Derry Girls finale review: Alas, the last episode overdoes it with a one hour special
By Ed Power
Derry Girls is such a beloved series Channel 4 has given it not one finale but two. Technically, Lisa McGee’s Northern Ireland comedy took its bows on Tuesday night – and on a bleak note with the sudden death of the father of Nicola Coughlan’s Clare.
But scarcely have audiences had a chance to dab away tears than it’s back for an even grander grand farewell in the form of a one-off, feature-length special (Channel 4, 9pm).
The idea is to apply a big shiny, full stop to a show that has become an unlikely juggernaut – who’d have imagined international viewers would go gaga for an ensemble chortlefest set in the final years of the Troubles?
But while Derry Girls makes an appropriate fuss of its leave-taking this is accompanied by bucketfuls of saccharine – plus a truly bizarre cameo (see below). And so, when people fondly reminisce about Derry Girls years from now, it is probable they won’t be thinking back to tonight’s sappy sign-off.
It’s 1998 and Ireland is about to vote on the Good Friday Agreement (yes, the one Brexit is doing its best to unravel). Yet for Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) and friends the big occasion on the horizon is an upcoming birthday party.
Two parties in fact: to save money, Erin and cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) are throwing a joint 18th-birthday shindig. Sadly, they have clashing ideas as to what makes a killer bash. Erin wants to celebrate great female authors. Orla is keen on a monkey-themed soiree.
Uncertainty likewise stretches ahead of Sister Michael (Siobhán McSweeney), who is informed she is to be moved on from Our Lady Immaculate College. Her work is done, new challenges await, she is told.
Closer to home, chaos engulfs Erin’s parents (Tara Lynne-O’Neill and Tommy Tiernan) with the return of Cousin Eamon (Ardal O’Hanlon), a Father Dougal type whose speciality is spreading good-natured havoc.