Derry Girls is comedy gold, but its last episode was no grand finale

Derry Girls final episode

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.

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The Bea List: 5 Top TV Shows starring Aisling Bea

Here are top 5 shows starring one of Ireland’s finest talents.

No longer a newcomer, Aisling Bea has firmly claimed her place as one of Ireland’s finest TV talents. Here’s a list of just some of the shows that will have you saying ‘Oh My God, What a Complete Legend, Aisling…’

This Way Up

As both programme creator and star, this Channel Four series earned a BAFTA win for Aisling. It’s a comedy-drama following the life of Áine, an Irish woman living in London, navigating her way through life after a breakdown. Some very poignant moments throughout, in particular between Bea and Sharon Horgan who plays her sister. Series two has been promised to us later this year, but the first series is available on Channel Four’s catch-up service 4oD. (Channel Four)

Living With Yourself

Part sci-fi, part comedy-drama, this quirky series stars Paul Rudd (AntMan, Anchorman) as a man on a quest to better himself through extremely bizarre measures. As he tries to rekindle his relationship with wife Kate, played by Bea, we witness the epic dance scene above, a definite series highlight. (Netflix)

The Fall

In the final series of this psychological thriller starring Gillian Anderson (The X Files), Aisling shows off her dramatic chops as the nurse who cares for Jamie Dornan’s serial killer Paul Spector. All series are available on-demand on the RTE Player. (Box set available on the RTE Player) 

Trivia

First broadcast in 2012, here newcomer Aisling Bea stars opposite Keith McErlean, who we know and love from Bachelor’s Walk. The acclaimed series follows the lives and relationships of a quiz team in Co. Monaghan. (Box set available on the RTE Player) 

Quiz 

Starting this Sunday night on RTÉ One, Aisling Bea plays a TV executive working on Britain’s most famous quiz show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Michael Sheen stars as the show’s host Chris Tarrant and Fleabag’s Sian Clifford stars as Diana Ingram, the woman who found herself at the heart of a cheating scandal. (RTE One, Sunday 24th January, 9:30pm)

Source: The Bea List: 5 Top TV Shows starring Aisling Bea

Lisa O’Neil at Dublin’s National Concert Hall

Serious joins with National Concert Hall, Dublin to present Lisa O’Neill – a songwriter like no other. Last year, she played for Serious in a sold out Union Chapel show, and was featured in our Imagining Ireland programme produced by Serious, National Concert Hall, Dublin, and Culture Ireland. Her Rough trade album, Heard A Long Gone Song, sees her remarkable voice breathing new life into traditional songs and has garnered huge acclaim both at home and abroad. Tackling songs passed through generations, some mixed with political messages giving a voice to a community, or dark tales of the past, Lisa performs all with ease.

‘Raw and unvarnished folk. Uncompromising, stunning, soul-shaking stuff’ (★★★★★ Guardian)