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Derry Girls

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Derry Girls
Derry Girls.png
Created byLisa McGee
Written byLisa McGee
Directed byMichael Lennox
Theme music composerDolores O'Riordan
Noel Hogan
Ending theme"Dreams" by The Cranberries
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Hat Trick Productions
Original networkChannel 4
Picture format16:9 1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original release4 January 2018 (2018-01-04) –

Derry Girls is a British-made sitcom created and written by Lisa McGee. Produced by the Hat Trick Productions, it is set in Derry, Northern Ireland in the 1990s.[1] The first series was broadcast in January and February 2018 on Channel 4.[2] The second series was shown in March and April 2019. A third series has been commissioned for 2020.[3]


Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland), their friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan) and Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), and Michelle's English cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn) navigate their teen years during the Troubles in Derry, where they all attend a Catholic girls' secondary school.

Erin lives with her father Gerry and mother Mary, her baby sister Anna, Mary's younger sister Sarah, Sarah's daughter Orla, and her maternal grandfather, Joe. James is Michelle's cousin; his mother Cathy left Derry for England to have an abortion but gave birth to him and raised him in London. She sends him back to Derry to live with Michelle and her mother Deirdre when she is going through a divorce.

Cast and characters


  • Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Erin Quinn. Erin is passionate and ambitious, but at times overly concerned with how she is regarded by others. Her dark sense of humour and sarcastic nature often get her in trouble.
  • Louisa Harland as Orla McCool, Erin's maternal cousin and friend. Orla is very aloof, quiet and naive, but not unintelligent. Unlike most of her friends, Orla has very high self-esteem and does not care what anyone else thinks of her. She often amuses herself by invading Erin's privacy for fun.
  • Nicola Coughlan as Clare Devlin, one of Erin's best friends. Clare often acts as the voice of reason in the gang, as she is far more intimidated by authority figures than her friends. In the series one finale, Clare comes out to her friends and the school as a lesbian.
  • Jamie-Lee O'Donnell as Michelle Mallon, one of Erin's best friends. Michelle is the wild child of the group, and her troublemaking tendencies often get her and her friends into trouble. She is shown to have a very keen interest in drugs and alcohol, and shows almost no respect to any figures of authority, including her own mother.
  • Dylan Llewellyn as James Maguire, one of Erin's best friends and Michelle's maternal cousin. English-born to an Irish mother, James is sent to live in Derry with his aunt and cousin Michelle while his mother goes through a divorce. James often feels like an outsider, due to both his English heritage and the fact that he is the only male at an all-girls school, but comes to accept the gang as his true friends.
  • Tara Lynne O'Neill as Ma/Mary, Erin's disciplinarian mother. She tolerates no attitude or trouble from her daughter, but is very loving and usually only wants what is best for her family. She has been married to Gerry for 17 years.
  • Kathy Kiera Clarke as Aunt Sarah, Orla's mother and Mary's sister. Sarah is caring but dim-witted, and often points out things that are painfully obvious. She leaves all of the house upkeep to her sister, and is always smoking.
  • Siobhan McSweeney as Sister Michael, the headmistress of the school that the girls attend. She is shown to rule the school with an iron fist, though on occasion has demonstrated a softer side.
  • Tommy Tiernan as Gerry, Erin's father. Gerry is far more relaxed than his wife, but is very loyal and protective of his family. He holds an unspecified job where he drives 8 hours a day, and has a very strained relationship with his father-in-law.
  • Ian McElhinney as Da/Granda Joe, Mary and Sarah's father and Erin's grandfather. Joe came to live with the Quinns after his wife died, and maintains good relationships with everyone in the house (with the notable exception of Gerry, who he often mocks and berates).
  • Leah O'Rourke as Jenny Joyce, the prefect of the girls' school. Jenny and the gang detest each other, and she often flaunts her wealth and position of power. Incredibly sanctimonious, she is often called out by Sister Michael, who seems to have no patience for her either.


  • Beccy Henderson as Aisling, Jenny's best friend and sidekick.
  • Claire Rafferty as Miss Mooney, Sister Michael's deputy.
  • Amelia Crowley as Deirdre Mallon, Michelle's mother and James' aunt, who works as a nurse.
  • Kevin McAleer as Uncle Colm, Joe's brother, whom the family consider incredibly dull and boring.
  • Paul Mallon as Dennis, the aggressive proprietor of the corner shop the girls frequent.


SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAve. UK viewers
First airedLast aired
164 January 2018 (2018-01-04)8 February 2018 (2018-02-08)2.84
265 March 2019 (2019-03-05)9 April 2019 (2019-04-09)3.01


Filming took place in Northern Ireland, with most scenes being shot in Derry and Belfast.[4][5]

The show was renewed for a second series shortly after the airing of the pilot episode of the first series, and would ultimately prove to be Channel 4's most successful comedy since Father Ted.[6][7]

Production of the second series began on 8 October 2018.[8][9] The second series began airing on 5 March 2019.[10] On 9 April 2019, immediately after the second series finale, it was confirmed by Channel 4 that Derry Girls is set to return for a third series.[11][12]


Derry Girls has received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first series holds an approval rating of 100% based on reviews from 21 critics. The website's critical consensus states that it is "A perfectly curated cast and raw writing drive Derry Girls's dark humor as creator Lisa McGee makes frenetic light of teen life in 1990s Northern Ireland".[13] The second series has an approval rating of 96%, based on reviews from 24 critics. The website's critical consensus states that "The sophomore season of Derry Girls doesn't lose any of its irreverent charms thanks its predictably unpredictable romps and canny characterisations".[14]

Derry Girls was the most watched series in Northern Ireland since modern records began in 2002, with an average audience of 519,000 viewers and a 64.2% share of the audience.[15] Una Mullally of The Irish Times praised the series: "The writing in Derry Girls is sublime, the performances perfect, the casting is brilliant."[16] On 11 January 2018, after the first episode had aired, the programme was renewed for a second series.[17] Each episode was watched by over two million people.[18] At the conclusion of the first series, Barbara Ellen of The Guardian wrote that Derry Girls evoked such programmes as The Inbetweeners, Father Ted and Bad Education.[19]

The series was picked up by Netflix internationally, with series 1 being released on 21 December 2018.[20] Series 2 was released on 2 August 2019.[21]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 Radio Times Comedy Champion Award Derry Girls Won [22]
IFTA Gala Television Awards Best Female Performance Saoirse-Monica Jackson Nominated [23]
Best Male Performance Tommy Tiernan Nominated
Best Comedy Derry Girls Won [24]
Best Writer in a Comedy or Soap Lisa McGee Won
British Screenwriters’ Awards Best Comedy Writing on Television Won [25]
British Comedy Guide Awards Best New TV Sitcom Derry Girls Won [26]
2019 Royal Television Society Awards Best Scripted Comedy Won [27]
Best Writer (Comedy) Lisa McGee Nominated
BAFTA TV Awards Best Scripted Comedy Derry Girls Nominated [28]


  1. ^ "Derry Girls: Father Ted meets The Inbetweeners". The Irish World. 11 January 2018.
  2. ^ Little, Ivan (20 December 2017). "Derry Girls could become TV hit – if viewers can understand them". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  3. ^ Moore, Paul. "OFFICIAL: Season 3 of Derry Girls is happening". JOE. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Where Is 'Derry Girls' Filmed? The Shooting Location For C4's Coming-Of-Age Sitcom Is Largely True To Its Name". Bustle. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Derry Girls filming to proceed despite objections over road closure". BBC News. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Derry Girls: 'We're Doing it For Peace. A Piece of Fine Protestant Ass'". The Irish Times. 26 February 2019. Archived from the original on 26 February 2019. Channel 4’s biggest comedy launch since Ricky Gervais’s Derek in 2004
  7. ^ Shilpa Ganatra (16 March 2019). "Derry Girls Guide to Derry: Murals, Cream Horns and Sr Michael Stout". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 16 March 2019. Channel 4’s biggest hit comedy since Father Ted
  8. ^ Gallagher, Caitlin (21 December 2018). "Will 'Derry Girls' Return For Season 2? The Netflix Show Was Already Renewed In The U.K." Bustle.
  9. ^ "Stall the flippin' ball! This is happening, so it is! Welcome back #DerryGirls @nicolacoughlan @JamieLeeOD @saoirsemonicajackson @louisa_harland @Djllewelly @LisaMMcGee". Channel 4 Press Twitter. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  10. ^ "When is Derry Girls back on TV?". Radio Times. 19 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Derry Girl 'eejits' to return for third series". BBC News. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  12. ^ Green, Alex (9 April 2018). "Derry Girls renewed for third series". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Derry Girls: Series 1 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Derry Girls: Series 2 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  15. ^ "'Stall the ball!' - Derry Girls has become Northern Ireland's biggest series ever". Belfast Telegraph. 21 February 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  16. ^ Mullally, Una (12 February 2018). "Why 'Derry Girls' strikes the right note". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Stall the ball! Derry Girls is a cracker, we've given it a 2nd series". Channel 4. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Weekly top 30 programmes - BARB".
  19. ^ Ellen, Barbara (11 February 2018). "The week in TV: Derry Girls; Endeavour; James Bulger: A Mother's Story and more – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Netflix Picks Up British Comedy "Derry Girls" Internationally". What's on Netflix. 25 November 2018.
  21. ^ "'Derry Girls' Season 2 Coming to Netflix in August 2019". What's on Netflix. 7 July 2019.
  22. ^ "Derry Girls pip Inside No 9 to the post in epic Radio Times Comedy Champion Final". Radio Times. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  23. ^ "IFTA NOMINATIONS FOR THE IFTA GALA TV AWARDS 2018". Irish Film & Television Academy. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Derry Girls and The Young Offenders among the winners at the IFTAS". JOE. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Winners British Screenwriters Awards 2018". British Screenwriters' Awards. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  26. ^ Guide, British Comedy. " Awards 2018 results". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  27. ^ "RTS Awards 2019 winners include Mum and Derry Girls". British Comedy Guide. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  28. ^ "Derry Girls scores Bafta nomination for best scripted comedy". Belfast Telegraph. 28 March 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.

External links