Derry Girls actress Siobhan McSweeney: ‘I went home early after my Bafta win for champagne, Hula Hoops and a cry’

The Cork actress who is best known for the role of Sister George Michael in Derry Girl talks about her BAFTA win, her new show Extraordinary and Brad Pitt on the Dish podcast

Bafta Television Awards 2023
Siobhan McSweeney with the award for Female Performance in a Comedy Programme, for Derry Girls, at the Bafta Television Awards 2023 at the Royal Festival Hall, London (Jeff Moore/PA)

DERRY Girls actress Siobhán McSweeney celebrated her Bafta win with a bottle of champagne, salt and vinegar Hula Hoops and a cry.

The Cork actress, who most famously took on the role of Sister Michael in Derry Girls, said she was overwhelmed after the win for best female performance in a comedy programme for her portrayal of the Judo-practising, sarcastic nun Sister Michael in Channel Four’s Derry Girls.

She told Nick Grimshaw and chef Angela Hartnett all about last year’s Bafta bash on their Dish podcast.

“I went home early from the Baftas, people were still partying,” she said.

“I just felt overwhelmed and deeply, deeply, tired, I sort of wanted to go home and have a cry, not because I was sad but just the sort of build-up of stuff, the emotional aspect of it all.

“I so wasn’t expecting it but I really wanted it but not in a sort of weird way, like ‘Wouldn’t that be great?’

She opened up about the advice she received from a friend before her Bafta win, who told her to write a speech despite not knowing if she had a chance of picking up the award.

“I don’t want to jix it,” McSweeney recalled saying.

“She said ‘Bull****, write a speech’ because when I got nominated I turned to her and I said I am going to ring every bit of joy and loveliness out of this situation.

Lisa McGee and Siobhan McSweeney with the award for Scripted Comedy, for Derry Girls, at the Bafta Television Awards. Picture, Jeff Moore/PA Wire
Lisa McGee and Siobhan McSweeney with the award for Scripted Comedy, for Derry Girls, at the Bafta Television Awards. Picture, Jeff Moore/PA Wire

“It’ll never happen again so why not treat it like a real treat.”

Having read the speech in front of her two friends before going to the awards, they pointed out that it was basically a list of grudges.

McSweeney appeared on the podcast to promote the new season of Extraordinary, which is written by Northern Ireland woman Emma Moran and is available on Disney+ and Hulu.

“When we got the call for the show, me and my agent laughed for 20 minutes,” McSweeney said.

“I said well that’s only a kid’s show am I going to be a puppet or something? Amazin.

“Then I read the scripts and said, ’These are really good, and totally not for kids’.”

The show follows Jen, played by Irish actress Máiread Tyers, who lives in a world where everyone gets a superpower when they turn 18, except for her it seems.

McSweeney plays Jen’s mum, Mary, whose superpower is being able to control technology.

Aside from acting, McSweeney also hosts the Great Pottery Throwdown on Channel Four.

McSweeney said: “It’s a very special show to work on.

“It’s a really weird bond I almost immediately get when I see them, I just want to protect these people.”

Channel Four’s newest competition has attracted some high-profile viewers as Brad Pitt is a massive fan.

“Ugh, he’s my stalker,” McSweeney said. “It’s embarrassing, I’m like Brad, please.

“There was some red carpet event or whatever and he was like, ‘Oh yeah, The Great Pottery Throw Down, I really like it.’

“We were like, what? Why?

“Imagine Brad Pitt sitting down watching The Great Pottery Throwdown and we’re like, ‘Staffordshire Flatbacks’, and he’s like, ‘yeah, I love that’.”