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Derry Girls get the red-carpet treatment in home city for series two premiere

The cast of Derry Girls at a special screening of the new C4 series, in Derry on Monday night. Included are Nicola Coughlan who plays Clare, Louisa Harland who plays Orla, Saoirse-Monica Jackson who plays Erin and Dylan Llewellyn who is James, with writer Lisa McGee on left. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin  
Seamus McKinney

DERRY Girls writer Lisa McGee says her biggest thrill is the fact that her creation has been embraced in her home city. 

McGee was speaking on Monday night as a preview of the second series of the hit Channel 4 comedy series got the red-carpet treatment in Derry.

She was joined by many of the show’s stars at the Strand Omniplex Cinema. Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Erin), Nicola Coughlan (Clare), Louisa Harland (Orla) and Dylan Llewellyn ('the wee English fella', James) posed for selfies with fans and signed autographs. However, break-out star Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, who plays mouthy Michelle Mallon, was unable to attend. The Derry woman is starring in The Cripple of Inishmann at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre.

Channel 4 is keeping the content of series two a closely guarded secret but it appeared there was no role for Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle who had hoped to win a part. At the launch of series one, Galway actress Coughlan revealed that she used recordings of Coyle's interviews to master the Derry accent.

 The stars of the show line out ahead of the premiere. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Following the release of the series two trailer last week, it was revealed that comedian Ardal O’Hanlon (Father Ted’s gormless curate Fr Dougal) will make an appearance as 'Eamonn', a middle-aged mammy’s boy.

The success story of 2018, Derry Girls follows the fortunes of teenager Erin and her friends as they navigate adolescence in Troubles-era Derry. 

Arriving at the premiere are stars Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare, and Dylan Llewellyn who plays James. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 

Reaction to the first episode was so spectacular that Channel 4 commissioned a second series.

As she walked the red carpet on Monday night, McGee said she was overwhelmed by reaction to the show. She told The Irish News the only thing that mattered to her was how the show was received in Derry. The award-winning writer believes the programme's appeal is a combination of nostalgia, great acting and great directing.

Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Erin) poses on the red carpet for selfies with fans. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

“The highpoint is coming back home and seeing the reaction to it,” she said.  

 Fans show their appreciation for the hit series. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

A small crowd gathered outside as the stars arrived. A group of Norwegian students on a study visit even wrote “Derry Girls” on their bare stomachs. One of the group said they were “big fans”. 

“We watch it with subtitles,” she said. 

Saoirse-Monica Jackson, who plays Erin, is pictured with fans at the screening. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 

Well known Bogside man Frankie McMenamin said he couldn’t wait for the second series. 

Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Series two is expected to be broadcast next month.

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