Leave It to Mrs O'Brien

Leave It to Mrs O'Brien is an Irish television sitcom that aired on RTÉ 2 for two series from 1984 to 1986. Starring Anna Manahan in the title role, it was based on the stories of Angela McFadden.[1]

Leave It to Mrs O'Brien
GenreSituation comedy
Created byAngela McFadden
Written byJoe Dunlop
Directed byBrian Mac Lochlainn
StarringAnna Manahan
Pat Daly
Philip O'Sullivan
Blanaid Irvine
Brendan Caldwell
Country of originIreland
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes23
Production location(s)Studio 1, RTÉ Television Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Original networkRTÉ Two
Original release7 November 1984 (1984-11-07) 
23 April 1986 (1986-04-23)


Set in a local parochial house in the Liberties area of inner-city Dublin, the show's main character, Mrs O'Brien, is the housekeeper to two Roman Catholic priests. Her main adversary is Sister Gertrude, an archetypal authoritarian dragon, and in the middle are the two priests of the house. The veteran parish priest, Fr. Rooney, is also prone to skullduggery and is in fear of being moved to a new parish by the Bishop. The second priest, Fr. Michael, is a young, trendy and "sensible" curate.[2]


  • Anna Manahan - Mrs O'Brien
  • Pat Daly - Fr. Rooney
  • Philip O'Sullivan - Fr. "Michael" Lynch
  • Blanaid Irvine - Sister Gertrude
  • Brendan Caldwell - Pat Dunn
  • Chris Curran - Mr Burke
  • May Cluskey - Mrs Burke
  • Martina Stanley - Maureen
  • David Heep - Patrick



The interior scenes for both series were shot in Studio 1 at the RTÉ Television Centre. While the first series was filmed without a laughter track, the second series was filmed in front of a live studio audience. The quantity of laughter generated was about the same. The second series also saw more on-location filming as well as guest appearances.


Both series consistently topped the channel's ratings with an audience of over 250,000 per episode; however, it had a less favourable response from the critics. According to the Irish Independent, "One TV critic wanted those responsible 'thrown on the dole and given lousy references'". The network's defense that the series was meant to appeal to undiscriminating viewers, particularly children and the elderly, only invited further criticism.[1]


  1. "The worst Irish TV shows EVER!". Irish Independent. 28 October 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  2. "Parochial humour". Irish Times. 5 February 1986. Missing or empty |url= (help)
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