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final series Derry Girls' writer Lisa McGee says the ‘time is right to let them go’

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Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Hector Barber at the premiere for the third series of Channel 4's Derry Girls at the Omniplex Cinema in Derry

Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Hector Barber at the premiere for the third series of Channel 4's Derry Girls at the Omniplex Cinema in Derry

Saoirse-Monica Jackson

Saoirse-Monica Jackson

The cast of Derry Girls

The cast of Derry Girls

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee

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Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Hector Barber at the premiere for the third series of Channel 4's Derry Girls at the Omniplex Cinema in Derry

Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee has said she feels ‘privileged’ to have been the one to bring the much-loved comic creations to life in the hit Channel 4 show.

The writer of the hugely popular series about a group of school friends growing up in Derry in the 1990s said there was so much humour in her native city and Northern Ireland as a whole, that a sitcom using the Troubles as a backdrop had always been a strong possibility.

She said if she hadn’t penned the award-winning comedy, which returns to our TV screens next Tuesday night after a three-year break, another writer would have done so instead.

And she said that the success of Derry Girls, which was picked up by Netflix, will only really hit her when this final series ends.

“I think people here have relied on humour to get them through and I’ve only understood that as I’ve written the show.

“It’s a lot of things; a coping mechanism, a way of trying to understand how you have to normalise terrible things, I guess, when terrible things are happening all the time.

“Humour has helped us do that. I’m adamant that no one is funnier than people from here. Everyone’s funny, whether they mean to be or not and being able to showcase that has been lovely.”

McGee said she had been so swept up in the Derry Girls bubble since it first aired on Channel 4 in 2018, that she hadn’t stopped to consider the impact of the show — the most successful comedy for the channel since Father Ted.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I think it would become this successful. I just wanted people to watch it,” she said.

“I’ll never work on a show like this again. It’s been this magic, weird thing that has connected with so many people and I’m so proud of it.”

Series three is set in 1998, during the peace negotiations and with the Good Friday Agreement providing the political/social backdrop.

But at the core of the show is its comedy and its cast, including the five teenagers, played by Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Nicola Coughlan, Louisa Harland, Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Dylan Llewellyn. McGee said she was going to miss her creations but that it was the right time to let them go.

She said: “Sometimes I’d be writing an episode for Derry Girls and it would just flow. I’d know what they were going to do because I know them inside out.

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“But I feel I’ve left them where I should leave them. You need to know when the time is right.”

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