Derry Girls: hit Channel 4 sitcom bows out on a high
The third and final season is upon us, and it opens where the second left off
Derry Girls has been one of the most joyously funny TV sitcoms in years, said Hannah Jane Parkinson in The Observer. Inspired by the writer Lisa McGee’s teenage years at a Catholic school in Northern Ireland in the mid-1990s, it has proved a startlingly effective combination of comedy and drama – a masterpiece, in fact, of “pathos, humour and double denim”.
Now, its third and final season is upon us, and it opens where the second left off. The gang – Erin, Clare, Orla, Michelle and cousin James, the “wee English fella” – are awaiting their GCSE results, and decide to pass the time making a short film about the Troubles.
It’s not pivotal to the action, but the scene is “typical of how the show handles its context”, said Nick Hilton on The Independent. “Derry Girls is neither about, nor not about, the Troubles. Instead, it’s about the resilience of human vanity and self-absorption in the face of the greatest challenges.” Just as in M*A*S*H the US army doctors “had a capacity to be drunk and disobedient, even under constant threat of shelling, Derry Girls is an electric depiction of adolescent monomania”.
There was reason to fear that this series might feel like an afterthought, said Ed Power in The Irish Times. Since the sitcom was first broadcast in 2018, various key players have moved on to other projects. McGee has written a Channel 5 drama, and Nicola Coughlan (Clare) has been busy shooting Bridgerton. But such fears proved misplaced. On the evidence of the first episode, this will be “a victory lap to savour”.