round To Mrs Brown’s may be, as a slice of entertainment pap, this spin-off  is perfectly watchable – certainly after The Nightly Show proved how difficult these things can be to get right. O’Carroll, of course, stamps a bolder personality on to his show than the ITV car-crash could ever hope for, and this new project stands or falls almost entirely on the strength of his arena-honed performance.

With a slightly schmaltzy emphasis on ‘mammies’, the show contains a lot of elements here you’d expect: a bit of audience engagement, Blunt playing his latest single and celebrities including Judy Murray and Pamela Anderson proving themselves to be good sports" Louis Walsh’s skit in Madame Tussaud’s wouldn’t have been out of place in last night’s Comic Relief telethon, the only issue might be that the public have had their fill of such sketches.

As a construct, the show makes very little sense. For example, there’s a cooking segment that doesn't show you how to cook – it just seems that the producers have seen that Sunday Brunch is popular on Channel 4 and want a slice of that action. Not that O’Carroll has ever bothered with the finesse of logic.

The out-and-out comedy sections are the most laboured – though as a spin-off from a sitcom loathed by critics by loved by millions,  they will have their audience. The ‘thought for the day’ section was especially flat, a vehicle for two otherwise under-used characters to get their share of screen time, it seemed, with little in the way of jokes. Away from the most blatant of double entendres or heavily signposted slapstick, the Mrs Brown’s format always seems to struggle.

This probably isn’t going to be the saviour of Saturday night TV – and is less appealing than Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway – but it’s a natural progression of the Agnes Brown ‘brand’ and, perhaps surprisingly, not as dire as the sitcom that spawned it. Is that progress?

• All Round To Mrs Brown’s is on BBC One at 9.15pm tonight

Review date: 25 Mar 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.