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MUST SEE TV: Derry Girls – a SMASH HIT show set in 90s Northern Ireland 

DERRY Girls is a compelling, deep, yet powerful comedy/drama that follows five teenagers living in mid-1990s Derry during the final years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Channel 4’s critically acclaimed award-winning Derry Girls is written by Lisa McGee (below) – who was able to make a family-centred comedy and informative drama set in the final years of the troubles.

The show returned for the third and final series in 2022 and with Joe Biden’s visit to Belfast this week, Politicalite thinks it’s a great topical watch to understand some of the history of the troubles and the Good Friday Agreement for those not old enough to remember. 

Channel 4 says: “While Northern Ireland is growing up, this gang of eejits certainly aren’t any time soon – there’s hope in the air that The Troubles may finally be over, but their troubles are only just getting started as they get ever closer to ‘adulthood’. “

Written by Lisa McGee The plot lines of Derry Girls are fictional, but the series frequently references actual events of the Troubles and the Northern Ireland peace process. The show is an amalgamation of humor and drama, with a strong emphasis on the comedic side of things.

The series centers around Erin Quinn (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland), their friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), and Michelle’s English cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn) as they navigate their teenage years in the midst of political and social upheaval in Northern Ireland. Erin, Orla, and Clare attend Our Lady Immaculate College, a fictional girls’ Catholic secondary school based on the real-life Thornhill College, where McGee herself studied.

The show features a mix of archival footage and recorded broadcasts relating to key political figures such as Ian Paisley, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, John Hume, and Mo Mowlam, shown on TV and radio broadcasts in family homes. The soundtrack features popular music of the era, by acts including Ace of Base, Blur, Cypress Hill, Salt-N-Pepa, Enya, the Corrs, and the Cranberries.

Derry Girls has been well-received by critics and the public alike. It has become Channel 4’s most successful comedy since Father Ted. 

Despite slight political undertones, responses have highlighted the comedic nature of the show as keeping it lighthearted enough to enjoy.

All episodes of Derry Girls are available to stream now on All4 – The UK’s biggest free streaming service and it’s also on Netflix too.

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