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Derry Girls actor turns to Girls Aloud's Nadine for accent

Derry girl, Erin Quinn (Saoirse Jackson, third from left) has much to put up with from her family, dad, Gerry (Tommy Tiernan), mum, Mary (Tara O'Neill), cousin, Orla McCool (Louisa Harland), aunt, Sarah McCool (Kathy Clarke) and Granda Joe (Ian McElhinney).
Seamus McKinney

GALWAY actress Nicola Coughlan has revealed she watched YouTube videos of Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle to perfect her Derry accent for a part in a new Channel 4 comedy based in the city.

Derry Girls, written by Derry woman Lisa McGee, goes out with the first of six episodes on January 4.

At a press screening of the first two episodes, Coughlan, who plays one of four friends Clare Devlin, revealed how she won over the directors during the audition.

She said she watched videos of former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle to help get the accent right.

"My main source of help was Nadine Coyle," she said.

The new comedy series centres on the world of Erin Quinn, played by Derry actress, Saoirse Monica Jackson and also features comedian Tommy Tiernan and Ian McElhinney of Game of Thrones.

As the series progresses other familiar faces to crop up including Co Tyrone comedian Kevin McAleer who appears as Erin's great uncle Colm in episode two.

Set in Derry in the 1990s against the closing days of the Troubles, McGee said she wanted to write something which showed the “wit, warmth and humour” of her native city.

"I had wanted to write something about my experience of growing up in Derry," she said adding that despite the Troubles she was only concerned, like other typical teenagers, with what was going on in her own life.

Scenes for the drama are shot around the Bogside and Brandywell areas and features Erin and her three friends, Clare (Nicola Coughlan, Orla (Louisa Harland) and Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell) as well as Michelle's English cousin, James (Dylan LLewellyn).

The writer said she would like to develop Derry Girls further in a second series, highlighting how the protagonists coped with the Spice Girls era, the IRA ceasefire and eventually the visit to Derry by US President Bill Clinton in 1995.

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