Channel 4 has renewed Derry Girls for a third season.
The comedy, which premiered at the start of last year, is created by Lisa McGee, who mined her own experiences to create a candid, family-centred comedy set against the backdrop of The Troubles. It proved an instant hit with audiences, with its opening episode becoming Channel 4’s biggest comedy series launch in almost 5 years. It was also All 4’s biggest comedy launch since 2012, in terms of views during its first six days.
It follows Erin (Saoirse Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland) and friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and Michelle’s tag along English cousin, aka The Wee English Fella, James (Dylan Llewellyn), as they navigate their teens in Derry in the early 1990s. The series also stars Tommy Tiernan as Erin’s long-suffering father, Tara Lynne O’Neill as Erin’s mother, Ian McElhinney as Granda Joe and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Aunt Sarah.
“With its hysterical dialogue, instantly fully formed characters and bracing ability to turn its context (The Troubles in the 1990s) into surtext with wit and heart, Derry Girls was one of the best TV shows of 2018,” we wrote in our review of Season 2. “Lisa McGee’s show remains as hilarious as ever.”
“By the time we’re at the abseiling climax, the comedy of misunderstandings, both wilful and accidental, has escalated to inspired farce. Someone commission Season 3 immediately.”
Someone heard us, because within minutes of Season 2 airing its finale, Channel 4 announced that Derry Girls would return for a third run.
The news arrives as Derry Girls continues to evolve its balance of timely political backdrop and sharp character comedy, with McGee delivering a more optimistic sophomore season that places the focus on the importance of achieving peace. The finale saw the announcement of the IRA ceasefire – and the girls dealing with the drama and excitement of prom.
McGee dedicated the episode to Nobel Peace Prize winner and Derryman John Hume, who was crucial to the peace process, taking to the stage alongside Bill Clinton, as the visiting US President delivered a speech outside the Guildhall.
“John Hume is absolutely such a pivotal figure for Derry and I wanted to – in my own tiny way – capture his spirit and pay tribute to his work,” McGee told JOE.
“It was finding a way to do it that didn’t feel heavy-handed. I suppose, the season is a sort of way of thanking him that felt subtle. I’ve always had such huge admiration for John Hume and everything he has done, but when I’m writing Derry Girls, this feeling grew even more. It’s sort of hard to even define what that feeling is – especially now with how the political situation is – and it’s really hard to even define just how great a man he is.”
The second season aired as the political climate continues to remain uncertain in the UK, as Brexit negotiations risks disrupting the Northern Ireland border.
“I obviously didn’t know what would be happening when this show went out. I didn’t know that when I was writing it, but I definitely felt that people in parts of Britain either aren’t aware, or they just don’t know how difficult that peace process was to achieve. Maybe they’re forgetting?” she added.
“In this season of Derry Girls, I wanted to underline the fact that we did it – we achieved peace in the ‘90s. There was a time when everything went well and we achieved this amazing thing. It was a remarkable time and I wanted to remind people and highlight the fact that this achievement was no small thing. It should never be taken for granted or ignored.”
Derry Girl Season 1 and 2 are available on All 4, with Season 2 available until 10th May 2019.