Mrs Brown's Boys creator turns down Russian riches in fight for gay character

Rory Cowan as Rory in Mrs Brown's Boys
Rory Cowan as Rory in Mrs Brown's Boys

The creator of Mrs Brown's Boys has turned down a lucrative licensing deal after certain territories took umbrage with the sitcom's openly gay character.

The flamboyant Rory, who was replaced with a new actor after Rory Cowan stepped down from the role earlier this year, proved a point of contention for some countries who were otherwise interested in broadcasting Brendan O'Carroll's runaway hit.

O'Carroll told The Sun that he was offered an international licensing deal that would have seen Mrs Brown's Boys shown in Russia. It is already broadcast in America, Australia and South Africa.

However, the notoriously homophobic country didn't want to include Rory in their broadcast. O'Carroll said: "They didn’t want any gay, Russia in particular."

O'Carroll was forced to chose between the profits from the deal and keeping the character in. 

Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown (far right) with the rest of the Mrs Brown's Boy's characters
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown (far right) with the rest of the Mrs Brown's Boy's cast

"It was a nice little deal, it’s a big country so the fee you’d charge for the licensing is audience-related, so it’s a big audience and it would have been a nice fee," he said.

"But no gay, absolutely no gay. So I said ‘no gay, no show’. And that was it."

Rory's character has proved a problem to other Eastern European countries, but the show negotiated a workaround: 

"Romania threatened (to cut Rory out), but then went ahead with it," O'Caroll explained.

"What they’ve done is, the Rory character is the Rory character and he’s still gay, but they never mention that he’s gay. But it’s still Rory."

Fans got to glimpse Cowan's replacement in the trailer for the Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special earlier this week. The actor left the show after saying that he had been "unhappy" touring and filming it for the past two years. The change in appearance between the two Rorys has been explained by plastic surgery.