The four girls and the wee English fella will return to Channel 4
Hot on the heels of the series two finale, Channel 4 has announced that Lisa McGee’s hit comedy Derry Girls will return for a third run.
The sitcom, which revolves around four teenage girls from Derry and one wee English fella in 1990s Northern Ireland, ended its second outing on a positive note with a rousing speech from Bill Clinton taken from his real-life 1995 visit to the city. Lisa McGee told RadioTimes.com that this was ushering in a more hopeful period for the gang, as their hometown marches towards peace and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 (where the writer suggested she would like to wrap things up).
And, as soon as the episode finished, Channel 4 confirmed that another set of six episodes is on the way – meaning we’ll get to see how the ceasefire (announced in episode five of series two) changes things for Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), Orla (Louisa Harland) and James (Dylan Llewellyn).
We also might get to see a bit more romance between James and Erin.
“I think the potential is there,” McGee said of their budding relationship. “It’s something I’m interested in seeing – I might toy with it next season, I’m not sure.”
And so Derry Girls hop-scotches into the sunset after a successful second season (the last episode is on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm). Once again, the biggest surprise about the Lisa McGee hit is not that a late-period Troubles comedy could be a rich source of chortles. It’s that we all so very desperately miss the ’90s.That seems to be true even of people too young to have meaningfully experienced the Nineties first time around. For some reason, the decade of grunge, boybands and cynicism pouring from our pores and through the walls continues to exert a deep fascination. Why this should be so, is a matter sociologists could spend forever and a day interrogating.
What’s unquestionable is that Derry Girls paints a halcyon picture of a time when the music was better, the fashion was… more interesting and selfie moments weren’t a thing.
In her portrait of female friendship in the pre-social media age, McGee pleads a powerful case, moreover, that life before the internet was in many ways superior. Nobody had a mobile phone constantly distracting them and a Twitter storm was what happened when a flock of birds took fright en masse.
How far have we come in the interim? Not quite the distance we might like to think, is the implication. So what have we leant?
1 The music was just better back then
From The Cranberries’ ‘Dreams’ to Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane in the Brain’, at its most assured Derry Girls is a valentine to the pre-internet music era. The soundtrack brims with nostalgia – season one, for instance, treated us to ‘Alright’ by Supergrass, ‘Unbelievable’ by EMF and ‘No Limit’ by 2 Unlimited (which yielded surely the greatest nineties pop couplet in “I’m making techno” and “I am proud”).
This was a golden age for pop, the show quietly argues – perhaps the last golden age. Rap-metal was coming over the hill and then music downloading would bring the industry to its knees. But in 1994 we’d never had it so good.
Most impressive of all is the way Derry Girls conjures the era without resorting to clichés such as grunge or early Britpop (which was just about twinkling on the horizon circa 1994). Even techno cheese-mongers D:Ream come away with their reputations burnished. Continue reading →
Fans have dubbed it “possibly the sexiest screen kiss”
*Warning: spoilers ahead for Fleabag season two episode four*
Fleabag‘s sinfully good second season has centred on our eponymous anti-heroine’s lustful, forbidden feelings for The Priest (played by Sherlock’s Andrew Scott) — and his apparently reciprocal feelings for her.
After almost four episodes of sexually-charged verbal sparring and will-they-won’t-they, we finally saw the pair get it on — right outside a church confessional, no less, with Fleabag struggling to remove The Priest’s vestments (“Is this a skirt andtrousers?”).
However, Scott’s character freaked out at the last minute after a painting fell down inside the church, in a nod to the series opener (after Fleabag confirmed she was an atheist in episode one, a picture fell down with The Priest smugly referring to it as a sign from God).
In the end, both Fleabag and viewers were left hanging.
After the kiss, viewers immediately took to social media to, well, freak out. “I need a lie down,” Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee posted on Twitter. [ . . . ]
This episode featured a hopeless Protestant/Catholic school bonding trip, not helped by Jamie Lee O’Donnell’s incorrigible Michelle, a girl so lairy I wouldn’t put it past her to give a priest a wedgie. Meanwhile, “Small angry penguin woman” Sister Michael (Siobhán McSweeney) was on scene-stealing form again: “You’ll go far in life, Jenny, but you’ll not be well liked.”
Derry Girls, written by Lisa McGee, was another returning comedy that refused to succumb to “difficult second series” syndrome. Set in 1990s Northern Ireland, against the backdrop of the Troubles, Derry Girls once again boasted a sprawling cast with spirit to burn. Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) pontificated about peace from a bath, while Orla (Louisa Harland) sniped: “She’s pretending she’s on Parkinson again.” Ma Mary (Tara Lynne O’Neill) obsessed over a “big bowl”, while lesbian Clare (Nicola Coughlan) suffered Da Gerry’s (Tommy Tiernan’s) attempts to bond with her about kd lang (“You’re very talented people”).
Derry Girls has been rightly praised for turning tired Northern Irish stereotypes to ashes in front of our eyes. It’s also damn funny, with an ensemble so fine-tuned it verges on comedic ballet, and prickly writing that even dares to lampoon the yearning for peace: “All right, Erin, there’s no need to make a big song and dance about it”. Great stuff.
At the beginning of the year, four Derry Girls (and one wee English fella) made their riotous, blasphemous and hilarious debut on Channel 4. Set in the early 90s in a place called Derry (or Londonderry, depending on your persuasion), Lisa McGee’s relatable and nostalgic family comedy – warm and profane, daft and tender, celebratory and outrageous – quickly gathered legions of fans, widespread critical acclaim and record-breaking viewing figures. In this masterclass, which will also include a live table read by the cast, creator Lisa McGee, cast members and other key creatives from the hit comedy discuss the process of bringing the series to screen and the overwhelming responses from audiences.
Session Producer: Ryan Davies, Group Publicity Manager – Drama, Comedy & Acquisitions, Channel 4 Television