Is Saturday TV a bit of a drag?

The foul-mouthed, dysfunctional Mrs Brown is hoping to change all that with her new BBC celebrity quiz show

Ant and Dec should be very afraid. A foul-mouthed Irish grandmother, played by a 56-year-old former milkman, is being lined up as the BBC's secret weapon in the battle for Saturday-night supremacy.

Mrs Brown's Boys, which has been a two-decade overnight success for creator Brendan O'Carroll, has drawn such big late-night audiences that the madcap matriarch has been handed a spin-off quiz show – Mrs Brown's Celebrities.

Contestants are being sought for the show, with a pilot due to be filmed shortly and a full series hitting screens early next year.

Mrs Brown's Boys almost defies description. Part old-fashioned family farce, part post-modern deconstruction of studio-based sitcoms, it attracted the opprobrium of critics who baulked at the 1970s throwback, but gradually, quietly, it built a huge audience.

Announcing the new quiz show, O'Carroll joked: "It will be fun to see how Mrs Brown copes with a quiz, as she knows as much about trivia as my backside knows about snipe shooting. It's a new adventure, and Mrs Brown is always up for a new adventure."

The quiz show spin-off marks the latest stage in the phenomenal rise of Mrs Brown, first created by O'Carroll for radio in 1992. A series of films for Irish television and a movie with Anjelica Huston later, he landed a series jointly for RTE in Ireland and the BBC in the UK, recruiting several members of his own family for the cast.

It was initially commissioned for just one series, but TV bosses ordered a third series before even airing the second, which earlier this year drew almost seven million viewers. It won a Bafta, sold a million DVDs and is due to be made into a film.

The elevation of the cult comedy character to mainstream family viewing mirrors that of Keith Lemon, the sleazy moustachioed creation of Bo Selecta star Leigh Francis, who went from sexually harassing soap stars on ITV3's Celebrity Juice to fronting a Saturday tea-time show, Lemonaid.

In the new Mrs Brown show, two contestants will compete in a quiz with the help of five celebrities. The winner will go through to a final, where they must rely on stars of sport, music and TV to answer questions on their behalf.

It's not the first time the BBC has turned to a drag act to rescue its primetime schedules. In 2007, a pilot of the Generation Game, with Lily Savage as host, was recorded but, declared disastrous, it never aired.

Mrs Brown's Celebrities is being produced by 12 Yard Productions, the company behind Eggheads, Coach Trip and the Dale Winton lottery show In It to Win It. Andy Culpin, the managing director, said: "Mrs Brown's unique take on life is sure to provide an entertaining and unpredictable show that will appeal to old and new fans alike."

Alan Tyler, the BBC entertainment executive commissioning editor, hailed Mrs Brown as "one of the crown jewels of BBC comedy".

Not everyone has agreed. When the first series aired, the television critic of the newspaper Metro said the "BBC should hang its head in shame", while The Daily Telegraph warned viewers that the show made at least 25 uses of the F-word expletive in its opening episode, "which includes gags about vibrators and a rectal thermometer". And that's just what can be repeated in a newspaper.

Saturday-night TV will once again be about big-time, shiny-floored game shows. But Mrs Brown doesn't really do catchphrases beyond fecking, shite and arse. Bringing the XXX Factor to prime time.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Urgent Requirement - Central Manchester

£20000 - £23000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Guru Careers: Social Media Executive / SEO Executive

£20 - 25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Social Media...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions