The Last Hurrah

And so this is it. One last outing for ‘Derry Girls’… and what a final outing! Lisa McGee set her final episode of the sitcom one year on from the events of the previous night’s heartwrenching episode. It began with a montage of images from previous episodes, playing to the sound of the bells of the Angelus. Donna Traynor – who else? – was on TV screens asking the question on every ‘Derry Girls’ fan’s lips: “Could this be the …

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We’ve Come A Long, Long Way Together…

When is a series finale not a finale? When Lisa McGee concocts a bonus episode of ‘Derry Girls’. Up until a few weeks ago, many of us had been expecting May 17 to be the night when we finally said goodbye to McGee’s hugely successful Channel 4 sitcom. But then she revealed there would be an additional climactic episode set against the backdrop of the Good Friday Agreement. That hour long episode will air tonight. But that meant last night’s …

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Mammy Banter

It was ‘Derry Girls’ but not as we know it – yet strangely, also as we know it. The fifth episode of the final series of the Channel 4 sitcom was not about Erin, Orla, Michelle, Clare and even the supremely irritating, Jenny Joyce. It was all about their mothers instead. We saw all five of the mammies as parents and as teenagers as Lisa McGee’s sitcom played with dual narratives about a school reunion and the events of a …

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Observe the sons of Ulster

When it comes to cinema, stories about loyalists have been few and far between. The situation has been slightly better, though, on the small screen. Graham Reid’s ‘The Billy Plays,’ Mike Leigh’s ‘Four Days in July’ and Gary Mitchell’s ‘As the Beast Sleeps,’ all brought loyalist voices to primetime TV drama over the years. Those plays, however, were only watched outside of Northern Ireland by audiences willing to engage with dramas about a conflict most people in England, Scotland, Wales …

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That’s the spirit…

Channel 4

So now we know for definite. ‘Derry Girls’ writer Lisa McGee has confirmed the Channel 4 sitcom will end this month with an episode built around the Good Friday Agreement referendum. Not only that but it will be a bonus extended seventh episode. If that wasn’t enough, McGee revealed that Tara Lynne O’Neill’s Ma Mary and Kathy Keira Clarke’s Aunt Sarah will also get a special flashback episode next week focusing on their youth. A word of warning, though, for …

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Strangers On A Train

There are few institutions in Northern Ireland that inspire the same kind of love and affection that Barry’s managed in Portrush. Mention the name of the amusement park and locals will wax lyrical about its rides over the years from the Cyclone to the Jumping Astro, the Ghost Train to the Big Dipper. Such was the love for Barry’s, you half expected a day of national mourning when it was announced in September 2021 that the amusements were closing, with …

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Brandywell’s Got Talent

It’s been one week since the opening episode of ‘Derry Girls’ third and final series and it seems a hell of a lot has happened. Lisa McGee’s wisecrack about Catholic under-representation in the RUC sparked a lively debate on this forum after our review – proving yet again that the past is not quite another country when it comes to this part of the world. Photos surfaced of Liam Neeson posing and pouting with two of the show’s stars – Saoirse …

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An Inspector Calls

Channel 4

And now, the end is near and so it faces the final curtain. After a three year COVID prolonged hiatus, ‘Derry Girls’ returned to Channel 4 for its third and final series. But could Lisa McGee’s show live up to all the hype? Episode one found Erin, Clare, Michelle, Orla and the self proclaimed Derry Girl, James (the “wee English lad”) working on a short film about their hometown. With a predictably overwrought Erin voiceover to the sound of the …

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The Comeback Kids

Clintonmania was the order of the day in the final episode of the second season of ‘Derry Girls’. The Stars and Stripes were being erected on a lampost near Free Derry Corner as the city was gripped with anticipation of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton’s visit to the city. Even Grandpa Joe was excited and was determined to meet the President. However it emerged that that was because Uncle Colm managed to get one over him by …

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China in their hands

As series two of ‘Derry Girls’ headed into its final stretch, Lisa McGee tackled that teenage rite of passage – the school formal. This being ‘Derry Girls’, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception’s formal was hijacked by Leah O’Rourke’s insufferable lick Jenny Joyce who turned it into a 1950s prom. Before she got to make the announcement during the school assembly, Jenny serenaded the pupils of Our Lady Immaculate Conception with an excrutiating barbershop quartet song she had written with her …

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High Hopes

After the lows come the highs? Four episodes into a very uneven second series, Lisa McGee’s ‘Derry Girls’ decided to call in some reinforcements. Not content with having one stand-up legend Tommy Tiernan among its cast, Channel 4 viewers were also treated to the reappearance of Kevin McAleer’s Uncle Colm and the debut of a third Irish comedy hero, Ardal O’Hanlon. The setting was a family wedding where Aunt Sarah was dressed up to the nines and managed to upstage …

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Everything Changes?

After last week’s dip in form, the question on some ‘Derry Girls’ fans’ lips was: could Lisa McGee relight their fire? Even Gary Barlow had high hopes about the episode, tweeting hours before the programme: ‘Not sure what this Derry Girls is – but it is on Channel 4 tonight at 9.15 – could be fun.” Episode three found Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle and James glued to the TV as they prepared for the two hour drive to Belfast to …

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Ms de Brun’s Girls

  The usual suspects may have been making life difficult for Theresa May at Westminster tonight but it was the Bryan Singer film that was on the mind of Ma Mary in ‘Derry Girls’.  Erin’s mum was tormented when a screening of the film at their local cinema was halted due to a “wee security alert”. And when it turned out that that was the final screening at their local multiplex, she was left wondering which character was Keyser Soze? …

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Through the Barricades

Has there ever been a more eagerly anticipated series of a sitcom in Northern Ireland than the start of the second season of ‘Derry Girls’? A lot has happened in the 13 months since we last saw Lisa McGee’s characters dancing in solidarity with Louisa Harland’s spaced out Orla McCool at their school talent show. Last summer, the Channel 4 Troubles sitcom pipped the BBC’s ‘Inside No 9’ to become the Radio Times Comedy Champion in a desperately close online …

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By An Means Necessary – a review of RTE’s Michael Collins era drama ‘Resistance’

After ‘Rebellion’ comes ‘Resistance’. Irish TV dramatist Colin Teevan has returned with a five part showpiece follow-up to his 1916 RTE Easter Rising drama, ‘Rebellion’ which reached international audiences in the United States on the Sundance Channel and other parts of the globe through Netflix. For the Dubliner, ‘Resistance’ is another chance to prove he can craft a gripping, multi-layered period drama in a prime time slot after the rather underwhelming 2015 RTE mini series ‘Charlie’ about Charlie Haughey and …

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Some Mother’s Son: BBC/RTE’s Warrington bomb drama ‘Mother’s Day’

When Dolores O’Riordan passed away earlier this year, Colin Parry, whose 12 year old son Tim was killed by the IRA in the 1993 Warrington bomb, was stunned to learn that The Cranberries’ anti violence hit Zombie was a response to the attack. “I was completely unaware,” he confessed to the BBC. ”After my wife told me, I watched the song and tried to listen to the words and then went to download them to read. “The words are majestic and very real. The …

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The Write Stuff

You know a programme has made it into the public’s consciousness when the marketeers start to cash in. Sitting on a packed tube train to Heathrow, my smartphone buzzed as I received an email from Hastings Hotels just hours before the final episode of ‘Derry Girls’ aired. An ad for the Everglades Hotel read: “Be A Derry Girl” – immediately conjuring up images of hordes of tourists in green school uniforms and wild hair, freaking out about exams, boys and …

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Girls Are Loud

Just hours before the penultimate episode of ‘Derry Girls’, thoughts were already turning to the next series. The city’s most famous Derry Girl up until this year, Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud was quoted in the Irish Daily Star as suggesting she might appear on the show. But it was the sounds of the contested ground that dominated the fifth episode of Lisa McGee’s sitcom as it began with an Orange Order march through the city and the rattle of …

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The Nuclear Option

  No sooner had the debate begun about how ‘Derry Girls’ really measures up as a sitcom, than BBC Northern Ireland decided last week to air the first of three new episodes of ‘Give My Head Peace’. Thanks BBC because you just reminded everyone what a massive leap forward Lisa McGee’s not quite perfect Channel 4 sitcom is for Northern Irish comedy. Now entering the second half of its six episode run, the fourth episode of ‘Derry Girls’ again delivered …

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Promised You A Miracle

In its first two episodes, Lisa McGee’s feisty sitcom ‘Derry Girls’  hasn’t been afraid to tackle sacred cows. But after making some jokes about Catholic schools, the Channel 4 sitcom finally went the full hog on Catholicism in episode three, bravely – or rather foolishly, depending on your point of view – inviting comparisons with the biggest sacred cow in Irish comedy ‘Fr Ted’. This week’s episode found the gang on a study sleepover for a history exam in Erin’s …

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