Northern Ireland news

Derry Girls star pays tribute to show's creator as first series ends

 Series two of Derry Girls is expected to be broadcast next year
Seamus McKinney

AS popular Channel 4 hit comedy Derry Girls came to a close last night one of the show's stars paid tribute to its creator Lisa McGee for making it a huge success.

Since its premiere some five weeks ago the comedy set in Derry has become a roaring success - and Channel 4's most successful launch in five years - with its witty one-liners and excellent casting.

It has been so popular a second series has already been commissioned.

The show burst onto screens at the start of January with a record 2.8 million people watching the first episode.

For the cast, Derry Girls proved to be a break-through in most of their careers.

Last night Louisa Harland, who plays Orla McCool, paid tribute to the writing skills of Lisa McGee.

“The overall quality of the show and the way it’s been received on both sides of the Irish Sea has been amazing, together with the fact that it’s a female-led comedy and has hit a nerve.

"I’m so thankful Lisa has given us this platform,” she said.

Channel 4 last night said it expects the second series of Derry Girls to hit television screens in 2019.

The television channel took the highly unusual step of commissioning a second series following just one show after viewing figures proved it the biggest comedy launch success since Ricky Gervais’s “Derek.”

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 said: “Season two is being written at the moment so we don’t have a confirmed transmission date but we’re hoping Derry Girls will return next year.”

The show on the trials and tribulations of teenager, Erin Quinn and her friends, Clare, the brassy Michelle, spaced-out Orla and “the wee English fella” James as they negotiate the perils of the Troubles in 1990s Derry.

In last night’s episode, Erin was appointed editor of her convent school magazine while Orla became obsessed with step aerobics with hilarious consequences.

Writer Lisa McGee drew on her own experiences of growing up in the city to come up with the show which has become famous for its – often colourful – one-liners.

Jimmy Mulville of Hat Trick Productions, which made the series, said the company was delighted with the success of the first run.

“We love this show and to be given the go-ahead for a second season after only one episode is a fantastic vote of confidence from the channel,” he said.

The show’s writer said she was equally delighted with Derry Girls’ success.

“Derry Girls is such a special project for me and it means so much that the audience have taken to Erin and the gang so warmly,” she said.

Ms McGee is planning to take Erin and her friends right up to US president Bill Clinton’s historic visit to Derry in 1995. It has also been revealed that there could be a part for former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle.

Coyle – on whom Galway actor Nicola Coughlan (Clare) said she based her Derry accent – has confirmed she is in talks about a role.

She said: “That is something that could happen. It’s just finding something that can work, that will fit into how great the rest of the show is.”

Coyle attended the same school as the show’s writer, Thornhill College. She has confirmed she was due to meet McGee to discuss a part.

“I love how she writes and it is based on being in Derry,” she said.

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